I'm Fine

please dont waste your time on me

4,298 notes

Who created the notion that young girls
are so desperate for male attention
that we bring blades to the insides of our wrists
just so some guy will sweep in
and save us

who was the first person that sold the idea
that self-harm is just a disgusting form
of a short skirt: just like everyone dresses
how they do for someone else’s attention
and couldn’t possibly take action in regards
to their own desires and choices
we’re just poor dumb
deluded creatures who must truly think
our scars
are beautiful - who was it

because you were right.
I did do it out of want for love.

I did it because there was no love
inside of me, none at all, no love for this body
nor this life. I did it because I was so incredibly numb
at times I questioned if I was even alive.
I did it because I was addicted and
when you don’t love yourself yet, you can’t
see a single reason to keep from doing it.

I was certainly caught up in the idea
that someone would see, someone would ask about it.
I very much liked the notion
of someone finally liking me enough
to try and help - but then,
what’s so very wrong about not being strong enough
at fourteen years old
to battle a demon that is the only thing to make you feel
a little bit in control
what’s so wrong about needing a hand to hold
until you’re well enough
to walk on your own?

The only thing you got wrong
was the boy in this story. Never in my life
have I pictured Prince Charming and thought “Golly,
I sure hope that he saves me.” It could have been anybody. I
never wanted a romance to go along with it.
I didn’t need someone to kiss the scars, I just wanted
someone to tell me to stop when I could not stop myself.
I just wanted a friend. I just wanted someone, anyone
to be there for me when I needed it - but I never asked aloud.
I didn’t want to be a burden.

I have been so scared to be naked in front of people
since I was in middle school. What gave you the idea
I’m proud of these moments? Have you ever actually seen
someone else’s scars, unless it’s by accident? Because
the people I know who self-harm
will do anything in their power
to keep it hidden.

Why is everything a girl goes through
always made to be about men? Even when I’m
hurting myself, it’s about wanting their attention. Even
an action like taking every ounce of my self-hatred and
channeling it into a blade
is somehow translated into
“stop hurting yourself just to get laid.”

There are boys who cut too.
What will you say to them?
“I’m sorry, but your pain doesn’t count,
don’t you know girls only do this
to be lovely and broken.”
Maybe boys cut for the same reason other
people do too: they’re in pain and
they have no other way to grapple with emotion.
Maybe every time you tell a girl,
“You only do this for attention,” you’re telling
a young boy, “Don’t show how bad it is, just keep it in,”
you’re telling him,
“This is a thing only desperate little girls do,
never men.”

I battled this for years. It has always been
my fight, and mine alone. It has
nothing to do
with the boys and girls I have loved.

Destroy the idea that self-harm is just for attention, because the minute you put a label like that on it is when you start saying “Oh, that means we don’t have to help them.” Destroy the idea asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s okay to need other people sometimes. It’s okay to look for people to love you if you have no one. It’s okay. There’s a reason therapy is a legitimate profession. Sometimes you’ll need other people to overcome things. Destroy the idea that young kids find beauty in depression. Destroy the idea that boys aren’t hurting. Destroy the idea that any girl ever has said “I’ll just hurt myself and he’ll love me” because
that’s never going to happen.

My body is not an art museum I have never invited someone to look at the paintings and applaud me for dismantling myself into tiny little pieces. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

206,074 notes

is eight years old, she’s got pink cheeks that her grandmother calls chubby. She wants a second cookie but her aunt says “you’ll get huge if you keep eating.” She wants a dress and the woman in the changing room says “she’ll probably need a large in that.” She wants to have dessert and her waiter says “After all that dinner you just had? You must be really hungry!” and her parents laugh.

is eleven and she is picked second-to-last in gym class. She watches a cartoon and sees that everyone who is annoying is drawn with a big wide body, all sweaty and panting. At night she dreams she is swelling like the ocean over seabeds. When she wakes up, she skips school.

is thirteen and her friends are stick-thin ballerinas with valleys between their hipbones. She is instead developing the wide curves of her mother. She says she is thick but her friends argue that she’s “muscular” and for some reason this hurts worse than just admitting that she jiggles when she walks and she’ll never be a dancer. Eating seconds of anything feels like she’s breaking some unspoken rule. The word “indulgent” starts to go along with “food.”

is fourteen and she has stopped drinking soda and juice because they bloat you. She always takes the stairs. She fidgets when she has to sit still. Whenever she goes out for ice cream, she leaves half at the bottom - but someone else always leaves more and she feels like she’s falling. She pretends to like salad more than she does. She feels eyes burrowing through her body while she eats lunch. Kate Moss tells her nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but she just feels like she is wilting.

is fifteen the first time her father says “you’re getting gaunt.” She rolls her eyes. She eats one meal a day but thinks she stays the same size. Every time she picks up a brownie she thinks of the people she sees on t.v. and every time she has cake, she thinks of the one million magazine articles on restricting calories. She used to have no idea a flat stomach was supposed to be beautiful until she saw advice on how to achieve it. She cuts back on everything. She controls. They tell her she’s getting too thin but she doesn’t believe it.

is sixteen and tearing herself into shreds in order for a thigh gap big enough to hush the screams in her head. She doesn’t “indulge,” ever. She can’t go out with friends, they expect her to eat. She damns her sweet tooth directly to hell. It’s coffee for breakfast and tea for lunch and if there’s dance that evening, two cups of water and then maybe an apple. She lies all the time until she thinks the words will rot her teeth. She dreams about food when she sleeps. Her aunt begs her to eat anything, even just a small cookie. They say, “One bite won’t make you fat, will it, darling?”

is seventeen and too sick to go to prom because she can’t stand up for very long. She thinks she wouldn’t look good in a dress anyway. Her nails are blue and not because they are painted. Her hair is too thin to do anything with. She’s tired all the time and always distracted. She once absently mentions the caloric value of grapes to the boy she is with and he looks at her like she’s gone insane and in that moment she realizes most people don’t have numbers constantly scrolling in their heads. She swallows hard and tries to figure out where it all went wrong, why more than a granola bar for a meal makes her feel sick, why she tastes disease and courts with death. She misses sleep. She misses being able to dream. She misses being herself instead of just being empty.

is twenty and writes poetry and is a healthy weight and still fights down the voices every single day. She puts food in her mouth and sometimes cries about it but more and more often feels good, feels balanced. Her cheeks are pink and they are chubby and soft and no longer growing slight fur. Her hair is long and it is beautiful. She still picks herself apart in the mirror, but she’s starting to get better about it. She wears the dress she likes even if it only fits her in a large and she doesn’t feel like a failure for it. She is falling in love with the fat on her hips.

She is eating out with friends and not worrying about finding the lowest calorie item on the menu when she hears a mother tell her four year old daughter “You can’t have ice cream, we just had dinner.
You don’t want to end up as a fat little girl.”

Why do we constantly do this to our children? /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

5,774 notes

THIS IS THE SETUP: Why should you be nice to someone who is fat?
THIS IS THE PUNCHLINE: Because they have enough on their plate.

this is you, eight years old the first time you realize that your stomach is just a little bit bigger than the ones your friends have. it happens at a sleepover when cake is served and you’re the only one to take a third slice. this is you later, sitting with your fist in a popcorn bowl, watching disney movies. you look nothing like the princesses. you don’t have ariel’s waist or jasmine’s or anybody’s. you love the lion king because nobody’s human in it. this is the first time you learn that a fat person’s place is cracking jokes. everyone will love you if you’re funny enough.

THIS IS THE SETUP: Relationships are just like fat people.
THIS IS THE PUNCHLINE: Most of them don’t work out.

this is you, thirteen the first time your best friend kisses someone. her blonde hair spreads across your lap as she giggles about it. she has such blue eyes and such a perfect body. you are used to how easily she makes friends. you are used to how people just draw themselves towards her as if she was a solar eclipse. you are used to being funny while she is beautiful. you are her sidekick. you are always making them laugh. this is you, fourteen the first time you put on a miniskirt and stare in the mirror. you take it off and wear jeans to school. it is not your job to be sexy, it’s hers.

THIS IS THE SETUP: You know what’s ironic about pubs refusing to serve someone already drunk?
THIS IS THE PUNCHLINE: McDonald’s still serves fat people.

this is you, trying to lose weight in every way you can think of. atkins. paleo. alphabet. south beach. eating healthy, only eating halves, only eating orange food, only eating ginger root. this is you, somehow gaining weight no matter what you do. this is the phone call to your friends when you fake sick so you don’t have to go out swimsuit shopping with them. this is mentally begging yourself to stop feeding yourself at four a.m. but being unable to do it, just shoving more and more food into that rotten hole of a mouth, sucking up every crumb and cracker. these are tears pouring down your cheeks while you eat and eat and eat, sometimes forty-eight (and a quarter) servings of your “safe food,” sometimes a whole jar of peanut butter, sometimes a little bit of everything (followed by a lot of everything) until it feels like you’re not even human in those moments, like your hands are out of your control. it’s both disgusting to you and the only way that you feel whole. this is you, tumbling into a dark place until you find yourself secretly lusting for some kind of disease to strip this body off of your bones. this is you, feeling so guilty for the stray thought “i wish i had the control to starve myself.” this is you, stuffing a whole box of oreos into your mouth and thinking, “i wish i could stop.”

THIS IS THE SETUP: Life is like a box of chocolates.
THIS IS THE PUNCHLINE: It doesn’t last very long for fat people.

this is you, on the bus, closing your eyes and pretending you don’t hear the little boy say “mommy, why’s she so big?” this is you, overhearing whispers in the gym’s changing room. this is you, pretending to be overly confident because inside you’re completely wilted. this is you, skipping out of parties just so you don’t have to meet anybody, just so you don’t have to watch the look on their face when they first see you. this is you, picturing a zipper on the back of your neck, wanting to step out of this body. this is you, right before you fall asleep, wishing for some kind of needle to suck all of the fat right out of your tummy. this is you, telling your skinny friends “love yourself no matter what you eat,” and never hearing it used when you need it - when you’re freaking out, this is you finding messages like “why not try working out? i can come with you if that will help,” “eating healthy is easy once you get used to it!” “you’re not really very big, not like seriously anyway. just wear clothes that aren’t very tight. no one will see.” this is you, having no one to talk to. this is you, begging yourself for control. this is you, growing older and still only getting bigger, bigger, bigger, while your heart seems dead-set on shrinking ever smaller. this is you, being asked if you are pregnant. this is you, without a prom date, unwilling to wear a dress, reading books where the fat girl gets all the guys because she’s funny even though you’re actually left all by yourself, this is you listening to girls talk about sex, this is you being the odd one out, the walking insecurity, the faceless monster, the unpretty.

THIS IS THE SETUP: You hate food so much you want to set yourself on fire, you want to burn off your fingers so you never pick up another sandwich, you want to sew your mouth closed and chop away at the rolls on your hips, you want to dissolve into a puddle and just be pretty and popular and skinnier than the rest - more importantly, you want to actually feel those things, actually feel good about yourself, actually be able to do things but
THIS IS THE PUNCHLINE: You keep eating.

this is you, the joke sitting permanently on your bones. this is you, but you are not alone. this is your best friend and you are both only a little tipsy when a drunk girl says “you need to lose some weight, fatty,” this is your best friend throwing the only punch you’ve ever seen her give, her small stature usually leaning towards being more passive. she bruises her knuckles and rips the other girl’s dress. a stranger mutters something under her breath while you squeeze through a door and your little sister goes from all smiles directly into fire, she spits out more sass than you’re sure is appropriate for a high schooler, she says things you think she’ll have to apologize in church for. this is you, being there for yourself when you feel like you have no one, standing in the mirror and saying, “my eyes are great and i am important.” this is you, refusing to be the punchline anymore, refusing to be beaten into a pulp, this is you, willful and maybe not as proud of yourself as you’d like to be but still ready for anything, this is you, occasionally still falling apart because it all hurts so badly, a lot - but this is you, and you have always been more than three letters, more than a word, more than anything they said to you to get themselves off, this is you and this is your story. be sure that you are the one doing the writing. don’t let them turn your saga into a tragedy.

this is you, and you are learning how to feel beautiful, slowly.

This is you, and this is me. You are not alone. We’ll get through this, just wait and see. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

1,296 notes

kohlberg created this whole scheme of moral reasoning
with three levels. when we are little, we take action with
the intent to gain rewards and avoid punishment. when
we grow older, we see rules as black and white, good or bad.
by the time we are thirteen, we are capable of constructing
a “wider picture” where morality exists on a spectrum
of circumstance and understanding.

kohlberg killed himself.

the reward: breathing no longer.
the punishment: the pain it brings your family, your friends,
a stranger on the street.
we want to say “it would only hurt those closest to me”
but humans mourn as a whole, as a group, as one single breathing entity. what is lost to one person
is lost to us all.
we want to know your story.
this is why we hate book burnings.

the black: a grave your best friend reads her poetry at,
standing in ballet flats with the mud sluicing up around her feet,
wondering idly if the grass growing over your plot
is fed by your bones, wondering if the dandelions there
are your way of listening,
knowing that you’re actually dead and you didn’t stick around
long enough to see her succeed, kind of hating you, kind of
jealous, kind of wondering what made you do it
because she’s pretty sure it was her own failure and
trust me when i say this will fuck up
every relationship she will have
from that moment on.
she will never ever be over this.
the demons in your brain might tell you different - that
we all move on, that we make new friends -
but she won’t be the same person. for years, she will be hollow
instead. you won’t be there to stop her
from getting way too drunk, night after night,
you won’t insist she puts down the sixth tequila shot and
she will end up in the hospital, you won’t
be there to sit with her on days where she needs someone so
she’ll just sit there, alone, you won’t be there
to stop her from dating people she knows are bad news
and she’ll do it all just out of want for the distraction from
missing you, just out of the desire to escape
from the six foot hole
you drove inside her.

the white: no one will speak poorly of you
for at least a month. no one decent, at least.
in fact, no one will speak of you at all
because your name will sit like a bitter seed on their tongue.
they will avoid talking about you because that’s what people
do with pain: they dance away from it until the bad nights
where the boxes they shoved their guilt and horror
and utter misery into will tumble down onto their heads and
suffocate them. this sounds great if you’ve been bullied.
good, let them suffer for this.
but the truth is, there are more good people than bad out there
and the good ones will blame themselves
more than the cruel ones ever will.
girls who are used to helping out the hurt little birds of
their classes will find themselves
wondering how they didn’t see you in time,
how it was possible one slipped through their fingers. boys
who just wanted someone to talk to
about how bad it gets will wonder if they should take that final step, too, because if you can’t do it
why should they be able to.
people who are kind
but have been too shy to approach you
will all sit in your classes and stare at your empty seat
until they want to puke.

the full spectrum of morality: don’t kill yourself,
not for anyone else
but because your story hasn’t panned out.
you are still in the exposition.
the greatest novels have the hero go through hell
in order to walk out forged by fire,
heart as strong as steel and a future so bright it burns to look at.
there is always something you are good at. there are people
you could save by sharing where you have been.
grow up to be a psychiatrist,
a teacher, a parent, an artist, a nurse -
make sure this doesn’t happen to kids anymore.
there are poems to write and kites to fly and
so many adventures to be had, so many
impossible moments you can’t even fathom, so many brilliant
tiny miracles that will keep you afloat for just a little bit longer,
just a little bit more

and i know this because i’ve been where you are and
for the last month i’ve been in the bad place,
the utter dark –
but i’ve been able to get out of it
using my teeth and claws and the skills i’ve developed
after a long, long time of doing this and
i’m maybe not perfect but i’m getting stronger.
eventually, this disease
won’t control me anymore.

i hope you’ll be there the day that i’m better
because i want to be there for you, too. we can both celebrate
our getting through.

I’m sick and tired of breathing.” // r.i.d (via inkskinned)

1,974 notes

This is a tale of forgiveness. This is the story of a girl with an “authority problem,” c-range student who could have been a 4.0 if she had just tried hard enough, darkness boiling under her skin to such a degree that “personal journal” assignments always ended in the teacher asking her questions like “are you okay” but never with a real degree of concern, just professional double-checking as if reminding her that her left shoe was untied instead of saying “it looks like you are unraveling.” This is the story of being under the radar in every year of school because no matter how good she got, she was never the best, and no matter how bad her nights were, in the daytime there were still students with more shock, more awe, more danger signs pointing towards their temples. This is a small girl being constantly overlooked, this is having exactly eighty-four detentions by the end of her sophomore year for truancy alone because class for her was an uphill battle that tasted like sulfur and missed homework, this is a help-wanted sign pasted across her report card with every single “unexcused absence” she spent hiding in the library, trying to convince herself that next time, she’d show up - this is being too smart to ever fail a class no matter how much she didn’t come, this is being too stupid to ever bother catching up. This is hating every single moment she spent within those walls, hating the sound of chalk and projectors and markers and pens on paper. This is a girl who in seventh grade and a serious Catholic asked her God to take her math teacher’s life just so she wouldn’t have to face the overwhelming reality of class the next day, this is not being ambitious enough for the gifted track but too smart for the slow one, this is the story of being perfectly mediocre and because of that, always being looked over. This girl is me, twenty, and going back into the jaws of the lion.

I’m going to be a teacher.

I will never make a child feel like I did. I will never be the cause of burn scars on brainstems, I will never make a child think they’re stupid or they’re not capable of learning. I will never make them feel unheard, unwanted, unwelcome. I will see their warning signs and refuse to let them brush off my questions. It takes one bad teacher to poison a subject for a student, and I’m going to do my best to reverse every pain they’ve felt. It will not be about lectures or tests or the state standard. It will be about them, about their education, about their future. They will be important to me in the way I never was to anyone else. They will never feel left out. My class will never come before their mental health. They will be safe as soon as they enter my room. This is not a jail cell, it’s a hotel, a haven, a place they can finally leave their home life behind and relax for an instant.

There will be no under-the-radar children. So long as I live, I will fight to the death to be sure that what happened to me never does to my kids. I hate school, I hate this system. I hate the idea that not flunking is doing well enough. I hate the idea that being smart is rewarded with more work. I hate so much about the politics and the standardization of education that even my poetry isn’t enough to contain it.

I’m going to teach these kids to fall in love with learning again. It’s not about memorization. It’s about discovery, and it’s about time we started teaching like we have passion instead of adding more poison, started treating it like a war instead of a profession. These kids are going through hell, so let’s give them something to fight with.

There need to be more good teachers.”/// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

inkskinned is my hero for this alone, not to mention all the hundreds of other poems and prose she’s written that is so completely breathtaking and perfectly expressed.

58,222 notes

Ten Women I Have Been Warned Against Becoming:

1. The Girl Who Takes Up Too Much Space, always, her shoulders too wide in stairwells, her hips too big in doorways, her voice too loud in classes. This woman does not understand the art of crumbling, of curling herself tight like the spiral of a fern, soft, delicate, unwilling to reach out the ivy of her fingers to grasp onto what should rightfully be hers. This is a beast, an elephant, a moving mountain and she is capable of flattening you, she is capable of ruining you, she is capable of making you feel as small and insignificant in her life as she is supposed to be. You are this woman’s footnote to history, you are her side note in song lyrics, you are constantly interrupted by her with a witty joke you wish you thought of. I asked what the problem was with being a steamroller instead of a sunflower and I was laughed down.

2. The Beautiful One, the long hair or the slim waist or the pretty eyes or the lips like bowstrings. This woman looks good in everything because she’s confident in whatever you put her in. She’ll cut her hair short on you no matter how you like it, she’ll wear high heels and step on your opinions, she’ll look hot as hell no matter what size she is. See, the reason you can’t trust her is because women like this don’t need your permission, they’ll do as they please and get away with it. They’ll say no to you, over and over. Teach your daughters that beautiful means dangerous, teach them to distrust women who love themselves. Equate beautiful with vapid, equate pretty with stupid, take their power from them. Say they’re vain for their makeup, refuse to see them without it. These women are snakes, they are serpents. I said maybe the problem lies with you being unable to control yourself and was told to get off my pedestal.

3. A Bitch. Women are supposed to be ladies in the street but will tear skin under sheets. I’m told: Never raise your voice. Speak gently. Submit. Hold your opinion against your lips and when you admit to it, make sure it comes out as a butterfly wing suggestion. Don’t disagree. Don’t undermine someone else’s authority, regardless of whether or not they deserve your respect. Someone touches you, just move away from them. Don’t hit. Don’t talk back. Be like the ruins of Rome, only beautiful if you can’t hear your quiet death.

4. The Needy One. I have heard how others spit when they talk about how she gave you everything and you shoved it back down her throat until she choked on it, until she came back crawling and asked you what she did, until her palms and knees were scraped for want of just a little affection - never be this woman, I’m told, because she’s a joke and the joke is that she dared to have more emotion than you did. The truth is, I’m told, the one who cares less in a partnership is the one who wins. I didn’t know this was a competition.

5. The Cock Tease, certified stripper, how dare that girl look like that and not want me to sleep with her. Lust is always personified as a lady in red with a dress slit up her thigh. Lust is sinful because it’s power, it’s not asking for attention - it’s demanding it. I’m told she is the worst kind of woman, that looking good is supposed to be some kind of shame on her kin. I’m told not to leave the house in such a short skirt, not with a shirt so low, not with a lace back, not with high heels, not dressed like that. My lipstick can’t be too red, my hair can’t be too mussed, I can’t just “turn someone on like that and then leave them wanting.” I mentioned that instant gratification actually ruins our psyche and was told that being led on was “exhausting.” I said that there was a difference between purposefully tricking someone into liking you and just being attractive or friendly. I was told there’s also a difference between coffee and tea but both result in caffeine. I said, “I’ve been turned on in class by the girls I talk to but I didn’t expect anything from them,” and they said, “It’s different, you’re not a man,” but couldn’t explain where that difference was.

6. A Slut, obviously ruined by another person’s touch. It doesn’t matter how many people she’s actually been with, it’s all about the rumors she carries with her. Easy. Harlot. You’ll still try to get with her, you’ll still take her into your bed and kiss her and say things you don’t mean - but you’ll defame her name when you talk to your buddies. My father used to say “A slut is fine for the night, but the virgin is who you take home and marry.” Maybe he didn’t know he was teaching his daughter to hate her sexuality. Maybe he didn’t know that every time she’d be kissed, her whole system would shake until she felt ready to combust, shame and self-hatred shivering against her spine. Maybe he didn’t know she’d disconnect emotions and sex because he always told her, “Boys are different, they won’t care about you.” Nobody said to her that it was okay to experiment. See, the funny thing is, I’m a dancer so I know exactly where my center of gravity is. I know how hard I’ll fall in each direction. Yet out of fear of getting hurt, I won’t let a single person inside of my bed.

7. The Soulmate. Never love romance more than you love being cynical. Never show weakness, never like pink, never think maybe you might find someone nice and settle down with them. Someone will find you, I was told, And if you’re lucky, he’ll put up with you when you start getting old. Never be the woman who believes in happily ever after, never be dumb enough to think maybe someone could love you after all of your mistakes. It has nothing to do with whether or not a family is important to you and you’re in a good place where a relationship would make your life better - you’re not a princess. You don’t get married, you settle.

8. The Girl With Strength, who can outrun everyone and who is stronger than her boyfriend. “See the thing about boys,” says my daddy, “Is that you have to let them win.” I sat at home and read stories about Artemis and wanted to become the huntress, too. I wanted to howl at the moon, I wanted to slay the beasts that bested me, I wanted to rule my kingdom with bloody fists. But girls are never athletes, never supposed to be “built,” regardless of the fact civilizations were constructed on our spines and we made homes in war by the steel of our ribs. Never be strong. We are supposed to wilt.

9. The Lady CEO: because if you choose work over family, are you really a girl? How dare you fight your way to the top through every pair of eyes that bore through your blouse, through every meeting where you were hushed by the sound of someone else talking, through every time someone called you “sweetie,” how dare you yearn for something. Is your husband the stay-at-home one? I can’t imagine how that is going. He’s not a real man, after all. I don’t give it long before the divorce. How dare you decide you’re happy being single. Don’t you know you’re supposed to bear children. Where is your honor? Where is your wisdom? Who cares if you are the leader, the best suited for your position, the quickest-thinking, the one who makes the hardest clients come back again. Don’t you see? Across history, women have been terrible at success. They always lose their man in the end. (When I said, “I would rather be a famous author than a mediocre mother,” I was told, “No, don’t worry, you’ll be a fine mommy.”)


In respectful response to a poem tilted, “Ten men women have warned me against becoming." /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

25,231 notes

Look around your college classroom, spot the virgins.

See, this seems like a game until you skip over the girl with a short skirt and hair in front of her eyes because you heard last summer that she slept with like nineteen guys. You can’t see her hands, but they’re under the table, pulling a rosary through her fingers as she tries to wash the sin off her. She’s only ever kissed three people in her whole life and they’re all girls. She turned down the wrong guy and he told everyone she’s “a whore.” The label “slut” stuck to the bottom of her shoe and swallowed her up.

But that quiet girl who is always reading probably never touched someone else’s penis, you figure, because you don’t know that she goes home and strips down and pulls on tight black leather, you don’t know she’s got a set of whips that could make any set of knees quiver, you don’t know because she’s proud of what she does but she’s not stupid enough to let anyone know about it. She’s sexy, just not here, not where people judge.

See, the truth is: you have no idea who has lost their virginity, because it doesn’t change you. It doesn’t give you some kind of glow or superpower or stamp on your forehead. You know the feeling of waking up on your birthday and thinking “I don’t feel any older whatsoever”? That’s what maybe they’re all so afraid of you finding out: sex doesn’t change you. Sex doesn’t make you an animal, sex doesn’t suddenly make your relationship a million times more stable or intimate or romantic - it can’t fix what’s broken, although it can make the pain go away for a bit. Sex doesn’t really occur with eighty tea lights and a thick white rug. Sex is ugly and loud and frequently awkward, sex is excellent and breathtaking and when you wake up the next morning, you’re the exact same person. There’s not some magical connection with the person in bed beside you. Believe it or not, pregnancy isn’t some kind of punishment - but practice safe sex, get tested, don’t spread your germs around. They want to tell you, “Sex can ruin you” and I’ve heard that a lot as a little girl, that some boy would join me under my sheets and then dump me four days after, used, unhappy.

But I figured out that I’m not a fucking toy. Letting someone have sex with me is not letting them “use” me, because I’m not an object. My father said the issue lay in the fact “Men are insecure and need to know that they’re the best you ever had,” but I think that’s a steaming crock of absolute-wrong and if I didn’t tell the people I’m with how many others I’d slept beside, there would be literally no way for them to know my number, because I don’t rust, I don’t wear out, I don’t get bruised. I’m not a wilting fruit, I don’t go rotten.

But here’s the thing: some people connect sex and emotion. I don’t personally because I am probably secretly an ice storm in disguise, but I still respect my partner’s desires. If they’re the type to want love and sex to coincide, I let them. I don’t make fun, I don’t pull one-night-stands or friends-with-benefits, because it’s not their “reputation” I’m afraid for: it’s their heart I’m defending.

Here’s the thing: Instead of worrying about people’s “purity” and how it defines them as a person, worry instead about how you can protect other people’s emotions.

Because here’s the thing: look around your room and spot the virgins. Look harder. You can’t tell. Sex doesn’t alter people, it doesn’t make them act in a certain way nor dress in a certain manner. Sex and personality have nothing to do with each other. There’s a reason that virginity doesn’t show on someone’s face: because having sex doesn’t cause you to change.

"I lost my virginity to a boy I didn’t even love…" /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)