As a kid I was always being told that I needed to act more like a young lady and stop following my older brother into trouble all the time. I was never very interested in any of the things my older sister was into, such as wearing nice pink dresses and making tea parties in the garden, in fact I was more the kid who would ruin those by spraying her and her friends with the hose and end up in my room after a beating from either of my parents (at the time I was pretty sure that it was worth it for how funny this game was). I was pretty secure about who I was in those early years, even with the constant torments from girls at school about how I always hung out with the boys (who apparently had cooties of some description) but it was pretty evident that my family, particularly the Women in my family, were not at all okay with who I was and my behaviour was not acceptable for a young girl.

As I got older my Mum would constantly tell me things like that girls need to weigh themselves everyday, need to know how to cook, need to know how to sew. And if a girl didn’t know how to do these things? Well, what would people think of them! I didn’t really get what she meant by that until I was about 8 and she washed my mouth out with soap for calling my brother a lesbian, obviously having heard the word somewhere in a negative way and having no idea what it meant.

I started to hate my body, especially as it developed because that just caused more torments from my mother and more pressure to act a whole lot older than I was (I also hit puberty pretty early). I got my first period when I was 11, just after I was raped for the first time, and the combination of both made me feel very insecure about being a young woman. I didn’t want men looking at me, and I didn’t want women telling me what I should be doing so that more men would look at me. I never fit into my mum’s ideal of who I was supposed to be (thankfully), although admittedly I did try. It has only really been the last few years that I have felt really secure about being a Woman, it took a lot of getting here, and most of that was taking back my body after abuse, and also meeting more Women who are very secure about who they are.