I’m Dani Ward,

and I do lots of things.

Love is hard work.

Content note: talk of self-harm, sexual assault, suicide.

I used to be a songwriter. Or at the least, a writer of poems. Then I basically stopped for a long, long time. For some reason, though, lately I’ve been turning back to poetry to express some of my thoughts. So I share this with you all (though it was originally meant only for me, but I think maybe I should share more personal things on here that might not be so polished).

I used to pinch my skin all over,
enough to hurt but not scar.
Punch my thighs, wrench belly fat
confide to myself, “you’re worthless.”

My beauty was just average,
but my ugly was beyond compare.
My successes, just passable
but my failures all-consuming.

“you’re worthless”
*slump and cry*

26 years takes a toll on a girl.

A year ago, I bought pants that fit 1
in a moment of clarity, a vision of hope.
The fog rolled in, just like always.
“Still worthless” droned on in a chant.

The weather warmed.
I dared to wear a skirt of my own free will 2
It used to mean selling my soul
but when paired with sandals
even for an hour one evening
I felt like I could almost breathe.

Sweltering summer, the call of a lake
I pulled on a swimsuit —
my breasts were impressive. 3
I worried, remembering the time they were not my own. 4
“Worthless slut” murmured in my ears
I cringed, but I wore it anyway.

Fall came. I bought orange nail polish. 5
I never really wore it before.
I stared in wonder at the vibrancy of my fingertips,
berated myself for my vanity.
But I kept the polish anyway.

I let my leg hair grow long and soft,
wondering if I could find beauty,
if this made me a Real Feminist now.
I stroked my calves,
an internal wind rustling
and “worthless” took a breath.
I decided there’s something to both hair & smoothness —
the covering & uncovering are both sacred.

I rang in the New Year dreaming of death 6
while suppressing planning my suicide,
while “worthless” drowned out any hope.

26 years takes a toll on a girl.

A week later, I started wearing makeup 7
— anything to distract the self-loathing.
My lined eyes widened, glossed lips parted:
“I look good” breathed hesitantly — a battle cry.

This week, I’ve broken down daily.
This is where the self-harm would begin.

But I’ve started new rituals.

pour oil in bath water
“you’re worth it”
pull razors safely across legs
“you’re worth it”
moisten my face
“you’re worth it”
dab color on skin
“you’re worth it”
pull on pretty clothes
“you’re worth it”
drink plenty of water
“you’re worth it”
paint color on nails
“you’re worth it”
go to bed when I’m tired
“you’re worth it”
eat food that I want
“you’re worth it”
make art when I’m scared
“you’re worth it”
spend time with my friends
“you’re worth it”

worth it
worth it
worth it
my god, am I really worth it?

26 years takes a toll on a girl
and love is hard work.

But that’s okay.
I’m worth it.

  • Worth it. The first time I said that out loud to myself, I cried. You’re worth it. :)

  • Marie

    very poignant!

  • You are indeed worth it, we have all felt worthless before but it is worth it to get yourself up and live again. thanks for sharing

  • thank you for being so honest. I have battled for a long time with similar feelings. Thanks for sharing

  • This is amazing and beautiful and something I relate to.

  • This is very moving and very relevant. Thanks for sharing, it’s very brave!

  • this is a very inspiring post. i am still struggling with the worthiness part of life.

  • so so so worth it!!!! love is hard work and hard work pays off…so keep at it. good luck and thanks for sharing. It takes someone real brave to be able to say this out loud. way to go!!!!

  • First time I have ever read anything on WordPress. Love that it was your poem. Beautifully told and very moving. You are definitely “worth it.”

  • Worth it indeed! #blessedtoreadthis!

  • Very powerful.


  • My goodness, self-love is such hard work! I love how well this poem expresses that. And I’m so happy for you, that you are headed towards the ‘worth-it’ end of things, away from the ‘worthless’ end.

  • Brave acts and poem. Cheers to you.

  • u are very relevant to life even though u feel a certain way about something roll it off ur shoulder

  • Dina

    you are so worth it! this is brilliant and keep writing…

  • Awesome!!

  • Thank you. I hardly let things roll off my shoulders, but thanks. :)

  • Brave! Wonderful!!!!

  • This is wonderful. You’re right, loving yourself is hard work.

  • So much talent. So worthy. You are on your way. The lovely thing about the hell of pain is that the joy you will know one day will be in direct proportion to the pain you have endured. Good things wait for you. Keep writing!

  • Too beautiful.
    Yes, being too beautiful is possible. Especially here; well done.

  • I hope you continue to write this powerfully, words every girl can relate to!

  • You are talented and you are worth it! Tell that to yourself everyday. Lovely work.

  • I appreciate you posting this piece. It is so personal. It expresses much of your pain but the uplifting “worth it” over and over again is so powerful and positive and strong. I hope you continue to say that all day, all of your nights until it rings true in your heart and in your head. It is true. There is a reason you are here. love yourself, even if it is little by little until you love all of who you are inside and out.
    thanks again for posting.

  • Great post!

  • very powerful piece. every last word, worth it.

  • I am now sixty eight and the beauty you possess is inside of you and you are worth every ounce of noticing it. Rock on.

  • “My beauty was just average, but my ugly was beyond compare.”
    Wow – if these words don’t sum up all the horrible feelings of self-loathing that a person can feel, I don’t know what does. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • I never thought I’d relate to something like I did to this. Thank you.

  • Fantastic!!! Hope lots of people feeling they aren’t worth it will read this…

  • You are worth it… I loved this you have such talent… You are making a difference in the world with your writing

  • This is exactly what I needed to see at this moment.

  • You are worth to live a LIFE!!!! FLY – first love yourself. I wrote an affirmation to declare my worthiness for happiness.. I hope it helps…check it out.

  • You have been so brave. Never give up – you are worth it, and at your age there is so much of life to experience. Keep searching for the good things x

  • Thank you for being so raw and real. Your pain has been our gain, and you are sending out a ripple effect that will continue to impact others. Thank you for your courage!

  • It would be so repetitious to say that we all get that feeling, because we all do. But you’ve done really great with that piece, its so tragically beautiful and I hope that you were as inspired by it as I was :)

  • Beautiful. Touching. Profound. Thank you for reminding us that we are really worth it!!

  • You are always worth whatever it you decide, a great piece of writing, thank you.

  • Wow… touching piece , thanks for sharing you private thoughts

  • Worthy beyond belief <3

  • I love how this went from a place many people are familiar with to one where many of us would like to be. I’ve got that worthless “worthless” refrain in my head, too.

  • i loved it. I really loved it.

  • That lovely poem…. you are definitely worth it! Everyone deserves to be. :-)

  • Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Beautiful :)

  • Wow. Just wow. I admire the way you took something as common and overused as love and turned it into something different. The love for oneself.

    Self image is a huge issue among so many young people these days and I think its soooo important that people such as yourself share their stories and are open about their experiences, because no body can understand what another is going through in quite the same way as someone who has been there. You have the strength and ability to really make a difference in peoples lives through your writing and I hope youll continue. I also hope you will find the courage to maybe branch out one day and speak publically about your struggles with self image and self worth, because I think you have what it takes to really make a difference and save lives. All in good time.

    However in the here and now you are worth it. You are beautiful and I believe everyone has a purpose in this life. We all face struggles and I believe our struggles are meant to teach us something, so that we can use our knowledge to better ourselves and better our lives and the lives of those around us. You will touch many people with your words and with your experiences, I just know it. The strength you have shines through your writing and I am looking forward to reading more of your work.

  • actually hard to survive

  • I love the fact that you literally laid your soul bare for all of us to read. There are so many times when we forget about how beautiful we truly are because at one point or another, the scale was tipped toward the negative side of things–even if only for a moment. You are more than worth it, no matter what negative thoughts try to creep into your mind. You sharing this can be the healing that someone out there may need. Thanks so much for your openness and honesty.

  • Amazing

  • Beautiful

  • Thanks for sharing, keep sharing, youre worth it.

  • sure…we all are worth it….loved the way you presented it. self-debasement …we all fall prey to it but that is so destructive. I feel like putting the orange nail pain today….

  • You are worth it! :) That’s the real beauty. Its inside you. Loving yourself and telling yourself you are worth it! Good Job. =)

  • Beautiful insight into one’s feelings. Thank you.

  • So incredibly beautiful, thank you

  • Appreciate that this so genuine. Loved the post and looking forward to more.

  • Love for ourselves is the BIGGEST life lesson. You are there, nailing it. Thank you for your raw honesty and courage. You shine sister xxx

  • As I read your post, and the comments that follow, I reflect on how the conflicts, failures, accomplishments, thoughts, feelings and rants of one person can relate, touch, heal, penetrate, and inspire so many others. Worth can only be defined by those willing to possess a thing, so as long as you live – your priceless.

  • Your words could have been about me at more than one point in my life. This is very relatable, right down to the nail polish and concern about vanity. Once we realize we can wear what we like too, that we are worth it people and not the other imagined kind, life begins to open up more, as your work illustrates beautifully.

  • Amen. Eventually those changed rituals become routines, and you will absolutely believe that you are worth it. Keep writing, love. It’s inspired, and it helps… right? Keep going, you’re not only worth it, you’re priceless.

  • You are not alone

  • Im so glad you shared this. We’ve all been there. Its helpful to find a place inside where you are safe and loved. Thank you I was very moved

  • Wow that poem really made my day. You are worth it indeed. You are a great writer if it is your passion then WRITE. Don’t let anyone stop you.

  • Inspiring!

  • Yes, YOU are WORTH IT! Thank you for sharing such a personal piece. It beautifully depicted the difficult journey one may go through battling with the negative internal messages formulated during painful experiences. There’s such power and strength in you for taking control and consciously choosing to engage in a different dialogue with yourself. YOU’RE WORTH IT!

  • Great piece!

  • Fantastic writing! Thank you for being brave and sharing.

  • I really needed to hear this. Thank you for sharing this. You are worth it. I love the turn-around at the end.

  • Beautiful. (From an ex harmer) be proud to have written such a wonderful piece

  • With every word, I felt you. You are an artist, very talented. Continue to share your deepest thoughts, I’m following for sure!

  • Congratulations to be on freshly pressed page.

  • Pingback: Always. Choose love. - Dani Kelley()

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