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Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a house of glass. It was held up by promises, fairytales and laughter, and she thought it was the strongest fortress in the universe. Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose daddy tied her shoelaces and read her stories, and whose mommy told her she could be anything she wanted as she sang her to sleep. Once upon a time there was a little girl made of sugar and filled with dreams.

But as that girl grew up she realized that her house of promises and laughter was made out of paper, fluttering with the slightest change of wind. Mommy and Daddy didn’t love each other any more and wife #2 stayed around, Fairy Godmother or Evil Stepmother. The girl learned that she was tied with strings that bulged against the weight she didn’t want anymore, because who has baby fat in middle school? Because who is made out of sugar and dreams in middle school? Teenagers are made of sticks and scotch tape. She learned that sometimes, trying to find who you are isn’t good enough; people like to fray the strings holding you together until they can knot you whichever way they choose, hiding insults disguised as complements in all your seams. She learned that Mommy doesn’t like Fat or Stupid or Lazy or Messy or Selfish, Spoiled little girls. Besides, Daddy won’t let you out of the cage you were born into, iron bars, padlock and pretty pink bow to complete the image of Daddy’s Little Girl. She learned that in this world you must sing yourself to sleep (only after schoolwork: 110% effort) and when there is no air left in your lungs you must use your last breath to be grateful, No Singing Allowed. She learned that the world is assembled from cancers, late homework assignments, broken dreams and struggle. She learned that even though you’re supposed to have good grades, a job, a sport, and be a good girl, not s***ty or w****y or prude or a loser or stupid or girly or fake or self-conscious or ugly or fat, because all girls are assembled using only the finest plastic, it’s all lies. It’s selfish to ask to be driven outside your vinyl room with it’s tear-stained walls. Want to open your skin and cry through the holes? No, that makes you a freak. Your music, your clothes, your makeup, your attitude, your grades, your talents, your words will never be good enough. They will be too busy hurling disapproval at you to hear the screams that should be echoing in their skulls and are instead left to die on your lips: I’m not hungry, I already ate, the cat scratched me, she wasn’t being mean, I don’t understand, I’m fine, I’m just tired. And remember not to flinch when they hit you with words heavier than the stones upon which you sleep at night in hope that the discomfort will distract you from the thoughts that are trying to eat you alive.

This girl is me. And she is you. And she is a thousand others, a million, who are drowning in their own secrets. This girl is every girl who has ever felt lost because being a girl is shameful, because being human is the most terrifying experience fathomable, the power of possessing free will amongst other conscious beings. Because the depth of consciousness we have reached can only be so deep before it turns around and rips itself apart with the teeth of its ignorant soul.

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