pretty and warm and good

April 12, 2023

Sanya Afsar is a Pakistani high school junior in NYC. She grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, until the age of seven and now lives in the culturally rich Woodside neighborhood of Queens, NY. She is a multidisciplinary artist interested in fashion, photography and baking. Her literary taste skews toward dystopian fiction, romance and poetry novels. Sanya uses her time with Girls Write Now to explore different genres, narrowing her focus on college and career plans, to find her voice as a writer. She is particularly passionate about poetry, journaling and memoir.

This story took place in United States

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In partnership with Girls Write Now, Channel Kindness held a poetry contest entitled “Art of Kindness.” Below is an excerpt of one of the contest’s honorable mentions, a poem written by Sanya Afsar. You can read the entire poem on the Girls Write Now website.

pretty and warm and good

kindness is a dubious thing
a compliment or a word of encouragement
more suspicious than any insult or blackmail

i don’t know how to receive kindness
i’m distrusting of its equivocal intentions
a slander disguised as a friendly word
a betrayal disguised as a helping hand
a backbite disguised as a worried chat

i’m used to doing things alone
to living in a dismissive world
so when someone tells me
they think i’m pretty
they think i’m warm
they think i’m good
i just don’t understand

because i didn’t grow up with it
and i didn’t give it to myself
i didn’t allow myself the gift of
care or understanding or affection

i don’t think
i’m pretty or warm or good
i don’t feel comfort
in my own self
so when someone else does
my walls stare at each other
in confusion, in uncertainty
of how to treat this unknown stranger
named kindness

but it’s beautiful
it’s wonderful

Read the full poem on the Girls Write Now site.

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