Short Story: The Dressing Room

It’s that time again for Short Story Saturday. This story is told through the eyes of a teenage girl. Most girls go through that stage of wanting to be perfect and beautiful, even through the eyes of their parents. Tell me your thoughts.

It’s been nearly ten minutes since I entered the changing room at one of the many clothing shops my mother and I stepped into. Four walls securing me with only one exit. In it is a single long mirror and a few hooks on the wall to hang clothes. I stare at the other girl in the mirror, she looks sad and miserable. The outfit she wears doesn’t fit because it’s a size too small. She’s me, locked in the glass with the long, ratty hair. I don’t want to leave the dressing room. I don’t want her to snap at me for gaining weight again. I can’t help that I enjoy the taste of fries and sweets.
The other me looks away, a single hand pressed against the glass while a million questions flood my mind. Why don’t things ever fit the way they should? Why can’t you be more like your sister? Is being beautiful all that matters? Why isn’t being smart enough? Why can’t I be perfect? I can feel my body quiver. I’m taking longer than I should have and now my fear is growing. I don’t want to open that door. I just want to disappear.
“Does it fit?” I flinch at the words coming from behind the door that separates us. I shuffle away from it and change out of the shirt she picked out. She picks all my clothes; I have no decisions in the matter. “If it doesn’t fit then I’m not buying it. I’m not going the next size up.” I feel a tear or two float down my plump cheeks, a sniffle here and there escaping. I bite the inside of my cheek and rub my nose against the long ruffled sleeve. “Try on the pants with the button up.”
I look at the other girl again. Why are you so disgusting? I remove the ugly shirt, putting it back in its hanger and place it on a hook. I change into the clothes she requests simply because if I don’t do as I’m told, I’ll get in trouble. After buttoning up the shirt, I turn to the mirror again. I hate the way I look. With a little courage, I open the door and walk out to show her how it looks. She looks displeased.
“I’m going to have to put you on a diet,” She says with such disgust. Why does how I look bother her so much? She starts to place her fingers into the pants, checking to see how tight they are, tugging on me like I’m a dog on a leash. “Go and change. I’ll just buy this and you’ll just lose the weight.” I want to complain. I want to say I’ll be uncomfortable for the rest of the school year. There is no way I’ll lose any of it.
I walk back into the dressing room, the door shutting behind me as I lock it. I remove the clothes, struggling. I’ll have to deal with them for the rest of the year; nothing fitting like it should. I look back at myself in the mirror; my eyes were red from holding back the tears. I’m not perfect. I’m not pretty. I want to die.



2 thoughts on “Short Story: The Dressing Room

  1. Very moving. I have teenage daughters and I know they struggle with these same thoughts. Sometimes I wish I could just fast forward them to adulthood, get them through these years faster. But, I suppose, you can’t be comfortable with yourself as an adult without going through the painful years first. Tough stuff. It’s a wonder any of us make it.

  2. Girls who only care about their appearance inevitably push that mind set on their daughters. I think it’s unfair and that girls in those sorts of situation could use more stories where people they can relate to find ways to overcome the emotional hurt they’re feeling.

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