Close this search box.

Pressure and Perfection

Pressure and Perfection
Zara Green


Amy has dull grey eyes and boring blonde hair. She has horrible thighs which rub together at the top, her hips are too wide, her chest too flat and her stomach too fat. Her nose is large and sticks up slightly, as if resembling a pig, her shoulders are broad and could belong to a weight-lifting, steroid-consuming man. She is ugly. At least that’s what she tells herself; what she thinks when she sees her ugly reflection.

Every morning, Amy wakes up at half-six and she leaves the house after eight o’clock. She never eats breakfast or has a shower; they take up too much time. Amy prefers to spend her mornings this way: first she wakes up and brushes her teeth, then lets her beauty regime begin. Amy spends nearly two hours every day on her hair and makeup, because she is not perfect, she never will be, but she has to be. She hides her imperfections, but her flaws flash across her eyes. A girl is an artist; allowing her skin to be her canvas, she paints her vivid fantasy. Mistakes as sharp as a blade.

Downstairs, the TV is on and news reports are buzzing through the house. Violence, violence, war, war. Issues too big for Amy’s little head. The violence she received was the violence she caused on herself. To end a war before your eyes or to end the war in your mind? Which would be more glorious? Amy seeks glory and universal love. She isn’t happy with the knowledge that she is loved alone. However, love is just love and is unmeasurable. The love one person has for another is just as precious as the love on may receive from thousands. In the end, violence is just violence from abuse to war; the loss of lives does not measure the tragedy, but the brokenness of an individual’s body, soul and mind.

Amy finds school dull. Every day she goes to the same buildings, sees the same bunch of teachers and is stuck with the same friends. Oh Amy’s friends, a heartless group of conceited girls always seeking a love they won’t receive. They sit under the same tree, by the fountain, the same place they sat on their first day of high school. They say it’s where “the cool kids sit”. They were some of the first friends Amy made, and the last.

They sit, talk, moan, complain, scrutinize, compare, cry, conceal, diet, exercise, scrutinize, cry, cut, starve, purge. Then they glare into a mirror, distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty. Each friend believes they are alone in their nightmare, when they are all suffering.

All these girl want to be cared about and have people care and worry about their problems. Amy doesn’t support her friends when they need it most and her friends do not support her in her time of tragedy. The girls were shattered porcelain, attempting to build themselves into a desired form, abandoning the wounded soul and letting pretty little lies warp their minds. All afraid of the ugly truth.

At 4 o’clock the school bell rings, begging for a ceasefire, but the girls go home and the inexorable self-destruction continues.

Loneliness is Amy’s devil disguised as an angel. When she walks the front door of her house she goes through the gateway and enters her beautiful hell. In love with its darkness but scared of the freedom it offers, that is what loneliness feels like. Amy is drowning in it, but Amy chose loneliness.

Amy has a go at the homework, but her mind is too distracted, like always. So she decides to go for a run. She gets changed with her eyes closed for it’s the only way, if Amy manages to do this without a single tear rolling down her face, she considers this a win. Surely an act of cowardice cannot be counted as a victory. A true victory for Amy would be for her to look straight at her mirror and to be able to think I am beautiful. But if Amy did do this would it be a “better” victory if she could still think that even if she broke down all the walls she hid behind. For a sad person is made of glass, a shallow person is made of paper and a happy person is just themselves.

Now it is dinner, Amy’s mother loves to cook for her family. Amy’s younger sister Olivia is eight years old, she loves tasting new flavours of exotic foods. Amy’s father doesn’t usually eat dinner with them as he works late so tonight was a special occasion. For this special occasion Olivia and Amy’s Mom had cooked a traditional roast, they were both very proud of it especially young Olivia.

Her father loved the meal and so did the rest of Amy’s family. Everybody was helping themselves to second servings trying to savour the succulent taste. Amy told her family she loved the meal, they were pleased, for once their daughter ate a full plate of food. Amy excused herself from the table as her father said his final words to his daughter for the night:

“I love you.”

“I love you too” she replied.

Then she went to the bathroom and threw up because she is not perfect, never will be, but she has to be.


Next Page