YWP: Students write positive self-portraits

Age 14, Bradford, Vt.
Published: 10/7/2019 10:00:13 PM

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences and online. YWP also publishes an annual anthology and The Voice, a digital magazine featuring YWP’s best writing and images. More info: youngwritersproject.org or contact YWP at sreid@youngwritersproject.org or 802-324-9538.

This week, we offer responses to the following challenges: Self-Portrait. Write about yourself in a positive way. Express an appreciation for your own best qualities, talents, ideas, activities and hopes and dreams. And general writing.

Prompt: Self-Portrait

I love me

By Grace Nostrant

Age 14, Bradford, Vt.

It is hard for a teenage girl to love herself in this day and age. With all of the standards we are expected to live up to, it can be tough. In a world full of haters, sometimes one needs to take a step back and realize just how amazing they are.

I love myself. It may sound a bit narcissistic to say, but it is true. I love all of my perfect imperfections. From my nonexistent curves to my bellowing laugh, I love it all. It feels great to say that, too — I haven’t complimented myself in a long time. Sure, my family, friends, and sometimes people I don’t even know say how “amazing” and “beautiful” I am, but I am so hard on myself that I never really acknowledge much of anything I do well. It is something I have to work on, and what better way to work on it than write about it?

I enjoy playing soccer and basketball more than almost anything. I never say this out loud because I want to avoid sounding complacent, but I am very skilled at both of them — and I work really, really hard to maintain those high skill levels. I am also pretty good at painting, acting, singing, academics, and more. Although that all sounds awfully overconfident of me to say, I’m just calling it as I see it.

I also love my personality. I am willing to admit that I can be a little bit intense sometimes, but it’s just who I am, and I love that side of myself. I am a strong, beautiful, intelligent, kind-hearted, competitive, loyal, annoying, silly, wonderful human being, and I couldn’t be more proud of who I have become.

The unclear definition of me

By Kelly Daigle

Age 17, Bradford, Vt.

I am the one who can find only the bad parts of things —

the one who knows the glass is half full and half empty,

and chooses the empty.

I’m that girl who is quiet, reserved within herself,

lost in a world inside her head. One day she will write

about that world, once she has explored every corner herself.

There is no place that I cannot see

without thinking of the beauty, imagining the colors

on a piece of paper hanging on a wall.

To me, the world is too silent;

the wind in the trees is not enough to cover the sounds

of buses beeping and car engines sputtering.

And because of that, I take what the world gives me.

I listen to the Earth’s music and add in my own melody,

strumming on ukulele strings and pressing piano keys.

One day I will travel to the stars,

dance my way through galaxies,

and greet friends from other worlds.

I am a single girl in a world half full of them,

and while I’m not the best at seeing the bright side of things...

with the sun shining so strongly, how can I not?

Prompt: General


By Eden Anne Bauer

Age 15, Hanover

Humans are full of faults

to a fault,

chasing the idea of perfection

being in itself a flaw.

When, inevitably, we do fall,

we have devised our means

to appease all,

such as test retakes

and apologies.


are part of every preschool’s teachings,

a way to pay back the wounded

and, in theory, show we care.

Words drip like honey,

seemingly see-through

but deceptively sticky

and clinging to clichés —

all to show we’ve found a fault

in the fault we committed, to a fault,

by faulting another.

Now, I’m not saying we should abandon morals,

for human society is built on our relationships,

and kindness, love, and compassion are the ways

to a stronger, brighter future.

I simply think it odd

that we find fault in everything we do —

we define our morals by our faults,

and always search ourselves

for imperfections.

So next time you sit down with yourself

and have a decent conversation with your thoughts,

or look in the mirror, afraid of what you’ll see,

remember not to fault yourself. For we,

accustomed to the fault-finding world we’re in,

easily convince ourselves to see

ourselves as not meeting some standard —

that we are full of faults instead.

Remember that faults are only

things that don’t meet standards of normality,

those sets of rules and expectations

we think are perfect (though nothing is so).

And these faults make us human, for if we were

all the same, nothing would ever happen.

No doubt I’ll look back and fault myself for writing this,

a poem full of faults as I will say —

yet perhaps the faults that make it different

will make me look back and smile someday.

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