When I first started my period, I was nine years old. It disappeared for months after that first time, and in all the years following, I can’t ever accurately tell you what day I will actually be on it. Since I started puberty, I have suffered with moderately severe depression and severe anxiety, as well as more body hair and back acne (aka bacne) — the latter two having brutally impacted my self-esteem and body image.
When you first meet them, it seems like some kind of magic — glitter raining down on you, sparks flying, fireworks bursting into an array of rainbows in the sky. They’re a charmer and they’ve charmed you, embedding that crescent moon smile into your heart, their perfume or cologne sinking into your skin so it stays with you. At first, you love it, breathing it in every chance you get, embracing that warmth and glimmer of blossoming love, of something that could be more. A relationship in the beginning, the start of something special.
Since March 2020, it sort of seems like the world has somehow shifted — more bad news pouring out of everyone’s mouths as the days creep by. For months, every phone call my family would get was about one loss or another, deaths, illnesses, people we know slipping away from this world. The ever-present fear of losing more people, ones in my family, and by family I don’t mean just my parents, is one always promising to engulf me, but at the same time filling me with such toxic numbness.
With your back against the plush chair and your legs crossed beneath you, the soft murmurs from the other students in the library, and a gentle noise in the background, you finally open up to the first page of that book. Finally. Your break times and lunchtimes are usually spent the same way: holed up in the library, devouring book after book.