My Body, My Tomb

“Marin, under the streetlight, dancing by herself, is singing the same song somewhere. I know. Is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life.”

– The House On Mango Street

Friends of Fluff

My stuffed animal collection was the pinnacle of my second-grader existence. Their plush complexion, beady eyes, and plastic noses. I loved them as they were my only friends. They have always listened to me. Not once have they ever left my side. I named them “Brownie”, “Hammie”, “Goldie”, etc. 

I didn’t have many friends in school. It seemed like everyone in second grade already had their established friend groups from first grade. In first grade, I only had one friend, and she moved away. I couldn’t be mad at her because I knew the conditions at our elementary school.

My collection grew and grew as the school years went by. I was emotionally attached to each stuffed animal. I even developed personality traits that I thought would suit them. Looking back on it, I know it probably wasn’t the healthiest thing for a 7-year-old to isolate herself and substitute stuffed animals for real friends, but this hyper-fixation made my life growing just a little bit easier.


I started stealing when I started middle school. Not from stores, but from my sister’s closet. I started off sixth grade excited with the two new long-sleeves, two new jackets, and two new skinny jeans my dad bought me for the school year. I was proud of what I wore. That was until three months into the school year when my outfits started getting repetitive. Kids started to notice. How could you blame me? You could only make so many combinations with just two worn long sleeves, two worn jackets, and two worn skinny jeans. 

“Didn’t you wear that long sleeve yesterday?”

“No? That was a different one.”

“Oh, they all look the same anyways.”

From then on, I would wait until my older sister would leave early in the morning for school since her high school was 30 minutes away. Only then would I sneak into her room and pick out a new shirt for the day. The very first item I wore was a salmon pink long-sleeve shirt with a graphic blue design on the back. I shed my skin as I looked in the mirror to see how I looked. A familiar face with a foreign expression stared back at me. I hope they notice, I thought.

“Look! You’re finally wearing something new today.”

A stupidly condescending thing for my friend to say, followed by an even stupider smile on my face paired with a pathetic feeling of contentment in my heart. I finally felt at peace in my new school, now that I am wearing someone else’s skin.

Dangers of Familiarity

I, alone, cannot save anyone. It doesn’t matter how hard I try. You truly cannot save someone who does not want to be saved. My former best friend was a forest fire. She burned and fueled herself to burn more. It was a tragic disaster that I could only witness. She was unwell and did not possess any desire to get better. When she would project her insecurities onto me, I gave her the benefit of the doubt because I couldn’t possibly understand what she was going through. All that was left was for me to be supportive. I was young and naive at the time. I didn’t know that she didn’t want my help but wanted company instead. Soon enough, I found myself burning with her. It didn’t matter how many times I stayed up comforting her, spent time with her, or ignored the hurtful comments she would give me, we were doomed from the start. During this point in my life, I started distancing myself from everyone else in my life because it felt like we were the only two people who could possibly understand what the other was going through. Being sad is a hauntingly familiar feeling. Maybe that’s why she sought comfort in it. Maybe that’s why I seek comfort in dysfunction. That was all we were familiar with.

Beauty is Pain

I love being a girl. Despite all the criticism and judgment we receive, I truly do love being a girl. The heartwrenching beauty standards, constant judgment, and unsolicited advice are just byproducts of it. Girls often try to stray away from inherently hyper-feminine things; such as the color pink, makeup, and vanity, to fit it. I admit I used to be that way growing up as well. I would react with disgust at pink and purple things, pretend I didn’t know what makeup was, and mock the popular girls, but all these things were hypocritical of me to do. Acting this way didn’t make me any different, any more unique, or any more special than those popular girls who had the courage to embrace the things they liked despite the stigma surrounding them.

Now, I know what I like and what I don’t like. What I want and what I don’t. Who I want to be and who I don’t. I love being a girl and embrace all the hardships that might come with it because, to me, it is worth it. The several hours I put into getting ready, the tears I’ve cried because I didn’t feel good enough, and the fake laughs I’ve laughed at bad jokes that didn’t deserve them are worth receiving a single compliment. A simple comment that melts away all my worries. A short sentence that reassures me that I am doing something right. A single compliment that reminds me of my worth. So please tell me another sweet lie, so I can pocket it for later.


People are always shocked when I show them pictures of me when I was in middle school. It was an awkward stage where I started feeling the need to become someone else. 

“You look so different!”

“Oh my god! Your hair back then!”

“I can’t believe you wore that to school.”

As they laughed at my younger self, I couldn’t help but feel as though they were laughing directly at me. I had distanced myself so far from this younger version of me that I didn’t even see her as me anymore. Like she was a whole other person, far from where I stood today. But I am still here, she is me. She lives on inside of me like a bug. I am like fruit. Fruit that is rotting from the inside out.

I can’t help but wonder when I will start feeling this way about my current self. I was proud of the girl I was four years ago, but now I am ashamed. Won’t this same thing happen to me now? Two years from now, I will look back with embarrassment because of how my hair was dyed, the way I do my makeup, or the way I posed in photos. When will I abandon myself? This cycle of embarrassment feels inevitable, so when is my expiration date?

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