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NOW CLOSED Read award winner Hollie McNish’s poem for the Dove Self-Esteem Project: write a verse addressed to your ‘younger self’ and you could win £250

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AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Nov-13 11:05:43

We've been asked by the team at the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) to share this poem all about how we see ourselves written by award-winning UK poet Hollie McNish.

You can also watch it here:



In case you don't 'know' Hollie she has a young child, lives with her partner, and creates thought provoking poetry to get us thinking about what is important in life. She started writing at the age of 5 before building up courage to do readings at the Poetry Café in London in her early twenties.

Since then, she's been performing around the UK and Europe and running educational poetry days and workshops. Her poetry is mostly straight forward rhyming and in spoken form, inspired a lot by UK hip hop and grime, sixties protest lyrics and everything around her.

Hollie says: "I can't stand living in a place where the first thing we are meant to think about each day is how we look. As if that's the most important thing in life, or the thing that brings us the most happiness."

Dove first came across Hollie's inspirational poem "Wow". This inspired them to get in touch with Hollie and she has now been commissioned to write some poems.

Dove says "Hollie has written two poems for Dove which inspire real women to see themselves in a more positive way. The poems are being shared to create discussion and debate around the insights behind them, and to encourage women to share their own feelings about beauty".

Read her poem called "Big Smacking Kiss" below, which Hollie wrote after a day with her daughter. She says, "I think kids are brilliant and cleverer than adults. They know what actually makes them happy without all the rubbish we are told. They also see their body in functional ways, not something to look at, which is how we are sold it."

Dove would like you to write your own verse and address it to your younger self what would you say if you had the opportunity?

"Big Smacking Kiss" by Hollie McNish

This isnt a fling,
This is every morning,
Half asleep and still yawning
I'm there
Face to face with the mirror
Imagining my skin tighter, lips bigger, bits thinner
Shaking my head at how tired I look
And pushing at eye bags like those are the proof
And theres no one else stood
It's just me
By myself
Wasting my minutes
When I could grab a cup of tea or a book I could finish
When I could find a new tune or run a warm bath
Phone up a friend or laugh at the sight
Of my baby now stood at my side
Smacking the mirror with kisses she's so proud of herself
And she doesn't waste time looking down on herself
But she learns and watched and copies me so well
And I fear for an age she'll start wasting that time
dissecting her skin or her lines or her knees and I plead
with her please dont grow up
Till I swap my cold morning stares
To welcome each day like my daughter greet hers
Press my lips to the glass for a big smacking kiss

Add your verses to this thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one winner, picked at random, will win £250 of high street gift vouchers!

For more information on the Dove Self-Esteem Project please visit selfesteem.dove.co.uk or facebook.com/Dove

Thanks

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Nov-13 09:30:50

The winner...selected at random is amaradnas - well done!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Nov-13 08:25:17

hello - am sadly closing off this thread now but have to say how inspiring and amazing all these poems are. The team at Dove say

"Wow. We've been amazed and touched by everyone's entries here, so many have brought tears to our eyes. We love that Hollie's poems have inspired you all to be so creative and share your feelings so openly. From the whole team at the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP), thank you. selfesteem.dove.co.uk"

KatherinaMinola Mon 25-Nov-13 16:57:06

In twenty years you'll have more sense
More confidence
More taste in men
- But then again

Your skin will not then look as fresh
Nor luminesce
Nor will your hair
- So get out there.

hydra234 Mon 25-Nov-13 16:01:10

these are lovely! If only we could really do this!

hydra234 Mon 25-Nov-13 15:46:27

So here it is,
This is the fact,
You are not ugly,
you are not fat.
People dont care,
About what you are wearing
Its whats inside you should be sharing.
That make up really isnt needed
and your Dads advice is to be heeded.
Go out and give them
All you've got
Grab it now
Grab the lot!
This is my message from me to you,
And stop flirting with the bloke from number 22.

He WILL break your heart!!!

sosadforhim Mon 25-Nov-13 15:44:44

I've updated to change a verse that wasn't very good:

I came across a box of memories
Faded photos from my past
I paused as dread set in
I was never thin
Frizzy hair, dodgy skin and a massive ass

So I opened this little box of memories
And I’ll tell you I had quite a shock
To see this lovely, vibrant school girl
and quite attractive
What was with the mental block?

There’s a diary tucked inside this box
from 1994
Resolutions didn’t shock me
I’d seen them many times before
Lose weight, look great, exercise more

20 wasted years have gone by
Striving for perfection
When all along I looked alright
It’s time for resurrection!

So dear girl, be happy with what you’ve got
For what you’ve got’s a lot
Don’t waste time on the superficial
Enjoy yourself, life’s short!

mum2eci Mon 25-Nov-13 11:22:49

Magazines and tv tell us how we should be!
We're all individuals and i'm happy being me :-)

deedee23 Mon 25-Nov-13 05:06:36

Think about what you want.
Not what Sarah or Elizabeth or Chloe wants.
YOU.

These people whose every movements and thoughts you care about now
Won’t matter in the future.
The only person that will matter is you.

Treat everyone with respect, as I said those people won’t matter,
But the most important thing for you in those dark moments will be how you treated them.
Those people will go but your memories won’t.

Try to learn some self control, drink and drugs will only temporarily dull the pain of your survival.
You are never going to be the prettiest, most beautiful person.
Just accept that now. But your life is fantastic.
Accept what you have and accept yourself.
Accept you are not perfect, accept your faults and the faults of others.

Oh and stop worrying about your nails, do you have any idea how small a part of you that is?
Boys do not notice nails.
Read a few more books instead.

And remember, poems don’t have to rhyme
Like life, which as I have said isn’t perfect sometimes
Poetry is life, let it shoot with the breeze
Write and life your life with ease, not on your knees girl.

DurhamDurham Sun 24-Nov-13 17:45:22

Stop it, stop it!
Being sick won't work.
You make yourself ill and still hate yourself
Stop it, stop it!
Being skinny isn't all there is
You'll grow up and learn to love yourself.

I'm rubbish at poetry but hope you get the sentiment behind it smile

DearDinah Sun 24-Nov-13 11:19:23

Yes I know they laugh at you, I remember
And I know you've grown a fringe to hide
But just take a look now, look in the mirror
You are strong & beautiful & you survived

ataraxia Sun 24-Nov-13 11:06:55

A smile makes your pale face shine
Your hair will calm in time
Don't worry what the others say
They're thinking of their own decline

So walk away, you're stronger for it
Walk away, you'll see it through
You can say no, you can forget it
You will move on, smiling too

katiewalters Sun 24-Nov-13 09:55:09

Go for what you want in life, don't worry what others think.
If you put your mind to it, you won't sink.
Think about yourself for once, you do a lot for others,
And you made the right choice becoming a mother.
Settling down is a good thing, you met a keeper,
Dave's love for you from the start couldn't be deeper.
Be careful who you trust, as a friend isn't who she seems,
You will have 2 amazing children who be your everything

Sunny2013 Sat 23-Nov-13 20:09:29

The above comment .... I love this , it has made me smile ..... and at the moment i need to do that .... I wonder if he exisits :-) x

was in reply to Glosgran's lovely poem My Perfect Man ... I thought it would pop up with her poem ... sorry xxx

Sunny2013 Sat 23-Nov-13 20:03:21

I love this , it has made me smile ..... and at the moment i need to do that .... I wonder if he exisits :-) x

Sunny2013 Sat 23-Nov-13 19:50:25

Life WILL be good
Please don't worry
BUT it could be even better
If only you would plan
And for that you definately CAN!!

For I am living your life you see
I am you ... really, albeit way ahead of you.
I have the hindsight you sadly don't have
So please read this and remember and you wont go wrong.

Listen to me when I tell you this, as then it will come true.
In a few years from now, the most BEAUTIFUL home you will see
BUT you will want to be stubborn, MEASLY and not offer the last
£500.00 yes I said only £500.00.
BUT give this and you will house proud and set up for life say "NO" and believe ME you will regret it for the rest of your life.

In the future will come an amazing invention where you can log on to a famous invention called a computer type in your post code and for all to see will be the price of your home every time it sells , and each time its so much more than before.

When you turned down for your dream job for the sake of true love well this time you will hopefully have foresight.
Your life will be fun, though very challenging at times but overall you will have a happy life.

You will be advised " DON'T" WASTE your money, open loads of different Building Society Accounts to save some money and in the future you will get extra windfall payouts from all these accounts .... DON'T poo poo the idea but please do listen to (ME) one who truly cares....

Please treasure, telephone and fly to visit your Grandparents every time you can, tell them you love them dearly, every moment you can, for one day will come a very sad day when they are no longer around for you to fly to visit them to chat and stay and you will give anything to go back in time to have these times all over again.

And in the very long away future when you are married with 3 wonderful young children, your beloved and much missed Grandmother will appear to you in a dream WARNING you that you will die if you fail to wear your car's seatbelt !!! She will repeat herself to wear your seatbelt or dead you will be and please make sure you do remember this dream otherwise you will never see your youngest child's 1st birthday. If there is only one thing that you remember from this whole verse is this ... YOU WILL DIE IF YOU DONT ....

And please, please, please young version of me .... please do me a huge favour as only you can ... Please hug our Grandmother and thank her from me ... for loving us enough to appear in a dream back to me. xxxxxxxxxxx
thanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanks

Trickle Sat 23-Nov-13 19:31:17

I'm sorry
I'm sorry for all the blame
all the pain
all the shame I threw at you
the way I maimed and hated
and despised
you

I'm sorry
I'm sorry for all the years we lost
drowning
bleeding
crying
at nothing
at such cost

I'm sorry
I'm sorry you had to loose one child
to learn how to live
how to love the person within
I can't change a thing
that black dog
he always seemed to win

Please remember
remember you are strong
the scars will fade
though they will never go away
and it's never been too long
to start waving
not drowning

ReluctantBeing Sat 23-Nov-13 14:32:42

Cherish each time a smile comes your way;
Don't cringe and tut when Mum grabs you to say
How young your hands look, so supple and smooth.
When any music starts, get into the groove,
Because sidelines are there for extras and those who hide,
And you'll regret being there with the passing of time.

ReluctantBeing Sat 23-Nov-13 14:30:11

Cherish each time a smile comes your way;
Don't cringe and tut when Mum grabs you to say
How young your hands look, supple and smooth.
When the music starts, get into the groove
Because sidelines are for extras and those who should hide,
And you'll regret being there with the passing of time.

CheeseStrawWars Sat 23-Nov-13 10:54:10

They will always disapprove
But things will improve
When you move
Out.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 23-Nov-13 10:10:55

You guys are amazing!
This thread will be closing early next week so please do have a read of the poems and if you are inspired please add your own too.

custardo Fri 22-Nov-13 21:15:49

Der Schrei der Natur

I sensed an infinite scream
I painted this picture
I had tried to apply eyeliner again

IncaAztec Fri 22-Nov-13 21:04:51

Dear ME.
Thin, grin
Slim, win
But you feel grim

Inside, cope
Never, no, nope
Think so bad of yourself again.

sosadforhim Fri 22-Nov-13 12:17:59

I was at a friends this week and we looked through her old box of photos. I was never one to take photos but she had lots of me growing up - school, holidays, pubs, weddings, the lot. It was wonderful to see them and I really was amazed at how we all looked. Glowing and youthful and quite pretty. Felt sad that I've never been happy with how I looked. I remember keeping a diary and my new years resolutions were (and are) always the same.

I've not written a poem since school so it's not very good, but here goes:

I came across a box of memories
Faded photos from my past
I paused as dread set in
I was never thin
Frizzy hair, dodgy skin and a massive ass

So I opened this little box of memories
And I’ll tell you I had quite a shock
To see this lovely, vibrant school girl
and quite attractive
What was with the mental block?

I found an old diary, 1994 – New Year
Resolutions so familiar
They’ve been the same for 20 bloody year!
Lose weight, eat less , look great

20 wasted years have gone by
Striving for perfection
When all along I looked alright
It’s time for resurrection!

So dear girl, be happy with what you’ve got
For what you’ve got’s a lot
Don’t waste time on the superficial
Enjoy yourself, life’s short!

CMOTDibbler Thu 21-Nov-13 20:33:27

what they mock now,
someone will love.
what you hate now,
someday you'll flaunt.
what seems a tragedy now,
will be as nothing then
burst out of that world
and into the universe
Find yourself
and embrace it with joy

Thistledew Thu 21-Nov-13 13:06:54

My thighs are like tree-trunks
Strong like the mighty oak and supple like willow
As they take me first across the finish line.

My shoulders are broad and my arms sinewed
To swim me strong across the cool clear lake
And to carry my family upon my back.

My lungs like the fish-wife’s bellows
Will suck deep gulps of air,
Breathing in life itself.

And yes, my bum does look big in this
But it will look ever smaller
As I power my bike past you up this hill.

My belly is big and round
As I carry my daughter
Who will grow up strong and wonderful,
Like me.

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