When I was younger I’d paint my eyes black;
I’d roll into the back of my own head,
my body would writhe
and tiny beetles would scamper under my skin.
When I was younger I’d swallow the pills;
one to make me taller,
one to make me smaller,
one to harden up.
But how could I be hard in those fluid surroundings? In a slippery – wet world where I’d slip into myself? It’s sink or swim, it’s die or fit in, a world where you can try and try, but you will never, ever win
A world without lifesavers, a world where young girls like me, who never learnt to swim, are left to drown.
When I was younger I’d crawl back “home”
soaking wet and dirty
Like a dog
grating my fingernails against the concrete
burying my nose in my sins
A new set of markings where I’d clawed at my own flesh
A new set of eyes slowly sinking in.
When I was younger I thought I could fly!
I thought leaping out that window was a sure – fire way to soar and if this is all that living was, I didn’t want life anymore
When I was younger
I calculated how much I’d be missed
I calculated the times I’d been raped divided by the amount of times I’d been kissed
I calculated the speed and the size of the truck
And the timing I’d step out onto the road, and then with any luck…
When I was younger I was saved.
And all this time I just thought I wasn’t brave.
Photos: Naomi van der Ploeg
Model: Me. “When I was Younger.”