One of the Girls Who Lived/collective noun/a girl who is alive, who has stayed alive, but who has not done much living.
One of Those Girls Who Lived/collective noun/a girl who has lived for a short time, or for a long time, who has done a considerable amount of living.
When we think about it now, at its heart, it was not done only for the aesthetic.
Because the shallow, criss-cross lines on our wrists are not just a cry for help but a vibe. An exclusive beauty mark. And all the best protagonists in drama come from tragic backgrounds. We saw it all the time in the YA that we read and the greatest movies that made us dream of something better. We invoked that tragedy, because—wasn’t that what it was all about?
Being a teenager.
And, damn it, was it really so much to ask for our Movie of the Month moments? Because there was so much we didn’t have control of but maybe we could give ourselves a few tears to rest in the palms of our hands.
Maybe one day when we would be however many years old, we would remember how we had wanted to die, but how instead we had somehow found a way to live.
Back then, we wanted to attach ourselves to hardships, and humiliation, and misfortune, because those are the things worth remembering, for people to come up to us one day, and say, “Hey, weren’t you one of Those Girls Who Lived?”
We attacked ourselves for our future daughters. So that when we were much older girls and they would yell at us about not understanding anything at all, we could yell back that we really do. We would rub our daughters’ hair down, pat their backs, and let them cry into the crooks of our necks, knowing that we very damn well do understand.
We beat ourselves to work against the boredom of books, and musty boys.
We invoked drama, because we didn’t want to be ordinary, and ugly, and forgotten.
We tried to dumb ourselves down for those musty boys, so that we became no more than breasts and brown eyes—and look at these eyes, musty boy, aren’t they oh so innocent, and wouldn’t you just love to love me back, musty boy?
There’s a difference between being one of the Girls Who Lived, and one of Those Girls Who Lived.
To be one of Those Girls Who Lived is to be immortal.
We tried to starve ourselves.
An apple for lunch.
A Lean Cuisine for dinner.
And did you know that if you crush up a bag of Hot Cheetos it looks like there’s way more food inside than there actually is?
After all, there are jeans to fit into, girl.
And right now, our bodies are baby-fat-squishy, and not woman-sexy-curvy.
We all are a woman now, too.
We tried to cut our wrists.
An unfolded paperclip for the veins.
A sleeve rolled all the way up.
And did you know that you are too much of a loser to make the scratches deep enough to last?
After all, this aesthetic isn't easy to obtain, girl.
And right now, our wrists are smooth-silky-clean, and not deep-scratchy-bloody.
We are all in pain, now.
We tried to trash our dolls.
Because we wanted to become the doll, and all that practice with combing their hair, and dressing them up, and putting on their makeup was really all just for us one day.
And our legs weren’t so long, and they were riddled with scratches and burns, but that was okay.
And our training bras barely had anything to train, but soon they would, so it was important to get used to the feel of them anyway.
After all, there are husbands to catch one day, girl.
Kitchens to clean, and laundry to fold.
And don’t you want to be a pretty-pristine-polished wife and not a rough-bushy-wild one?
We tried to perm our hair.
Because it was the right time to start looking more grown, and the wrong time to look so young. So, we threw away the ponytails, and the pigtails, and hair-bubble barrettes.
And when we came back from summer break, we would judge all the girls who still wore those things, because, girl, didn’t you know that it’s time to grow up?
And we would tell them to not worry, we would tell them that those things would make a comeback, so they should save them all for when we were much older girls.
For when the world would demand of us that youth again, because nobody likes an old girl, and ponytails made us look so very sweet.
We tried to welcome our periods.
Because we wanted to know what it’s like to bleed from places other than our wrists.
Will it hurt? Will it be sticky?
How bad is a cramp, anyway?
We did not want to be the only one not yet woman, not yet able to carry life inside her soon.
But what if it is true?
After all, there are pads to buy, girl.
Tampons, if you are one of those girls.
And right now, our panties are spick-and-span white, and not splotchy-polka-dotted red.
In a fantasy, where we are neither one of the Girls Who Lived, nor one of Those Girls Who Lived, we are just a girl who is good as she already is.
And these girls?
They are not sad. They do not give a damn about being boring protagonists.
They are not dumb.
They rock their afro-puffs, and they fill their bodies with the food that they need, and like.
They do not cut themselves, but wish to keep all the goodness of them inside themselves.
They are not tragic, and they do not want tragedy.
They like happiness.
These girls don’t want to be a woman, yet. These girls don’t want to change, yet.
Away from the fantasy, we don’t want to be alone more than we don’t want to be anything else. We don’t want to be alone more than we want to just be a girl who is good as she already is.
Just to say that we had lived.
Just to say we had been one of Those Girls Who Lived.