The following blog post was written by Kerri, 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.

Scar Tissue

I look into the mirror only to see reminders of all the times he’s hurt me.
A scar above my eye from when he bashed my head into the door frame–
my skin split and the blood rushed down.
My reflection would never be the same.

What about the time he pushed me from a moving car?
My arms and legs are covered with those scars.
The small scar on my neck when he held the knife at my throat?
He just stood there laughing and started to gloat.

My scars are quite beautiful you see
because scars can’t form on something that’s dead–
only on something alive and full of breath.
Now I realize the freedom that survival brings
These scars are symbols that say, “I’m alive!”
after all those times that I could have died.

He tried to take me down and he tried to take me out
but now I understand what these scars are about.
These scars on my face, arms, legs, feet
show that no matter what, I couldn’t be beat.

My features are delicate
my scars make them elegant
I am much stronger than I appear.
For today, I am living my life
without fear.

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.