Strong Legs, Open Heart

The Barbie doll was blond, just like Jacqui (not her real name) who had been our friend.  And blond like the girl in Heathers who died after being tricked into drinking Drano. In the movie, that blond girl is found lying on her bed with blue lips, her hair spread out on a pillow. We’d all watched the movie obsessively at a sleepover and started styling ourselves as thirteen-year-old versions of the various Heathers. They were popular, beautiful and cruel; the villains. And yet, they were the ones we wanted to be like. Continue reading

Good to Everyone

Be good.

I’m sure I was told this as a child. Isn’t every child told to be good? And what does that mean? Don’t upset Mum and Dad. Don’t hit your brother. Don’t write on the walls. Don’t play with your food. Don’t pull the dog’s ears. Don’t pick the neighbour’s flowers. Don’t knock over the plants. It means behave yourself. But for children just learning to distinguish right from wrong, kindness and cruelty, not to mention the nuances of social norms and behaviour, being good really just means not rocking the boat. Continue reading