My Narcissistic Ex


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I finally blocked him, not that long ago–my mental health has only improved, in subsequent weeks.

During our final conversation, I told him that he’d had no right to start a relationship with someone who was mentally ill, unless he was willing to make the sacrifices they needed in order to continue improving their mental health.

He argued with me for an hour, I’d guess, accusing me of everything from saying mentally ill folk don’t deserve romance to lying about my motives. The sum total of his words were: “how dare you not accept the crumbs of my attention I’m willing to give you, the weeks or months of not talking, and then not be thrilled to hear from me when I finally deign to reply to your message or send one of my own–my girlfriend is mentally ill, and her needs come first.”

Throughout the entire conversation, he kept making references like the above, which let me know: he thought I was talking about when he began his relationship with his current girlfriend, who has Borderline Personality Disorder.

He never once understood that my words were an indictment against the years he spent deceiving me, lying to my face, and pretending that I “deserved” to be treated that way (abused, in a word) because he didn’t agree with the morality of some of my life choices.

I wasn’t talking about her, you pure-blind narcissistic idiot–the person you’re looking at is not necessarily the person at the top of everyone else’s thoughts.

I was talking about me: about the suicidal ideation that you were bored of hearing about (in pretty much those words: bored, tired of, doesn’t make an impact anymore….) the self-harm that I tried to hide from you (yet you *still* shouted at me for doing it, after following me into the bathroom to watch me shower) and most of all, the insistence that it wasn’t abuse to scream obscenities at me, call me ugly names, shove/restrain/throw things at/hit me, or coerce me into sex when I was so obviously stiff and scared and not in the mood.

I’m sorry for her, because she’s not equipped to deal with you, and you’ll take advantage, because that’s what you do… but, as ever, until I finally gave up the fight, I wanted you to just once acknowledge how you treated *me*.

Robert Wright…


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…is my go-to, out of a large-ish group of current intellectuals who debate everything from the implications of particle physics, to whether or not religion is good, bad, or indifferent, to the trajectory of society in general.

I’m currently reading his book (shortlisted for a Pulitzer–fancy!) “The Evolution of God,” and I watch one of his talks more or less daily. To date, this is still my favourite Robert Wright talk, not least of all because it covers a subject I enjoyed learning about during my psychology degree… maybe more important to me personally, I think reminders of ways we can work towards a better world are darn useful, when my depression is bad.

Robert Wright’s “NonZero Sum Game Talk”

It’s 20 minutes of your life you’ll be glad you spared–he’s clever, amusing, not bad-looking, and because he himself is not wildly optimistic by nature, his optimism feels more accessible to someone like me.

I hope it’s accessible to someone like you, as well.

“O Robin, Our Robin”


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This is imported from one of my other blogs; my sister commented today that although I’ve seemed alright “for a minute” (meaning: months, but this kind of figurative language is always hard for me) she always keeps me in mind, when she sees posts about suicidal ideation etc.

I wrote this a couple of years ago, now, for the then-only-just-deceased Robin Williams… I wanted to fix it, to make it better for the anniversary of his death, but it’s been a busy year and this is what I’ve got. I’d rather post it than not, though.

This is *not* “O Captain, My Captain,” nor even a decent parody (the rhyme scheme ran away with itself, and I was powerless to stop it; there are too many syllables at many points, and at least one extra stanza) but it most certainly *is* an homage to that poem, to Walt Whitman, to the movie “Dead Poets Society” and, most of all, to Robin Williams, the… oh, fuck it. He was a legend, and I don’t have the words, but here’s my best attempt.
If you’re somewhere reading it, Robin, I hope you’re touched by my efforts. You were such a generous human being, I know you won’t judge me for the many stylistic errors.

“O Robin, Our Robin”

O Captain, my Captain–
You jumped the fucking ship?
You’re overboard, we’re over-bored
Without your perfect quips.

Don’t get me wrong, the voyage long was more than you could bear
I get the why, it’s just that I
can’t stop my useless tears.

And oh fuck! Wank! Shit!
Oh the movies never made!
Oh the vast routines where genius gleams
now stuck in endless shade!

O Captain, my Captain, how have we lost your spark,
When o’er the world your jokes unfurl
to chase away the dark?

Oh Captain, our brother,
We’d share with you our pills
Our memories bright of how your light
has lessened all our ills.

Although he does not answer,
Although his family weeps,
I think I’m right, this is just night
And he’s merely fast asleep.

His lamp unrubbed, his lines un-flubbed
To Orson he does not fly;
In a jungle great he merely waits for an 8, perhaps a 5.

Posting More; My Son, 1


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It looks as if I’m posting a bit more, these days; I can live with that. The day will come when I actually finish one of my half-completed/barely-started novels, and I’ll want to have an audience standing by *wink, but I’m semi-serious*

I thought I’d talk about my son, today; I can hear him in the other room, shouting excitedly and unreservedly about what’s happening on the Wii, rarely making the clearest, most linear sense, but always manufacturing joy as if it’s a thing that can be bottled; and he’s so loud and so animated that, if he keeps it up too long, the neighbours will likely bang on the wall.

I don’t care, to be honest…. the kids have lived in this house their entire lives, not counting weekends at their dad’s, and none of my neighbours has once asked me if I needed help raising 2 autistic kids (including during the period after I asked their dad to leave, and I was juggling a 10-month-old and almost-3-year-old with severe autism by myself, 5-6 days a week, on 3-4 hours of sleep a night…) bang on the walls, you small-minded, compassionless wretches.

Despite living next door and sharing a wall with us (terraced housing) you weren’t there, when my babies were actual babies, were you? You don’t remember a thing from when my 2 were tiny, and it was all I could do to keep them happy and healthy and safe. But *I* still remember that my Gabriel didn’t make a single purposeful sound (no babbling, no nothing, other than laughing or crying) until he was 3-years-old, and that his first “word” was, “1, 2, 3.” In a week, Gabriel could count to 10 and read the numbers. A week after that, he said, “Issa a dack. Wah wah wah.”

When he spoke for the first time, we thought it was a genuine miracle, befitting a child with an angel’s name… after all, by then, his sister (aged 5, at the time) had stopped speaking altogether; to this day, I believe it was only his determination to interact with her, that got her to begin trying to speak, again. (Nearly 12 now, she’s still functionally non-verbal, and far, far behind even her peers with complex needs, when it comes to spoken language–without my son’s encouragement, I very much doubt if she would speak at all. She didn’t, for the best part of 2 years, age 3 to age 5.)

That’s Gabriel, though. Whatever my feelings about the almost ludicrously fundamentalist way I was raised, the idea that I was right to name him after an angel persists. Even now, almost 10 years old, he is made of weather that’s mostly sunshine, full of bounce and energy and enthusiasm, and even when his skies are stormy, all he wants is to feel better, to be helped, to be better himself.

For my daughter, he can get her to smile and play when no one else can. I didn’t mean to have him be her caretaker; but it’s a role he seems happy to fulfil, and she reciprocates in the ways that she can. *She* might get cross with him, but woe betide anyone who tries to hurt her little brother… she finds her voice then, if the words still elude her.

For me, he’s everything that made parenting a little lighter. She was every profound and worthy and solemn feeling I’d ever had, rolled into one; he was no less deeply loved, but those same feelings were lit from within, by the light he generates simply by being himself. Between the pair of them, my light and my shade, my extrovert and my introvert, my morning sun and my evening star, they have taught me how to be a mother.

Why I’m Grateful for My Husband, 1


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I started my period, today.

I wasn’t really expecting to; I was rather expecting *not* to start it, for another 9 months or so, if you catch my drift.

As I have 2 children from my previous marriage, and my husband only has my kids, there was temptation to spread some blame around… the temptation was made worse, not better, by the fact that I know fine well I’m nearly 10 years older than my husband; if one of us has faulty plumbing, it could well be me. My Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) got diagnosed more than 12 years ago, when I was struggling to get pregnant in my early 20s, and they said I had suspected endometriosis at the time, as well as ovaries covered with tiny cysts. But lo, I became pregnant before I could be checked for endo, and had 2 kids, and to be honest, I thought I was done with the whole birthing children thing, so I let them take me off their waiting lists and such-like… no further tests needed.

And then all the things happened that sometimes do, and I got divorced and re-partnered, and had a stint of polyamory (I’ll never know whether that would’ve worked out, if I hadn’t gotten too attached to someone who treated me like shit once he realised I wasn’t going to break my original partner’s heart just to please him)… and eventually, I wound up being left, falling in love with my best friend, and (in a sad turn of events) leaving my original partner in the end anyway.

That’s my first reason to be grateful: someone who knew me a little through mutual friends, acquaintances, and some pretty hardcore frenemies, had one half hour conversation with me, followed by one all-night conversation with me (yes, a literal conversation: don’t be like “treated me like shit” guy and accuse me of the other) and chucked out all the rubbish he’d maybe assumed, and got to know me as I am.

Then, while I was at my very lowest (weeks after my stepdad’s suicide, in the middle of my university dissertation, and during the portion of my relationship with “treats-like-shit” where he’d escalated it to physical abuse and was actually kind of scary to be around) my best friend started coming over and sleeping on the couch opposite me (we each had a couch, we slept not touching, except for sometimes holding hands). I felt safe for the first time in months; I felt understood and genuinely liked for the first time in years, or maybe ever.

And ditto for him, on that last part of the above sentence.

My second reason to be grateful is that he believed me, when I said I wanted to be with him forever, even if it was platonically… I didn’t care if we never slept together, aside from the literal sense of it–I wanted him nearby, where I could hug him and talk to him every day, and he wanted the same thing. When it evolved into my helping him overcome some sexual hang-ups, I was thrilled. When–some months thereafter–it became a genuine, reciprocal, sexual and romantic relationship (after he’d moved in with me) it ruined all my other romances and potential romances… we hurt one person, and I’m sorry, but he actively wanted to share me, and I wanted to stop being shared. It is possible to be spread too thin… and I am grateful my now-husband understood that.

The third reason I have to be grateful (and all I’ve got time for; it’s canny early/late, depending how you look at it) is that, after several months of being absurdly in love (including a whirlwind engagement and wedding) we felt secure enough to stop using my family planning app to avoid pregnancy, and start using it to increase my chances of pregnancy. I’m still taking my temperature (almost) daily, with a super-sensitive thermometer, and I still know within 24-48 hours of when I’ll be ovulating, menstruating, when my PMS might start, etc… and every time I start my period, after thinking maybe this month I won’t–when I’m irritable and bitchy and then dissolve into pointless tears–my husband listens to me, holds me if I need it and gives me space if I need that, and just generally puts up with my shit (and remember, I’m not THAT far out of an abusive relationship… I’ve still got quite some emotional baggage, to be dealing with) every time all that happens, I’m more grateful than ever, for my husband.

I just wouldn’t mind a reason to be grateful that looked like (a smaller, plumper, arguably cuter version of) my husband, is all… and I sure wouldn’t mind giving him another tangible reason to be grateful for me.

One Post a Month–My Daughter


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Look at my blog. I haven’t looked in any depth, but I feel sure I’ve noticed this trend on numerous occasions, and it certainly holds true for this month and last month.

What is it that makes things seem so much sharper (things past or present, or future worries) in this week of the month, every single month? I have very regular periods… I’m guessing it’s therefore something to do with my menstrual cycle. For whatever reason, at this point in the month, I feel more creative, but also more sensitive. I’m actually not hugely productive; I’m too busy trying to quietly deal with all the stuff that hurts me all the time, but is worse this week.

Tonight, I was lucky. My daughter (I’ve got to stop calling her my little girl–she’ll be 12 soon, and autism or no autism, she’s becoming a woman so fast the changes are more visible each month) was hysterically upset, self-harming, and saying she hated us all and wanted to live somewhere else… but she calmed down relatively quickly. I asked her to lie down in my bed, turned the big light off, and rubbed her back and shoulders and then her head (which she’d been hitting) as I suggested ways to make her feel better. I told her some stories about what she was like as a baby (she loves that, for now at least) and after a while, she felt safe again and went back to her room. Later, she came back to sit with me, and I wrote her some limericks (not THAT kind of limerick; a child-friendly limerick about her toy goat, another about her brother’s toy goat, another about her dad’s cat, etc) and it was glorious to see that she understood what I meant when I explained about an A, A, B, B, A rhyme scheme.

I don’t have any particular expectation that she’ll remember anything about rhyme schemes tomorrow, or be able to sound out one herself, even with prompting; but I don’t have any expectation that she won’t, either. She is the queen of keeping herself to herself, especially if she thinks she might have to demonstrate her learning before an audience (a prospect which visibly terrifies her) and so, as with so many things in our lives, we’ll have to wait and see.

There’s something ironic in the fact that one of the few sentences my daughter can utter, even in extremes of despair or stress when other words have vanished from her grasp, is a vehement and slightly guttural, “I HATE waiting!” Oh, Naomi. I know you do, baby. I know. And we’ve been waiting all your life, to see if you’ll catch up to other kids, to see what your diagnosis will be, to see if you’ll ever talk again, to see how many of the words might eventually find their way back to you.

No. That’s wrong. I won’t take her successes away from her–the words didn’t just fly back of their own accord, she went out and searched for them, and found all the ones she lost and some more besides. If she has fewer words at her disposal than most 5-year-olds, and fewer still when she’s in distress, that’s still thousands of words more than she had when she was 3, when ALL the words had disappeared. But I digress.

Lucky. I am so, so lucky. She and her brother have been my joy for so long, even with all the worry and fear and heartache being a mother causes, I can’t remember what joy was from before they got here. Did I ever truly feel it? Maybe as a very small child, when it was mostly just me, my own mother, my baby sister, and our dog (Pepper) and our cat (Miss Molly) and my dad was mostly not there, but sometimes there, and he didn’t *always* shout at Mama, and sometimes my Mimi (my dad’s mom) would let me come over and she would feed me a whole bowl of blueberries, deliciously cold from the fridge and sprinkled with sugar, and I knew I was her favourite grandchild and that everyone who met me loved me and thought I was clever and special.

But since those days–which came to an abrupt halt the summer I was 3–the truest joy I have felt began with the birth of my children. From the moment she arrived, I have loved Naomi more than I thought it was possible to love another human being, and I genuinely thought I loved my parents and siblings and close friends with all of my heart… I was wrong. I didn’t know. Naomi taught me unconditional love, and I am so lucky for having her.

If I could change one thing in the whole world, though, I would make it so that *she* could be the one who feels lucky… and I don’t have any way to do that. I guess she’ll have to keep waiting.

Ways He Hurt Me “Accidentally” 1


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I like to shop. I browse eBay and Facebook sale pages, combing through random items to find something I can wear. I have pretty bad acne scars on a lot of my body; I really need clothes that go up as high as possible in the back, which significantly limits my clothing choices, especially during Spring and Summer, or when I’m looking for occasion wear/party clothes/going out gear. Additionally, I have differently sized breasts (an A cup and not-quite-a-C cup) so a lot of tops or dresses hang funnily (on a visible slant) making me look messy or unkempt, no matter what I do. So despite being 4 dress sizes smaller than I was as a teenager–and being really pleased about that–I still have a number of issues, both body-image-based and practical, when going shopping.

He used to mock me for wearing “that same dress” over and over again–sometimes, we’d walk into a store with dresses of a certain cut, and he’d start laughing and pointing out how my one dress was on the wall. It was as if he couldn’t understand that the reason I refuse to wear dresses with low backs, is because numerous people audibly let out a shocked gasp when they see my upper back unexpectedly. It almost always happens the first time someone new sees me with my back exposed, but some people do it more than once. A GP once saw my back (after I had *warned* him how bad it was, after I had made an appointment to talk about my skin) gasped loudly, and said, “Yes, I see what you mean. We’re not talking dermatology, we’re talking a referral to plastic surgery, but they won’t be able to do anything for you.” This, despite the obvious flare-up of leaking, painful cysts that I really wanted treatment for… but nope. Even a trained medical professional couldn’t see past the ruined surface of my skin to the fact that there was physical pain and I needed help for it.

Yet my “partner” (I use the term so, so loosely) couldn’t seem to understand the emotional cost to me, of wearing a dress that was revealing in the back. He persisted in buying me dresses that had deep, v-shaped backs, and being wounded when I wouldn’t wear them outside of the house unless I could wear a cardigan or something with them (despite the fact that I would wear them around the house, out of thankfulness that he’d bought me something, yes something of limited use, but I was taking his gifts at face value and being grateful for them).

Once, I said I wanted to choose a dress, if he really wanted to buy me something–I was, again, assuming that he’d just forgotten how my skin makes me feel, and not actively trying to force me to wear things that appealed to him yet made me feel like shit–and I loaded up eBay or some other site, and did my usual. I set the sort function to show me highest price heading to lowest price, because if you do it the other way, you can easily creep up on things that are more expensive than you can afford (you just keep clicking ahead to the next page and before you know it, you’ve gone £100 over your pre-set budget and you’re looking at a dress you’d never buy). Whereas if you start off thinking, “Not these dresses, you can’t justify spending that much, but you may as well look at them and see if anyone is selling them cheaper in a few pages,” then even if you don’t find anything, you’ve let yourself down gently.

“No, you can’t do that–that’s not fair!” he said, as soon as I set the filters. I stopped and stared; I was genuinely puzzled; it took me several minutes to work out that he thought I was deliberately trying to spend as much of his money as possible (an odd belief, when I repeatedly told him to stop throwing money at me, over the course of the relationship; towards the end, I started sending him electronic rent for the room that he was meant to be letting me stay in 2-3 days a week, despite *him* refusing to take the money each month when I offered it).

It sounds silly, but my feelings were so incredibly hurt by that shopping incident. Who assumes that (after they have *badgered* you into accepting a gift from them) you’re out to take as much of their money as possible? And–he had been shopping with me in stores before, many times, and seen me look at the expensive or designer rails, before moving to the cheaper stuff; and then once I was looking at the cheaper stuff, that’s when I would tell him that if he really wanted to get me something, could he make it from that side of the shop (because as I was fond of telling him, I was a student and stay-at-home mom, and didn’t *need* designer clothing or evening dresses, etc).

But he was like that about so many things–if there was any possible way of viewing anything I did unkindly, he chose to view it that way… and then punished me for it (mocking me for not wearing the things he thought I should, assuming in every instance that I was out for something other than what I had stated, accusing me of manipulating him by leaving the house, despite the fact that I was usually leaving because he’d followed me from room to room screaming at me over some transgression or other, and would not stop and let me go to bed…).

There’s no easy way to look back on all this and not feel like an idiot; he used to essentially throw money at me, refuse to let me pay my own way, actively hide our relationship from some people, and then when I said I felt like a prostitute, he’d shout and scream and “how very dare you accuse me of treating you that way,” all over the place… what a moron, eh? I should have known how he felt about me the first time he shamed me into wearing something he’d bought (that was too short, low-cut in the back, and in colours that I would never choose to wear) because, well, he’d spent the money and I should be thankful for his gifts.

Placeholder Post, Jan 2018: List

Just what it says on the tin; I’m trying to get back into doing this regularly (not least of all, because I think it helps me keep track of my mood over a reasonable period of time) and I have a few minutes, so I’m jotting down some thoughts.

As I’ve got you here (hello again, dear reader) I may as well let you know some of the other things I need to do (dare I say, plan to do?) in the coming weeks:

  1. Join a gym. I’m not likely to go more than about twice a week, but if I get back into the habit of twice-weekly gym attendance (as per last summer) history shows me that I will tone up significantly, slim down a little, feel a lot better on my good days, and not dip quite so low on my bad ones.
  2. Start volunteering at that charity I’m doing an induction for tomorrow. If I can’t hack it, if the emotional strain is too much, I’ll give it up, I promise… but I don’t have a psych degree for no reason at all. I always intended to do something like this, regardless of my own anxiety and depression (or undiagnosed Bipolar Type 2, which is what I still reckon it is).
  3. I was gonna put something here about increasing the number of nights per week I actually cook, but I became disheartened just trying to explain my kids’ sensory issues. It happens. I’ll try to cook at least 1 more night per week, and not explain in heart-rending detail what it’s like to watch your children uncontrollably vomit when trying to eat about 98% of all known foods.

I think that’ll do. Thanks for having a gander at my post, and hope you’re having a solid day. Mine’s been alright, thanks for asking, and hope to see you around.


Comment Too Long, Sexual Assault


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I read an article and was replying to a comment underneath that asked “Why are so many of you having humiliating, painful sex? We didn’t do it like that in my day,” (rough paraphrase) and I wrote too much. Here is my reply:

For me, it was because when I was a (fat, shy, Star Trek book-reading, nervous) teenager, with bad skin and a flat chest who never wore make-up, NO ONE at my school wanted to date me. One of my male friends ditched me (we’d been really good friends since we were 13 or so) because he just kept being so embarrassed by people linking our names together (years later, he apologised for that and other things, and he’s a great guy now, and he was pretty good then, but… no one wanted their name linked with mine). I asked out more than one guy, never got asked out myself, and until my senior year of high school, never got a yes.

When someone finally noticed me, I was so pathetically grateful that I didn’t even care whether I was in the mood or not. I had genuinely expected to die a virgin, untouched and unloved and unwanted, for about 5 years by this point… Obviously, I then married the first guy who had sex with me (and moved 4,000 miles away from home, age 19) and the first year of my first marriage, I actually wound up cheating on my husband with a guy I didn’t even like in that way (who left bruises on me and told me I liked it, and I just let him) because he was the only one who would talk to me every day, and who seemed to want to have sex with me.

I did not like him sticking 4 fingers in my rectum and telling me that he could just tell that I was the kind of girl who was up for that. I did not like him jerking off on me and telling me I was a dirty little whore. I did not like him giving me a backrub for 10 minutes and then demanding a blow job because “fair is fair”. I didn’t like him not taking no for an answer multiple times a week, and coercing me into blowjobs, because “well why did you come over then/I gave you a lift to work/I bought your dinner didn’t I” etc.

However, I was still overweight, still had acne, my husband had all but stopped having sex with me 6 months into our relationship and the thing I had KNOWN would happen had (the idea that any man would want me had been proved to be a mirage, no one would ever really love me and want me) so I’d take what I could get. Even if that was continual humiliation while being told I liked it (that’s the bit that really gets me–it’s less what he did, it’s the fact that he kept insisting that I’d done it all before, was “that kind of girl” and knew the score, when actually, I’d been raised in Bible Belt USA, had suffered the loneliest of adolescences, and had married my first sexual partner).

I’m 34 now. The last time I let someone do things to me because I didn’t say no was last year: my stepdad had died the month before, we were friends of friends at a wedding, I was hanging around after everyone else had gone to bed because I was trying to get alone with another guy, and when guy-I-wanted-to-talk-to went to the bathroom AFTER walking me up to my room (because I’d lain down drunk in the middle of the floor downstairs–it took both guys to get me up said stairs and to my door) friend-of-friends helped me back downstairs and we had sex.

At one point I had my eyes closed and was counting to ten because he was hurting me, and he didn’t think to stop… still not rape. I was falling down drunk, but he was pretty drunk as well. I’m more upset that he won’t add me as a friend on Facebook, so I can talk to him about what went wrong, and ask him whether he *really* couldn’t tell that I was trying to hang out with the other guy. As to why all that happened… he and I were both former fat kids, drunk at a wedding (and in my case, I’d just had a relationship come apart at the seams, like, literally the week after my stepdad’s death) and we just wanted to feel like someone liked us. It was the first time I’d done that in about 5-6 years, in my own defence, but… the ability to feel so shitty about yourself that you’ll do anything to alleviate it is still obviously a part of me.

Since I’ve unburdened my entire soul here, I have to end on the happy note; that guy I was actually trying to get close to, I sent him a message after he walked in on me and other guy, and asked him to come to my room. I told him what happened, and he got it, that it wasn’t a thing I’d wanted, but rather, a thing I didn’t know how to avoid–he slept (fully clothed) in my bed that night, we became proper friends after that weekend (having known each other 2.5 years, but superficially) and I kid you not, we got married 7 months later after a whirlwind courtship.

A couple of nights ago, we were doing some kinky stuff and afterwards it occurred to me–I hadn’t even bothered to shave my legs or armpits, or put on mascara, before doing all manner of things to him (handcuffs and insertables were in play). I felt sexy, I felt powerful, he felt desired, he felt loved, we both had a crackin’ time, and I’d not even bothered to “prep” for sex. The next day, we were talking about it, and it occurred to me that he’s maybe the first person I’ve ever had sex with, just because I wanted to, and AS MYSELF, not some version of me that I’m desperately hoping will be sexy and intriguing and skilful enough to hold a man’s attention.

And THAT is why we have sex that’s humiliating and painful and all manner of shameful–because deep down, we believe that we’re supposed to, and if we don’t do it like this, maybe no one will ever want us again. Loneliness. Fear. Wanting to look like a party girl. Insecurities about how we look/feel. Being so shy that we regularly get too drunk at parties, and forget how to say no. Realising we have actually become “that girl” in our circle of friends, and (this is so fucked-up) wanting to live up to our wild reputation.

What was different about it, when you were young? I really want to know.