The following blog post was written by Geneva, a female inmate, for Volume three of the I Am Beautiful book series.

The writings throughout this book series are the original work of the brave women inmates who courageously submitted their stories and art. Our goal is to present their work in their voice.


Deep moving colors
Gypsy scarves by firelight
This is how you see me;
This is how I know myself.

Stars flashing bright
before her eyes
blackening now, under fists
scars on her face, her arms, her wrists

tears don’t cut no ice here, baby
she cleans up her own blood
broken glass
bloody sheets
hands full of hair
a handful of minutes
the tape plays through again.

Remember when! And then!
Where ghost hands
touched places
too alive
to be memory;
one side of sanity
or the other
often shines in her wide eyes.

I don’t mind the scars
I count them like stars
scatter them like tears…
throughout these last years

I don’t fear the future
but I still mourn the past–
I swallow both the pain and pride
And they still cut like glass.

A Survival Resource – Created by and for Women

It is our hope that everyone who reads this book will be encouraged and strengthened to stand up, count themselves worthy of dignity, and see themselves as beautiful within and without.

The I Am Beautiful project represents the personal contributions of women inmates across the country who sent us their writings and art regarding their experiences of abuse.  This work is their personal writing and art.

The project encourages them to express their past experiences, their road to survival over abuse, and their opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other women in prison who have experienced indignity and violence at the hands of others, often from those who were supposed to love them.