Saturday, 27 December 2014


No pain, no gain. Isn’t that what they always say? I ignored my stomach’s desperate cries. Every inch of my body ached, deprived of what I most wanted and what I most wanted to avoid.


When I was nine, my mother told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. I looked into her ocean blue eyes and told her I wanted to be skinny. And that’s where it all began.
Other girls obsessed over boy bands and makeup brands. I obsessed over exposed ribs and thigh gaps. I stopped eating meals when I was twelve. Measly crumbs became all-you-can-eat buffets. Detox tea turned into a filling three-course meal.

When I was thirteen, I spent hours scrutinising myself in the mirror. Fat clouded my vision. My eyes could focus on nothing but the unbearable width of my legs and the repulsive stretch marks scarred onto my hips. It hurt to starve.

They whispered about me. She doesn’t eat, they’d say. They’re not rumours when they’re true. Skinny was blinding and I’d lost sight of everything else.

And even when I started fitting into a size XS, even when my bones shone through my paper white skin, I pinched at parts of my body. I pinched hard. I broke down and bled tears, folded myself in half on the bathroom floor and dug my palms into my thighs until it appeared, for just a second, that the fat wasn’t there anymore. It hurt. No pain, no gain, right?

Saturday, 20 December 2014


And so, another New Year’s Eve came and went, sweet champagne kisses lingering on my lips. I didn’t make a resolution, not one. Not this year. I was tired of the two time gym sessions and vows to cut out the carbs. I didn’t want to be that girl anymore – the girl who sobbed through December, the girl with disappointment stained cheeks. I didn’t want to wake up at midday and have it dawn on me that every plan I’d made had failed. I was tired of being a failure.

I didn’t want to make plans.

I wanted to daydream my way through lazy Sunday mornings and feel the coffee spill through my veins. I wanted to drag blankets onto my balcony and watch the sun glow with endless new possibilities. I wanted to put my Christmas tree up in October and carve pumpkins in June. I wanted to eat a bag of cheesy crisps without guilt’s constant nags whispering in my ear. I wanted to buy a plane ticket and board the plane that same day, explore hidden gardens and hectic sidewalks you can’t plan for.

I wanted to fall in love and not think about the consequences. I wanted to stop thinking altogether and just do. I wanted to lose myself and find someone completely different, someone who more resembled what I wished I could be. I wanted to grab a microphone and sing about my sorrows, leaving them in the past where they’d be safe and could be forgotten. I wanted to smile for no goddamn reason. I wanted to drive on an open road and ignore all the traffic lights, feel the freedom stream through my hair. I wanted to meet someone new and get to know every single thing about them, drown in my own laughter at their words.

I didn’t want to imagine tomorrow, or the day after that. For once, I wanted to think about the present. This year, I wanted to let myself live.

Friday, 5 December 2014


Sing me your favourite songs. Whisper the words into my ear, but say only what you mean. When you catch me looking at myself in the mirror, pinching at the layers around my legs, just know that I try so hard to listen to the words you say. All those times you’ve called me beautiful. And, on those days when the raindrops on the glass match the tears on my cheeks, use your left forefinger to wipe them away and tell me things will be okay. Maybe if you say it enough times I’ll start to believe it.

And, do me a favour and save the I love you for a night when you feel like, if you don’t say it, your heart will catch on fire. Because when I fall, I fall hard and I fall fast. If you’re not ready to catch me, I will collapse and I will break. If ever seem distant, know that I’m trying to pull away because I’m a wave of regret and you are the strongest pull of the tide there’s ever been. Pull me into you.

I wish more than anything that I could be good enough for you. I tie chains around my body in a hope that I don’t cling too tight. In a hope that you won’t get tired of me. Even though I know you will. Everyone does eventually.

On those nights when I keep my lips pressed together and my eyes are hollow, drag me out of bed and show me what it feels like to live. We could run to the beach and feel the waves lick our toes, lie back on the sand and watch the stars twinkle like my eyes on the day when I realised that you made me feel a way I couldn’t control.

So, I did fall hard. And I did fall fast. And my eyes did twinkle like stars whenever I was around you. You taught me what it was like to feel full. You took my mind places it had never been before and I let you. Because, in the end I wanted it to be you.

Sunday, 30 November 2014


It was 11:17am when Grace started crying. We were in Math class, foreign functions painted over the pages. The pencil fell to the floor. The desk shook as she ran out.

“Go with her,” Miss Smith said. To me.

I found her in the bathroom, her reflection crimson in the mirror. Tear puddles dotted the floor. She looked at me and pressed her palms into her face, as if she were trying to shield the tears. She wanted to hide them, lock them away. She wouldn’t be able to. I’d tried.

“Are you hurt?” I asked. Her knees went first. She collapsed to the floor, gasped for air as if the walls were closing in on us. Her sobs echoed. I sat next to her. The auburn waves fell over her face, strands sticking to her sorrow stained cheeks. As she lifted her arm to move them away, I saw them. I saw the scars winding their way up her wrists. They were deep. Just like mine.

She looked up. “What’s wrong with me?”

A question I’d been asking myself for weeks. “How do you feel?” My words were breaths.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

False appearances

That girl you saw earlier, the one whose smile shimmered, remember her? Her eyes were diamonds during the day. She cried that night. She sobbed until her tears hurt her cheeks, until her bones felt weaker than her heart. She never thought that would be possible. Her thighs were crimson with palm prints, she pressed until the pain felt numb, cursing the fat that only her eyes could see.

That boy you watched at lunchtime, the one with the scar on his left shoulder, remember? He told you his dog scratched him, an innocent offense. He tried to laugh it off. His eyes weren’t laughing. His dad gave him that scar. Beer breath, ash stained fingers, the knife flew through the air. The blood drops stained the carpet. His mother pretended it was red wine.

Remember the waiter who served you yesterday, the one who messed up your drink order a couple of times? His wife died a year ago. He works three jobs to be able to feed his children. After an hour or two of sleep, he leaves before the scent morning coffee lingers in the air. He never even sees his children.

You laughed when the old lady snapped at you earlier. You saw the look in her eyes and called her crazy. She put up her Christmas tree alone last year, ornaments damp from her tears. She spent Christmas morning crying that her husband hadn’t left her a present. He’d been dead for almost a decade. She’d still waited for him.

Your History teacher’s laugh used to ring through the classroom. She’d sing when she handed back essays, draw doodles on the sides of the board while you’d be working. She seemed full of life. Absolutely full of it. Until she didn’t have it anymore. It was 1:05pm on a Sunday when the neighbour heard the gunshot. Her laugh was never heard again.  

Nothing is ever the way that it seems. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Look up

She watched the sunset through the screen of her phone. Brightened the colours with the click of a single button. The picture stayed, but she didn’t – didn’t stop to smell the looming rainclouds, taste the evening breeze. She never did.

I talked to him while he talked to someone else, thumbs dancing over the keyboard. Text tones became the background music of our one-way conversation. I told him about my parent’s divorce – he nodded. “Sounds good” he said.

He filmed his daughter’s graduation, admired her beauty through the view finder. He was fixing the zoom when she got her certificate. He missed the moment she threw her cap. Camera flashes became the crowd’s applause. Their hands were full.

She was walking, crossing the road at the time. The screen blinded her. She didn’t see the red man, didn’t catch the car. Screeches sounded, tires braking. Gasps stayed frozen in the air. She didn’t even look up. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014


I remember graduating high school. The awkward cap and flowing gown – everything I’d dreamt about, everything I’d waited for. That split second of relief washed through me, goose bumps attacked my skin. I’d done it. Now what? I moved on, went to university, constantly haunted by the idea of work. Dollar signs blurred my vision, the future overshadowing my present. I was dying for an apartment, a space in Manhattan, one of those buildings with winding fire escapes, just like the movies. Then I got it. I got the job, I got the money, I got the apartment. The bills came in and I paid them. Just like I should have. I never used the fire escape. Man proposed, divorce followed within a couple of years. That’s life. Stretch marks darkened with every month and, before I knew it, I was buying diapers and cribs and plastic toys that played the same song over and over again. The kids grew up and went their separate ways. Finally. I was dying to travel. A plane ticket and an empty bank account later, I’d made it to Australia – a seventy three year old woman with mismatched socks and hair greyer than the rocks I flung into the ocean. And only then did I begin to realise that, through it all, through all the expectations and waiting and dying for the next big thing, I’d forgotten everything in between. I’d forgotten to live.

The applause echoed. My blurred vision focused like the lens of my father’s camera. My mother cheered louder than her voice would let her. I blinked at my name printed onto the diploma, wrapped up with a red ribbon. I’d done it. And, with a single handshake, high school was over.

“So, what do you want to do now?” They asked.


For Leah Daymon

Sunday, 19 October 2014


They tell you to try your best. Work hard, they say, it’ll be enough. But what if your best doesn’t quite make the cut? What if you stay up all night, drowning in caffeine, eyes swollen, head on the verge of explosion, but when you sit down the next morning, you feel blank? Empty, like a canvas that has just been opened, like a candle with no more wax. You can’t remember the date Hitler came into power, or the main causes of the French Revolution. Then what? What if your best doesn’t “meet the standard”? The boy sitting next to you exceeds, as always. What does he do differently? Does his head hurt too? What happens when there are more red pen marks on the paper than words you have typed? And that “C” at the top, engraved into the page and circled, does it stand for clever or challenged? Teachers sew their eyebrows together, utter a quick “try harder next time” and vomit the next assignment, due next Tuesday, along with twelve others. What if your best doesn’t fit onto the two lines you are given, or the workspace that has specifically been marked out for you? They tell you to think “outside of the box” yet the box is printed right there on the page. Education fits into one box with countless possible labels. Just like the comments on yesterday’s essay - banal, unjust, lacking. What’s the issue, you ask? Education seems to “meet the standard”. And if that isn’t a problem, I don’t know what is.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Every body

Real men love curves, I repeated to myself as I ran my hands down the side of my body. They trembled, my fingers burning through my own skin. The sides of my hips were straighter than the edge of a picture frame, but I was not what you’d want to have on your mantelpiece. I was not something anybody could be proud of.

I didn’t even feel my eyes glaze over, didn’t notice the tears until they dotted the bathroom floor, forming puddles that would dry within minutes, but would leave a mark for hours, days even. I’d gotten used to it. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how numb my feet felt after pressing them together, my thighs wouldn’t touch.

I lifted up my faded grey shirt, ignoring the scars winding their way around my stomach. Bones poked out from underneath my paper white skin. That extra layer that other girls whined about, I longed for. I longed for the C cups and the figure-hugging dresses. Instead, I was stuck with a square like body and leggings that were baggy at the butt.

She’s so skinny, I’d hear them say, their eyebrows pulled together and the side of their lip lifted, as if it were held up by a string. They pointed too. It wasn’t a compliment. They weren’t admiring my stick legs or my too-small-for-children’s-size waist. Everything other girls thought they envied was everything I was. And everything I didn’t want to be. Real men love curves, right?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Gingerbread brownies

We’d made them together, my mother and I. We’d been making them for years. I’d wait for her to call me down one December morning, when the rest of the house was still dancing in their dreams. The frost would line the window edges and she’d have a candle lit in the kitchen. Vanilla – her favourite. She’d see the reindeer dot my pyjama bottoms and laugh because hers were the same.
“Which bowl should we use this year, Liv?” She asked as if I would change my mind. I never did.
“The red one.”
“With the hearts?”
“With the hearts.”
I didn’t watch the flour go in, or the way the eggs whisked together until they became one. I watched her face, her tongue peeking out from the left side of her mouth, her eyebrows slithering closer together with each new ingredient.
“Your turn.”
I felt the concentration etch its way onto my face as I added the ginger. I mimicked her as I always had – she was everything I’d ever wanted to be.
I woke up to the sound of sirens, red lights bouncing off my bedroom window. My skin hardened, my throat tightened. The house shook but my body was numb.
“I’ll be fine honey, it’s nothing. It’ll all be fine soon.” She’d lied about being sick. She’d lied. Every day I watched her face grow paler, watched her movements lag. Her songs stopped echoing through the house. She didn’t stir as fast anymore.
My own house was unfamiliar, the floor ice under my feet. Tears blurred my eyes but my ears heard everything. The footsteps, the cries, the distant sound of my mother’s heartbeat slowing down with every passing second.
“Liv, look after your sister.” Dad’s voice echoed inside of me, his footsteps a memory within seconds. That was it, no explanation, no reassurance; no “it’ll be okay”. Because it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t ever be okay again.

The brownies didn’t taste the same when I made them. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014


 “Why do you bully?”

She’d been taught to stare like that. She’d copied another school counsellor’s stone like gaze, the ruler-measured line of her lips. I stared back at her in the same way. She was a statue – almost. Aside from our breaths, mine faster than hers; she moved her fingers, nails drumming against the table Slowly, as if the sounds were different and each needed to be heard. My mother did that.

She’d do it right before she opened her mouth. It was an introduction, a way of leading me into the insults, softening my fall. She’d feel my body tense, my skin harden. Idiot, liar, good for nothing. She’d pace around the kitchen and drum her nails on the knives as if they were rose petals. Her pupils were bullets and I was not immortal. Her yells pierced my ears – they never became familiar. Worthless, pointless. They hurt. They stung like injections at a doctor’s office, when the needle doesn’t hurt as much as the nurse’s lies. My mother’s shouts wouldn’t crack glass, but shatter it until the pieces resembled nothing other than disappointment – what I’d become to her. I regret you.

I hear snippets of her in my voice. The insults I hand out are mirror reflections of her, likes replaying tapes of my evenings.

“Well?” The counsellor’s robotic voice became a melody, more comforting than any I’d ever known.

“It’s the only thing I know how to do.”

Monday, 4 August 2014


She was the type of girl who stacked her pancakes higher than her plate would allow. As she coated them in a thick layer of syrup, the tower would topple and she would laugh. Her laugh sent shivers through my body. She was the type of girl whose eyes twinkled as she flipped the pages of her favourite paperback. My hoodie drowned her body as she pushed her glasses up to the top of her nose. She couldn’t hide her giggles as she knew I was watching her. I couldn’t stop. She was the type of girl who woke up in the middle of the night and went down to the kitchen. Her footsteps were wind chimes on the stairs. When I woke up in the morning, remains of chocolate would lick the bottom of the mug and the marshmallows would dot the marble counter. She was the type of girl whose cheeks turned the colour of her lips when I whispered “I love you.” She was blind to her own beauty, when it was all I could see. She was the type of girl who painted the sunset, her eyes shimmering in front of the canvas, like the ocean under the evening light. She wouldn’t show me the paintings, hiding them away. She didn’t know I looked at them later. My breath caught in my throat without her, and I’d forget to breathe when I was with her. She was the type of girl you couldn’t argue with. You’d watch her face fall and feel your heart tear away from your body. “You’re right, I’m sorry,” I’d say every time. She was the type of girl who cried when she left. Even her tears were crystals. Her eyes wouldn’t meet mine, her breaths drowning my begs. Men don’t cry, my father’s words rung in my ears. I ignored them. I held out my arms but I could no longer reach her. She told me it was over, she was that type of girl. I loved her anyway. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014


“I’m so sorry about what happened.”
“You poor thing, I’m always here to talk if you need.”
“If there’s anything you need give me a call.”

Meaningless words flooded the room as if to fill the space, as if to colour in the hole that grew in the pit of my stomach. They weren’t really sorry. That was just what they said – what everyone said, what they had to say. Were they sorry for the black dress that hung like a cloak from my slouched shoulders? Or were they worry for the lack of tissues because I’d use them to wipe my tears? They asked me to talk, to give them a call if I ever needed anything. But would they be able to give me the one thing, the only thing, I needed? Would they bring him back? Would they even listen to my guilt-filled words, my cracked sentences and my deep breaths in an attempt to keep everything locked inside of me? The sorrow, the anger, the constant wishing that I could rewind that night. Would they listen to the whole story or tune out at the parts I needed to say the most? Would they believe me when I told them it was my fault? Would they comfort me or convince me that the truth wasn’t really true? I needed their words even less than they needed mine. They knew nothing. They didn’t know that I’d been the one to suggest late night smoothies. That was me. Would I tell them? The street was busy, too busy. Would I tell them that I’d been sitting in the back seat? I didn’t see the car. Neither did he. He didn’t swerve. He didn’t even scream. Would I tell them about the hospital and the lingering scent of coffee on every corner? I’d start telling them what it felt like to explain, to explain what we were doing, to explain why. I’d wanted blueberry and apple flavour that night. The thought did nothing but sicken me now.

They would hear, but they wouldn’t listen. Not really, not the way I needed them to. Their words meant nothing. Their apologies shot right through me. Just like the car shot through my father. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Stop. Don’t look at her hair, don’t watch the way the curls bounce over the back of her black striped t-shirt. Walk away. See that girl over there? Don’t look at the curves of her body. Stop. Run your hands over your own hips and see yourself for what you really are. Worthy. Her legs might not touch, but yours do. That’s okay. It’s okay to have acne scars over your face and it’s okay to find a stretch mark or two on the sides of your body. I promise. Listen to me, you matter. Show people your perks. Stop and show everyone your rosy cheeks and the way your face flushes whenever you get a compliment. Listen to the compliments. Show people your favourite songs and the way that they tickle your body with goose bumps at 1am. The freckles that decorate your face as soon as the sun kisses your skin. Stop, don't look at her. Admire yourself. You're worth that. Show people your hobbies, your talents, your favourite words and the way they roll off your tongue. Show people what really matters. And, one more thing – smile. Open up that mouth and take pride in your white teeth. Show people the way they gleam. Smile, it makes the envy, and the embarrassment, disappear. Make it all disappear. 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Role reversal

“... oh and I picked you up a magazine, it’s over there somewhere.”

The bag crinkled as I reached inside, my fingers sliding over the jam jars and plastic wrappers. The magazine was this week’s edition, the latest of all things celebrity related, the rumours that are made up without a second’s thought and the pictures that required hour’s worth of stalking to snap.

She stood tall and proud, hand on the line of her hip, fingers pressed against the silver sequins that someone had taken the time to sew into her dress. I ran my palm down the silk of the page, outlining the curves of her figure. The dress was short enough to reveal the length of her legs, thighs touching down to her knees. Her golden tan glistened. I flipped the page and the palm trees waved to me, ocean water sparkling like her eyes. A full body picture lit up the page. I had to blink before I understood that the stretch marks that wove their way up her stomach and legs were real. I couldn’t even see her ribcage through her body. Countless pictures filled the sheets, women with hips that curved outwards like a wine glass, smiles that hinted at the idea of a double chin, stomachs that flaunted rolls.

I threw the magazine to the side and eyed my reflection with a blurred vision. I pressed my feet together until they were numb, but the gap between my thighs was still there. I ran my hands down the sides of my body, waiting for a curve that would never come. "There's nothing to grab onto," the boys would say. I shook my arms and expected them to jiggle. They didn’t. I searched for stretch marks but all I could see were the tears that stained my cheeks.

Why couldn’t I look like them? Why couldn’t I be like the girls in the magazines?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Two blinks

“Do you have everything Molly? Your ticket, yes, oh and your passport, where’s your passport, you’ve lost it, haven’t you?”
“It’s right here, Mum.” I pulled the red leather bound booklet out from my jacket pocket, waving it in front of her face, close enough to wipe away the tears that stained her cheeks.
“Alright well, be safe now, call us as soon as you get there okay... make sure the administration knows who you are and check that the dorm is clean and everything-” I wrapped my arms around her, squeezing until her words turned into heavy breaths. “See you at Christmas, darling.”
Dad held his arms across his chest, the collar of his shirt sticking up and out of place. I reached over with one arm, ready for a light embrace. As he pulled me up into his arms my suitcase thudded to the polished airport floor. He lifted me up until my feet hovered. He spun me around like the little girl he still saw me as, the way we used to twirl together at my childhood birthday parties, getting tangled in my pale pink tutus. My friends would stand in the corner, jealous looks painted over their faces.
“You’ll be fine, chick.” Another childhood tradition.
“Kailee...” I ran my hand over my little sister’s face, her eight year old hands clinging onto mine.
“Don’t leave. Who’s gonna braid my hair in the morning?”
I crouched down and gazed into her deep hazel eyes as I spoke. “Mum can do it.” She shook her head with such force; I couldn’t hold back the tears. Strands of her dirty blonde hair stuck to the sweat on my palm as I stroked her. We didn’t say anything, neither of us had the words. As I pulled away, I planted a single kiss on her forehead and ran my finger over her cheeks. My hands absorbed her tears like a memory that I’d never be left without. I looked at her for the last time and blinked twice. In those two blinks, I wanted to let her know that I’d still be there. I’d still be there to help her choose the perfect hairclip to match her outfit and I’d still be there to help her reach the cookie jar when Mum had hidden it out of her reach. I’d still be there for all the friendship struggles and I was just a phone call away for all the boy troubles that were bound to come sooner rather than later. She mirrored my actions, blinking twice to show me that understood.

And, with that, I checked my passport for the last time and got swallowed up by the security scanners. By the time I’d turned around, I couldn’t see them anymore. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Four minutes and thirty nine seconds

That’s enough. That’s enough time for me to find her. To let my eyes brush over every other person waiting by the conveyor belts, desperation washing over their faces with each passing minute. I find her by the benches, but she isn’t sat in the one empty spot. Her hands are clasped around her book but it isn’t open, she isn’t reading. She is waiting. Her cheeks are rosier than they ever had been and her lips seem lonely. My sprint turns into a wander as I embrace her, resting my nose in her hair. It still smelt like apples.

That’s enough. That’s enough time for her final words. “Just keep working hard, okay? That’s what will get you places. Make me proud.” That’s enough time for the heart monitor to find one low drone and hum it through for the rest of the night. The machines start to beep and red lights flash, slicing across my face, slicing through my heart. The tears don’t come, not yet. Her pale, wrinkled body drowns in the white sheets. They ask me to stand up while they pull the bed away. I can’t stand up. I can’t move. I can’t leave her; I can’t let the strongest woman I ever knew see me as weak. I can’t walk away from my grandmother.


That’s enough. That’s enough time for me to fall in love. I hold him in my arms and I understand that, for the first time, our family will feel whole again. His mouth stays open and his wails echo around the room but the tears never come. He isn’t crying because he’s hungry, or because he needs to be in his new mother’s arms, he’s screaming out to the world, “I’m here”, he’s making himself known, he’s begun the incredible journey of his life and he’s building it up any way he can. And I stroke his forehead, not telling him to be quiet, because I want my brother to know that I will be there – with him. Whenever he needs me. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014


I watched him beat my brother. Watched his fist sink into his stomach, watched the agony strike across my brother’s face. I heard the yelling, so close, yet so distant somehow. Useless, embarrassment, idiot, words I’d heard being said of my brother too many times. His eyes were bloodshot and blurred, the way a traffic light would look to an intoxicated driver. My father’s face was crimson, his breathing heavy. He clung onto my brother’s shirt and pressed him up against the living room wall, next to the rips and tears in the wallpaper, memories of previous fights. Blood stained the side of the carpet. When people came over, we’d lie and say it was red wine. I was sick of all the lies. Dad kicked back the sofa to get even closer. I sat on the armchair across the room, helpless. My mouth opened and I tried to force the word out. Stop. That’s all it took. But I couldn’t say it. It wouldn’t come.

“Get out of my house! Get out and don’t come back, you hear me?” As he pushed him through the door, my brother’s jacket caught on the side of the mantelpiece. Bad move. A glass vase toppled to the floor, shattering into a hundred tiny pieces, just like my family, just like my heart. My brother turned as if he were about to apologise, but instead he smirked, a mysterious twinkle in his eyes. And, with that, he rounded the corner and thrust open the door. The house shook as he slammed it behind him. His shadow faded from behind the pale beige curtains. He was gone. He didn’t even look back, no sympathetic look, no it’ll be alright. Things were different this time. He didn’t even say goodbye.

“Molly, have you done your homework darling?” Dad stroked my hair with his faded red palm. I could only nod. “Good girl, go study for next week’s test then. We want to make sure you’re first in the class. Make me proud, alright kiddo?” I nodded again.  

Thursday, 17 April 2014


You know what's sad? It's sad that the girl everyone is envious of can't even find the words to call herself beautiful. She looks in the mirror and wipes the floor with her sock as the tears drop down. She finds comfort in her bed and wails into the pillow, cursing the blemishes only her eyes are cruel enough to reveal. It's sad that the other girls cry just as hard, wishing more than anything for boys to turn their heads in the street instead of walking straight by. They long for just a glance, a chance to prove their worth. But no one looks past the physical these days.

It's sad that the girl with the brightest smile and the loudest laugh is the girl who has to fight through the worst pain every day when she gets home. She laughs off the idea that she could ever be worthy, remembering the thoughts that fill her mind every night, reminding her she is anything but. You're not good enough. Stop trying.

It's sad that nobody will ever understand. It's sad we can't make a change. 

It's sad that the voices in our heads slowly grow louder and louder until they deafen us with their harsh words. It's sad that the girl who everybody labels as "large" starves herself. She binges on Sunday mornings and carries pounds of guilt on her shoulders for the rest of the week. She knows it's wrong but she is in so deep, it's become out of her control.

It's sad that the boy who gets straight A's and has tried every sport on offer still gets criticised by his very own father the minute he gets home. Work harder, be stronger, do better. There's always something. It's sad that he can never feel good enough for his own family. 

It's sad that the girl with wide rimmed crimson glasses who reads in a corner at recess, who trips on her way to the next class, who can't open her locker and feels too embarrassed to ask anybody for help, it's sad that no one will even give her a second glance. It's sad that her appearance defines her. It's sad that nobody would even think to see past the physical and get to know the real her. Learn about her obsession with musicals and her favourite ice cream flavour. Her quirks and talents. Her dreams.

It's sad that we compare every part of ourselves to somebody else, as if that were a way to define your own success. 

You know what's the saddest part? This is the way society is, this is what our life has become. This is it. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


“Megan, come and meet your new foster parents.”
I crept from behind the doorframe, panic rising within me. It couldn’t be my turn. Not yet. A middle aged couple stood before me. Normal, at first glance. They both had matching smiles plastered onto their faces, just like all the hopeful couples who came by the place in search for a new piece to add to their incomplete collection. Upon closer inspection – with my head lifted just an inch – I examined the man’s rough fingertips: bruised, damaged. A sign of hard work – possible bravery. The woman stood beside him, the violet velvet sleeve of her coat not quite touching his - keeping a distance she felt would be appropriate, close enough to show their united front, to hide the conflict and disagreement that went on behind closed doors. A pang of guilt shot through me like the raindrops striking at the window. I watched the children leaning on the doorframe as if it were all they had – their, our, last form of protection. And it was. Without it, we wouldn’t have a home; we wouldn’t have our own room with a pillow to cry into or toys to punch when the frustration got too much. Without this place, we wouldn’t have each other; we wouldn’t have to roll our eyes over the cracks in the floor when asked about our family. We wouldn’t feel the tension rising inside as the memories flowed back, blurry images of our actual parents. Months ago the screams would echo in my mind as I fought to sleep at night. Being here, things had gotten better.
Tears tore from my eyes as I dragged a single suitcase behind me. All I had to show for seven years of my life. The rest glimmered inside of me like the glazed looks of my eighteen brothers and sisters. Some waved, others hung their heads to the floor, puddles forming below them. I opened my mouth, but the words wouldn’t quite come out.

“I’ll miss you.” 

Thursday, 23 January 2014


Stomach tingling, excitement whirled inside of me. His hands felt firm on my waist. Firm, yet safe somehow. Deep hazel eyes glared into mine. They twinkled like the flashes of the spectator’s cameras, all waiting for the perfect shot. I didn’t look at them – couldn’t take my eyes off of his. His lips parted into a crooked smile and I felt my cheeks flush crimson as he held me close. My head fit into his chest and, in that moment, nothing else seemed to matter. I forgot about the looming coursework and jobs applications. I forgot about trying to balance two jobs in a desperate attempt to dig up money to pay the rent. I forgot about the never-ending questions and countless decisions I was forced to make. His familiar scent lingered on my skin long after we’d finished dancing.

He still smelt the same, a faint mix of vanilla and autumn leaves. Wrinkles were carved into his face, each telling a different story, a new tale – one I’d never been a part of. His eyes flashed through mine, but they didn’t look at me the way they used too. The longing was gone. He just passed by, cane tapping the ground like his dancing shoes used to all those years ago. A pang struck at my heart. I missed those days. But, I walked on, syncing the tapping of my own walking stick with his. Time changes everything.   

Friday, 3 January 2014


Damn you thighs. I tried hovering my legs above the ground slightly. Anything to make them look thinner. Anything to stop them from expanding the way they always seemed to, anything to stop the repulsive fat from spilling over onto the bench of the bus stop. As I caught the crimson stain on my faded jeans, I watched it grow bigger before my very eyes, just like the insecurity, the self-consciousness that invaded me every day, strangled my happiness, trapped my freedom. My hand found a rip in the denim, shielding my pale skin from the autumn wind. Countless cars were at a standstill on the road before me – rush hour, all the more pairs of eyes, watching, staring, judging. I made an attempt to flatten out my hair, feeling the harsh knots as my fingers got stuck in the curls. As I stood up to check the time the next bus was coming, I made sure to suck in my stomach as far as it would possibly go. It never went in far enough. Never as far as the other girls. I envied their flat stomachs, their effortless abs. I noticed a boy about my age sitting at the next bench over. Feeling his eyes pore through me, I sat back down again. Cheeks burning, palms dampening, I ignored his gaze, wishing more than anything that he’d stop staring. He didn’t. I could hear the judgemental thoughts spinning around his mind; feel the disbelief in his eyes. I brought my hand to my face, rubbing my eye as if to force back the tears that wanted ever so desperately to dampen my cheeks. My bare eyelashes fluttered - I’d forgotten I wasn’t wearing any makeup. Ashamed, I hung my head, going over every flaw, every slight imperfection, jabbing an agonisingly large hole through my already broken heart.


Car honks exploded from drivers that grew more and more frustrated at the lack of movement on the road. I waited for the bus, tapping my foot on the ground to count the seconds that went by. She was the only other person at the bus stop. It was her shoes I saw first – original, quirky. As she stood up, I eyed her full figure. A yawn escaped my mouth and tears blurred my vision. As I blinked them away, I couldn’t help but stare. She was beautiful. The lack of colour in her clothes was such a contrast to her pale face, her fair skin. It dazzled in the late afternoon sunlight. She sat back down and my eyes followed the line of her hips as I imagined the curves underneath the black leather jacket she wore. She looked down as if in discomfort, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Not yet. My gaze got lost in her curls, each strand of her chestnut hair hiding a different secret. She looked like a girl who had many secrets, little things locked up inside – things she never told anybody. The lack of makeup on her face was surprising, yet refreshing. She stood out from the girls with carrot-like skin and eyes that were painted so black they looked burnt. She’d stand out anyway. There was a sense of uniqueness about her, something that made me desperate to initiate conversation, but something that trapped the words in my throat at the same time. Eyeing her jeans, I admired the rips and tears – they symbolised adventure, spontaneity. As I watched on, I could feel her trembling. The slight glimmer of a single teardrop forming in her eyes caused mine to find the ground again. She didn’t look at herself with pride. And, for just a brief second, I was overwhelmed with the wish that she could one day see herself the very same way I saw her.