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Happy Springtime! The flowers are blooming , the days are getting that little bit longer, the British weather is improving (slightly), the world is shedding its winter skin and blossoming into blue skies. Everything is changing. We, as people, change just as much as the seasons—if not more; which is why I chose the theme for this issue to be ‘change’. Everyone can relate to change; everyone can remember when something changed for the better or for the worse and, as young people or teenagers, it seems that these changes are constant. Nothing is permanent in this state of adolescence, yet it feels like everything we do is going to last forever. Sometimes it feels like teenagedom is this little island where nothing matters and everything is just for now, and other times it feels like a fast lane to the future, where EVERY LITTLE THING you do now will impact your future life in some way. This can tear you apart for so long, until you realise that everything is going to change, including you. Do what you want to do now, don’t worry about regretting it because at some point it made you happy, so that makes it worth it (even if you do end up regretting that Justin Bieber tattoo). So I’m hoping that there will be something in this issue everyone can relate to in some way; whether it be changing your appearance, changing the way you see things, changing the way other people see things or changing your LIFE. Either way, I hope you enjoy this issue of Cherry, and thank you for being here.

PRETTY LIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 PRETTY LIES PLAYLIST. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 YES MAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 TEENAGE WASTELAND.COM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 CYCLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 HAIR, THERE, EVERYWHERE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 THE STARS ARE COMING OUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 BATHROOM GIRL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 ADVICE WITCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 IN THE SUBURBS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 AISLE 398.2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 JOURNALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 FEARING CHANGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 REBEL YELL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 CHANGING PATHS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 FEMME NATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

AS MANY GENDERS AS THERE ARE FLOWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 SACCHARINE STUPOR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 THE SWEET ESCAPE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 RAINBOW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

KIDS IN AMERICA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 GOLD DUST GIRL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 CHANGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 JACK BISHOP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 THE GARDEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93


Illustration and playlist by Beth


YES MAN Yesterday's got nothin' for me

Old pictures that I'll always see Time just fades the pages in my book of memories –Yesterdays, Guns N’ Roses Alright, let me start off with a notso-fun fact about me: I tend to take my favorite song lyrics or quotes from my favorite books and imagine I live the way that they describe. Sometimes I really do live that way, but sometimes those words are just an inspiration, something I aspire to. Another fact about me is that I am 18 and I crush on musicians that could as well be my fathers, and Axl Rose is the best, period. So it’s no surprise that the quote from Guns N’ Roses’ Yesterdays is a combination of words that makes my brain work like crazy. But it’s not a piece about music (well, not entirely) and it’s not about Axl Rose. It’s about the way my life has turned upside down and how you would never recognize the me I was just a few months ago.

new friends since I’d lost my old ones, I stopped talking to my best friend even though he meant the world to me, I discovered some terrible things about my father, I stopped going out (my record is spending two months at my house), I had to choose what I wanted to do in the future, I felt like nobody understood me and like I was all alone. It was only last year that I decided to tell someone (my mom) how I felt and started doing psychotherapy and seeing a shrink. And as much as I would love to tell that it’s enough, I can’t do that. If you don’t help yourself, no one else will. I decided to take fate into my own hands and one day I thought to myself that I would do everything that I didn’t want to do. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m talking about things I’ve been depressed ever since I was you don’t want to do because you feel like you’re above them all, like deep inside 12 years old. The year I turned 12 was you actually do want them and like you’re magical, except in my case it wasn’t a good thing, because suddenly everything scared of them. started falling apart and the world as I In Poland, which is where I live, when knew it just didn’t exist anymore. I wasn’t you turn 18, you officially become an the best student, I had trouble finding adult and you can do anything you want. 9

I never thought I would have another magical year, but I did. Here I am, 6 years later, trying to make this one better than ever. Here is a list of some things I managed to do during the last 4 months:

1. I drank alcohol for the first time ever. Surprise! It is possible to be a teenager and not drink alcohol. I was always that unusual kid who would be like, “I’m not like them, I’m better than they are.” But deep inside I kind of wanted to be like everybody else. It doesn’t mean you have to lose what makes you unique; it’s about finding yourself and doing you. I thought that by not drinking, people would see me as an individual who doesn’t need any substances to fit in. It doesn’t work that way. I don’t really like alcohol except for occasional glass of Jack Daniels or a little bit of vodka with hectoliters of juice, but drinking made me feel like I’m in control. I tasted it, I know how it makes me feel and now I have a choice: I may or may not drink at a party, because nowadays I know that alcohol, just like everything else, is for people… as long as you don’t overdo it.

2. I stopped caring about my grades. I am extremely ambitious and ever since I lost my ability to be “the best” (I used quotations because I realized that you can’t be the best at everything), I’ve been anxious about studying. I would get literally paralyzed by books and the thought of studying. If I can’t be better than

everybody else, why should I bother? I would do nothing at all and that would make me even more anxious. Then I decided that I don’t need to be the best. I can just try to do my best without comparing myself to others. Teachers have so many students that they won’t spend their days thinking about how you disappointed them, which I thought was all they did, and other students care about their own grades, so yours don’t matter to them. You may feel the pressure from your family, but remember that you don’t live for them. You live for yourself and you should focus on what keeps you sane. Nowadays, I’d rather go for a run or get a good night’s sleep instead of trying to memorize another history fact to get an A. If you don’t take care of yourself, it’ll be impossible for you to succeed at anything.

3. I talked to the best friend I told you about, after almost 3 years of not seeing him. Astrology is a funny thing because no matter how many things you read in your horoscope won’t come true, some things couldn’t be more relevant. I’m a Scorpio – I forgive, but never forget. Perhaps this is why I never forgot how mad I was at my best friend, how many words between us remained unsaid, how much I missed him and how much I hated and loved him at the same time. I told him he wasn’t there when I needed him the most and that there was never anyone whom I would trust more and… he apologized. I had hoped he’d say I’m cra-

zy, but instead he said he was sorry. And I believed. And yes, it is more difficult, trying to make up for the lost time and find forgiveness in your heart. But you know what? I don’t care. I got my best friend back.

4. I discovered people were waiting for me to open my eyes. I used to think that there was nobody out there willing to help me or just simply talk to me. Then I found out I had been thinking of myself as of someone better than others. I used to push people away so that they wouldn’t hurt me or leave me. I left them instead. I started with asking people questions and trying to become interested in what they were saying. And it worked. I opened my eyes and I noticed that it wasn’t them who were against me; it was me who was against them. They had been waiting for me to say, “I need you.” Now I go out almost every day, I meet new people and reach out to other students from my school, with whom I never even talked. And it’s great. Everybody has their own story and I’m willing to know them all.

5. I stopped depending on my mom. My parents got divorced when I was little.; it was always my mom and I. I love the fact that we’re so close together, that she’s my best friend and that we get along as if we were sisters, but there comes a time when you just need to become

independent. It wasn’t easy for me, because we used to do everything together. I never went out with my peers because I used to spend all my time with my mom. But guess what? Having secrets and not sharing everything with your mom (or anybody else) doesn’t mean you don’t love them or want to destroy your relationship. You just become your own person and while you experience new adventures, you get away for a while just to come back and become closer than before.

6. I spent a few days during my winter break in another town with my friends. I got my friends back and we went away for 4 days. I’d never been away with anyone, not to mention my peers. During the first night, I had a panic attack and decided to leave the next day. But then it dawned on me: it was me who thought I wouldn’t make it, everybody else believed in me. I stayed. And it was the best winter break ever and the memories I made there will stay with me for the rest of my life… well, at least until the next time.

7. I told a few people I sing. For most of my life, I’ve wanted to sing. My biggest dream is to move to Los Angeles, stay there and make music. I always thought I couldn’t sing. But since there’s nothing I love more, I kept on writing my own songs and recording them, along with covers. I never told anybody about my dreams be-

cause I was scared they would make fun of me. I am not the best singer, but look at Anthony Kiedis – he couldn’t sing so he rapped instead. And now he’s in the biggest band in the world, the guy is a legend. I started off by showing my closest friend my lyrics. She loved them. Then I sent her my cover of Lana Del Rey’s Blue Jeans. She loved it. And so did other people. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to perform in front of people or to put my songs on the Internet.

8. I translated a book and met amazing people. Everybody always asks me how I did that: “How did you manage to translate a book at 17? How did you get to meet Red Hot Chili Peppers/ Bumblefoot/some-other-artist?” The answer is simple. I did what everybody else always finds too dumb to do: I just asked. I got my first job, I translated Duff McKagan’s (let’s count how many times I will bring up something connected to Guns N’ Roses in this piece!) autobiography, It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) and I got to meet people I admire. It motivates me to fight for my dreams.

9. I went to Orlando, Florida and New York City. I tend to tell people that if you want something bad enough, you will make it happen. The question is: do you want it enough? If it hasn’t happened yet, you don’t. Wait for it, work for it, and never think of it as

of something impossible. Just never give up.

10. I decided to live my life the way I want. Do you know Taylor Swift’s 22? I remember I read something on the Internet which said that the words “I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22” were perhaps the most stupid lyric Taylor has ever written so far. I mean, what is it like to feel 22? Then I thought about it and I realized that I want to feel 18 now. I don’t want to act older or younger. I am 18 and I want to feel just that. And you can do too. Just watch Yes Man and conquer the world!

Words by Kasia. Photo by Beth.



The cycles in our lives may be identifiable. They come and they go, or they change consecutively, and although they are replaced, they do remain in our minds, if nowhere else. We, as the subjects and the prime witnesses, are changed along with these phases. As our lives move along, so do we. A big part of this is attributed to the people who we attach to each period, and those we leave behind. Today, I glimpsed a phase that is now behind me. It’s funny how some say that you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone, because I had not realized it was gone until I visited it. It was once monotony, something I took for granted and sometimes even complained about. Then one day, time passed and it was over. I had never gone back, until now. The change was not as drastic or heartwrenching as it may seem, even for someone as nostalgic as I am. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I realized I was leaving one cycle and beginning another until now.

In truth, they are different. This new phase has been a challenge, yet I believe that a push is necessary every once in a while. It has indeed allowed me to strengthen my own being, both morally and physically. I have met new people, and I have noticeably reinforced my other relationships. I have even visited new places and seen new things. On a whole, I am on a level that I was not on before.

But going back today, I have also realized all that was, and all that is not anymore. I saw those I had left behind, none of them friends or even acquaintances, but merely memorable faces. Faces that unconsciously took part in the formation of me as a growing brain, of me as a growing person. I was flooded with all that had occurred there over the course of three or four years, and everything that place meant to me.

While we left it and moved on, others remained and every week they were there, as constant as the fog of January mornings, not knowing what it would mean when it ended. Back then, it had been the people and the place that never changed, now the place always changes, and the people sometimes, but rarely, bring sta-

bility. I had known I was going into something different, but it was a given, almost necessary. Also, we were still the same, or so I thought, and we were all moving up together. Yet there was something sad about watching those who remained there, even though they were not a part of us. They were still a part of what we had lived, although for us it had been temporary, while they are not done living it.

When one cycle ends, a new phase begins. It’s what keeps us moving, and like snowballs going down a hill, we keep rolling forward. We can’t stop, but I don’t know why we would want to. This cycle now may be long or short, but I know it must end. What will be next? January 19, 2013

HAIR, THERE, EVERYWHERE Words by Phoebe, illustrations by Beth I will introduce myself to you by writing on a subject that affects me as a teenage girl on a daily basis. Hair. Why is it that, we as teenage girls feel the need to be plucked and waxed and shaven? Personally, though a nice smooth leg is lovely once in a while, I generally prefer a light fluffage on my calves. Does this in any way make me less feminine than someone who feels like a waxwork dummy? I don’t think so. However I respect a girl’s own right to decide what to do with her own body absolutely. What I reject to is the pressure we are put under to be a certain way. This pressure in itself is very hard to pinpoint though. It isn’t JUST the stereotype force fed to us by magazines, models and television but an underground appreciation of hairlessness from us and the people we want to impress. Therefore, it is very easy to place all the blame on the media, when in fact there must be something that comes from us for them to use it in such a way. In May 1915 Harper’s Bazaar ran an advert featuring a young model with both arms above her head with the first shaved armpit. Before this, women did not shave their armpits as, simply, they were not shown so there was no need. It was only with the introduction of sleeveless dresses that women started to


shave. In a modern representation surely this demonstrates to us our more relaxed approach to sex. Pubic hair used to only be seen by a husband or one partner and now that that is no longer the norm, the appreciation of hair has gone out the window. Is female hair seen as an object of intimacy? Arguably in a healthy relationship, a partner will accept you as you are. A need to be something that you are not can show a lack of trust and a fear of rejection or disgust. Therefore, as our number of sexual partners increases with generations (in the UK the national average of sexual partners is 7.7 for women- which has doubled in the last decade) our amount of hair is on the decrease. The correlation shows that people with less sexual partners are more likely to appreciate hair or have it. In history we have been desperate to remove hair for thousands of years; the Egyptians (male and female) were hairless from top to toe believing that hair was unhygienic and spread disease. Are we really going to revert back to ways of the Egyptians- who used crocodile dung as an ingredient for birth control? (TRUE!)


In a modern context however, most girls shave their legs and armpits. I’m not a hypocrite, so do I. I do not actively think about pleasing others, it’s a more selfish thing. I shave my legs and armpits to make MYSELF feel good. There’s nothing wrong with this and there’s nothing wrong with pleasing others. However, given the opportunity to go without shaving, I take it desperately and revel in my stubbly glory. As part of an experiment over the summer I shaved only one half of my leg from knee to toe. It was funny if not slightly repulsive at first; it was bizarre having half of my leg minutely warmer than the other. I persevered for a month and by the end was rather upset when the time came to tame the other half. I perversely quite enjoyed the synchronisation of the ratio of wild Amazon to mild British thicket on my shins. Once it was gone, my leg as smooth as silk, I felt a certain sense of loss as the toils of my experiment lay felled at the bottom of the bath. What had I lost by shaving? Nothing, I had gained something surely?

about it –it has been plaguing you for years-you have lost something. It was a part of you that you got rid of. Hair is the same thing. It is a part of you, and it is there for a reason, and you get rid of it. It makes you happy but regardless for me it shows my insecurity. With my month of half legged hairiness, by the time of fruition I had come to accept the hair. Therefore when the time came to get rid of it, it felt like a loss. To be able to appreciate your body hair shows a person’s acceptance of themselves and what we are all given. Therefore, to go without shaving or waxing or plucking is for me the ultimate sign of feminism and personal confidence, in my opinion. To be able to love your body so totally and be brave enough to know that others will too is commendable. It is something that I have not been able to do, but would love to. The perfect one-fingered-salute to female pressure.

I will finish off with my personal list of why body hair is good. I don’t want to force a hairy fist down your throat but merely want to show you that hair is not The question remained and I felt I had to unattractive. It is natural and a part of find some sort of answer. For many I am us as humans. My message would be to try sure, shaving may be a relief, arguably a and not shave for a while. Try it and form of escapism; but for me I do feel as see. Maybe you’ll come to the same conif I lose something. It is like if you clusion as me or gag and shave immediatehave a mole or some small part of your ly. Either way is good. body that irritates you and makes you embarrassed. You have grown up with something that you don’t like and you are given the opportunity to get rid of it. Boom. Mole gone. Though you are happy

1. We have hair on our heads. Surely we should have hair elsewhere too. 2. Pubic hair has a job to do. It protects against bacterial infection and skin abrasion. 3. Hair is a sign of becoming a woman. A rite of passage. By shaving we are inadvertently trying to mimic children’s bodies (This is weird). 4. It will grow back. You can shave forever, but you are fighting a losing battle. It’s like with plants, if you cut them they only grow back quicker. 5. It is warmer. And goose pimples are less obvious covered in a warming thick layer of hair. 6. In Greece you will be welcomed with open hairy arms! 7. There is a reason for snail trails; they are a path to the goods. Arguably they make the chase more exciting. How else will anyone find their way? 8. Body hair is sweat wicking. (Contrary to popular belief) 9. You can compare hair with male counterparts and plait leg hair in the moonlight. 10. Shaving/waxing/plucking takes forever! So time consuming. Eat a cake instead.

THE STARS ARE COMING OUT Bridgette talks LGBTQ+ and you The LGBT+ community has become a big deal in the media lately. As more and more states in the U.S. are recognizing marriage equality, and more stars are coming out, the LGBTQ+ community is everywhere you look. The problem with all of this is, people seem to think that just marriage equality is going to fix all of the issues, but just like how women getting the right to vote didn’t grant them equality, the marriage equality issue doesn’t fix everything either. It’s so great that marriage equality is coming to more states, but there’s also the issue of it not being legal in other countries, and even when it is legal, it doesn’t stop LGBTQ+ people from being murdered just for being who they are. It does mean more people in the area are tolerant, but it also doesn’t include transgender people. People are beginning to recognize that different sexualities are fine, but a lot of them are still terrible at recognizing gender issues. You can actually help change people’s ideas even if you feel completely helpless to change anything. You can sign petitions online, and even though it might not seem like your signature matters, it raises the count by one. Even one opinion can change things. Simply being supportive of your LGBTQ+ friends is also a great way to support the community, and using someone’s preferred pronouns even if you don’t completely understand. It’s important to respect who a person is.



thentic self is, but you’re probably wrong. Humans are socially determined bags of meat: we’re incredibly susceptible to peer pressure. Using social cues, scientists have tricked people into believing In my experience, people asking this question want to end their re- they got lost in a mall when they were seven, staying in a room while lationship, but they want someone it fills with smoke, and electroto absolve them of the sin of cuting someone to death. (No one breaking up. So lemme try to do actually died in the last one. The that for you. person the test subject was “shocking” was a scientist faking The human body completely replaces it. Still unsettling.) its cells every seven years. So the concept of there being one person Who you are in class is different that’s perf for you is inherently flawed, because you and your sweet- from who you are to your parents, ie are entirely different people in which is different from who you are less than a decade. That’s not even at the bar. Who anyone is at any mentioning the variable and situa- given moment is a complex formula of social cues, personal beliefs, tional nature of the self. and probably their zodiac sign.

Dear Advice Witch, how do I know when it’s time to break up?

OK, let’s mention the variable and situational nature of the self. To quote Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “You think you know. What’s to come. What you are. You haven’t even begun.” You may think you know who you are, who your intrinsic au-


What I’m trying to say is that people change. Sometimes people in a relationship change together, resettling like the stones in Machu Picchu that fit so perfectly together they don’t require cement to

stay up for hundreds of years. Sometimes they grow apart. You two might have been perfect together in the past, but past you is not you. Those people stayed together until they died. Now there are new people wearing the same faces, and they might need some time apart.

In my opinion, we put too much energy believing there’s one right way to do anything, or that there is one correct answer to any question. This is probably romantic comedy’s fault. Romcoms present an unambiguous world where one guy is right for one girl, and all other suitors are obvies terrible. (Queer and trans* people are sexless backup dancers in this world as well. Shitty world.)

On the BtVS spinoff Angel, the titular Angel said “if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.” Sure, true. Our actions are all that define us if we live in a world where no outside forces judge us. But -but!- I would also argue that if nothing we do

matters, then nothing we do matters. Neither breaking up nor staying together with any boo is a moral imperative. You’re not a bad feminist if you stay with someone even though you have doubts. You aren’t a selfish bitch if you bail on a relationship that has lots of good points.

The best advice I can give is this: if you’re thinking about breaking up, talk about it with your partner. Best case scenario, y’all squash the beef and things become better than ever. Worst case scenario, they aren’t thrown for a loop when you do break up with them. Transparency and communication are key in a relationship, even when it’s ending.

What are some good replies to people's judgmental remarks about hairy pits/legs? Like some awesome sarcastic nasty shit... or some informative eye-opening comebacks.. I

don't know, my usual "fuck me for having the old iOS, my you" will never get old, but phone won’t update. I'm curious what your favorites are. Margaret Atwood once said that a man’s biggest fear is that women will laugh at them, but a woman’s biggest fear is that a man will kill her. Bummer, right? But we can use the first part to our advantage. Make this dude’s biggest fear a reality and dismiss his opinions as adorable and trivial. Something like “It’s cute that you think I’d give a shit.” Or “babies figure out the world doesn’t revolve around them, what’s taking you so long?” Just something to make them feel small.

Of course this only works if it’s a dude that’s making the judgmental remarks. For ladies, just carry paperback copies of The Beauty Myth As far as I know the only way to by Naomi Wolf to hand out. really bust a ghost is to fulfil their earthy business and provide catharsis, ala the end of Casper. This is super hard to do if you Advice Witch Talkin’: Yester- don’t know what dead guy you’re dealing with. So one option is to day I got a completely ingo Veronica Mars on they ass and sane, incredible text from a figure out who your ghost is and number I don’t recognize. Af- what they’re all about. Otherwise, you’re looking more at containment ter repeated entreaties of “new phone who dis,” it still than complete eradication.

remains a mystery. Here’s a screengrab to prove it’s re- We can do this two ways: the Nice al. Please don’t make fun of Way or the Dickish Way. As with all

mystical whatnot, what you put out in the universe will come back to you, blah blah blah. So I’d recommend trying the nice way first.

Nice Way: Find your center of ghostly activity. A cold spot, or wherever the walls bleed most, idk. Very calmly explain that, hey ghost, ur dead, ur annoying af. Sort of a ghostervention, explain how their behavior is affecting you negatively and maybe it’s time to cut the shit. Respectfully. You live here too, and this is communal space, so stop breaking plates and stacking furniture in the middle of the room. If that doesn’t work it’s time to move on to the...

Dickish Way: The Ancient Greeks would bind the ghosts of murder victims to the spot they died. By driving an iron spike into the blood stain, they would keep a vengeful ghost from following the murderer around and generally getting up to some shenanigans. Even though this ghost is probs long dead, we can still work a similar binding spell.

Pick a small, out of the way room that you won’t mind giving to the ghost. You’re going to divide up territory like bad sitcom roommates. This is your space, this is mine. A supply closet, for example, or the executive washroom if you want to mix some class warfare into

your spellcraft. Sprinkle salt in the corners of every other room, and light some sage in the middle of those rooms. This will flush the ghost out like a rabbit, forcing it into the executive washroom.

Next you’re gonna have to spill some blood. (I would not recommend using your own, as this could cause quantum entanglement or something. If you’re vegan, or just not comfortable with leaving blood splotches to fester, might I suggest corn syrup and red food coloring?) Pour out the blood, and explain to the ghost that this is their blood. Ghosts are so dumb they don’t even know they’re dead, so they will probably fall for your ruse. Hammer a nail or pin or thumbtack into the blood and boom! Ghost busted.

If you are in a sticky situation, you can send your questions to the Advice Witch at: ask





For months on end I desperately resisted change. I felt the universe in which I had been swaddled and coddled slowly release me. And just like that it slipped away beyond my grasp. When I was 16 the world picked me up and placed me on a pedestal, ravishing me with bountiful gifts of love, sex, and drugs. I was welcomed into an appealing world that I hadn’t even realized I desired when an undeniably awkward but also undeniably gorgeous boy had chosen me to be his crush. He was tall, blue-eyed, blonde-haired, and he played soccer and wore green Vans. Initially, I was completely indifferent to this boy. Having already been fixated on his more outgoing friend, with whom I’d stumbled through early attempts at smoking weed, I was still hoping that his friend would return my affections. So I’ll admit, my motives for flirting with this blue eyed and blond haired beauty weren’t entirely honorable. I adored his friends and saw the relationship as a means to get close to these adolescent cuties. And the boy was eager to call me his girlfriend right from the get-go, so I blushed at the teasing and attention I received from his friends in response. But how could I predict teenage infatuation. I was merely an A-cupped, glasses-wearing artist with an athletic “babe” status boyfriend. And I didn’t think I would grow to feel anything for him but the apparent result of drunken kisses, unsuccessful blow-jobs, and late night Game of Thrones marathons was love. We were very close to opposites, he took math and science classes and I took art and English; he was very quiet and soft spoken, whereas I was constantly filling up silence with mindless chatter. And one day when we were sitting at the floor of my attic, leaning over our homework and playing footsie, he said, “We’re like Ying and


Yang,” trying to appeal to my fixation on East-Asian philosophy without a doubt, and I felt my dedication to our high school romance deepen. I was in love with him, in love with my friends, in love with his friends, and in love with life. We’d text about our weekend plans and his friends and my friends would pool our money together and buy thirties of Keystone Light beers, drinking them in my attic or another friend’s basement and feel absolutely invincible. I was a light weight, and apparently a “sort of endearing” drunk. It was one of my first few experiences with this breed of intoxication, and after one and a half beers it would hit me, and I’d be petting my boyfriend’s sweet blonde hair, clinging on to him throughout each drunken night, and basking in the euphoria of my altered mind, being surrounded by people I thought would love me for as close to forever as possible. We’d take selfies and Instagram them, blurring out the beers on our Facebook albums so we wouldn’t get in trouble with our family or risk our image in the eyes of potential colleges. And at school I’d always have someone to talk to and my boyfriend and his friends would fight about who was driving me home from school because I was too lazy to get a license myself. But this supposedly permanent stage of bliss ended. All in all it lasted roughly four months, and then out of the blue and mid-marathon of American Horror Story season 1, my boyfriend told me we needed to talk. I was absolutely floored when he broke up with me, having not prepared myself for it at all, having had no suspicion or sense that he had wanted to break up with me. And that moment, when he made his move to end our adolescent romance, was when I began my desperate fight to stop the change. “We can still be friends” “You can still come over for Game of Thrones” “We can still cuddle” “I can still suck your dick” I forced him to reluctantly agree with my pro-


posals, demeaning my own self, absolutely unwilling lowed myself to shift from someone terrified of to let him go, believing that this was just mistake spending time alone to realizing at the end of the and within a few days he’d realize how much he day I know how to make myself happy. I took long needed me. It was my constant craving for what walks and went abroad and started complicated art once was which pushed everything away. Slowly, his projects and did my makeup everyday and even got friends and I stopped spending time together as a a job. group, and I stopped getting invited to their parties, As thrilling as it is to find pasand my own friends stopped talking to me because sion within another person, or all I could talk about was him. He and I were within a clique of friends, or still ‘trying to be friends’ but eventually within the warm Keystone Light he stopped coming over, and he stopbeers you down at parties, it is ped answering my texts, and he significantly more started saying rude things aborewarding to find ut me to his friends who had passion within once been my friends. This yourself. Y o u nee d abrupt change in my life to keep evolving as a persent me into a whirlwind of son; you can’t just cling to anxiety and depression, and I memories and try to recreate felt very scared at how quickly them. things could go from perfect to painful. It took me roughly a “So we beat on, boats against the year to nurse my wounds, during current, borne back ceaselessly into the which I continued to fight for past.” that past, to text my ex and -- F. Scott Fitzgerald text his friends, to end up at parties that he was at too. And I leave you with this quote from the Great that is how the healing process Gatsby, an iconic novel that speaks to the human tends to play out, especially if condition. A condition of which, as a result of my you end up stuck in the denial slow-paced acceptance of change, I now have a betphase as I did. My refusal to acter understanding. cept these changes stripped me of my identity. I gave up playing the piano and I removed Words by Olivia, collage by Pam my painting easel from my bedroom. My time became consumed of tears, pacing around my room, and lengthy unanswered texts. The world changed around me and I stayed inside, staring at old photographs and Arizona Iced Tea cans my ex and I had shared. I believe, in hindsight, it is important to embrace change. Because change came for me, and not all of it was bad. Once I allowed myself back into the world, emerged from my bout of depression, I al-


CHANGING PATHS What I did when school became too much to handle By Beth At some point, on a dread-filled weekday morning, most of us have contemplated the likelihood of a real life Ferris Bueller situation where your parents will be more gullible than usual, where your faking sick acting will be Academy Award winning, where you can relax in the satisfaction of having the whole day to do anything but go to school. These days happen rarely when we want them to, and more often than we’d like we are forced to drag ourselves out of bed and face school. Not everyone feels like this, but for me, it was every day. School became increasingly difficult during secondary school, but throughout it all I generally didn’t mind going; I was working towards some good grades, I had friends, I was on top of my work. It wasn’t until I went to sixth form college that it became too difficult. Every morning was the same: wake up, make excuses to my dad as to why I should stay home, panic, stop crying in time to get ready to go. It got to the point where I was going to college about once a week. The thought of staying for the whole day made me ill, so I skipped lessons to come home. I had so much work to do, how did everyone else do it? I was at least 4 weeks behind on my art class, Philosophy class made no sense to me anymore


after I’d missed so many lessons, so I had to drop it, and my attendance was so poor it was damaging my future at the college. How were all my friends so relaxed? How did they get up and go to every single lesson? How could they stomach their food whilst my stomach was clenched in a constant state of tension? I went to the doctors in November. That was when I realised I was suffering from depression and anxiety. I realised that depression and anxiety work against each other in a torturous cycle. I was too depressed to get out of bed in the

morning, so I missed college. Then I would get nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up in the next lesson and look like an idiot and everyone would be staring at me and laughing at me, so I wouldn’t go the next day. Doing my homework wasn’t even an option in my depression, so I wouldn’t do it. Then I’d be scared that my teacher would shout at me so I wouldn’t go the next day. Repeat Monday through Friday.

unhappy or stressed or nervous to talk to someone. My problems got so much worse because I decided to keep them to myself, because I thought I could solve it all myself. I look back now and see that contemplating whether to do my art coursework or kill myself is not normal, that my wishes to be hit by a car on my way to college were not healthy things to be wishing on. If you’re feeling remotely like this, or if you I saw a psychiatrist and started going to therapy just need someone to talk to, you can go to your and taking medication. Things didn’t get better school nurse, a trusted teacher, a doctor, a counsellor, your parents or any other adult relaimmediately, of course they didn’t – these things take time, but I wanted to stay in college tive, or start seeing a therapist. I cannot express how helpful it is to just talk. despite everything. One evening in a session with my therapist, she asked me for what Don’t feel pressured to stay on this constant seemed the millionth time if I should leave col- track of education just because everyone else is, lege. She and my dad thought it would be best, or because your parents want you to, or because but I didn’t see why I couldn’t just work through you think you won’t have a future without it – this and things would be ok eventually. In this your health comes first. Besides, if you do deone particular session, my therapist told me she cide to leave education, it’s not like you have to was considering admitting me as an inpatient in leave forever. You can still go back and take the Adolescent Unit for a while. I didn’t believe adult education classes, or restart the academic her; I didn’t need to be institutionalised, the year, or wait and complete your education in people in there had it way worse than me. My another place. Next week I’m going for an intertherapist spoke to my dad about this, and after- view about starting at an adult community colwards we sat in the car, in the dark, in the silege – something I didn’t think I would ever be lence. My dad told me I shouldn’t go to college able to do. I am comfortable in the knowledge anymore. Up until then, he had respected my that I can continue my education when I please, decision to stay in college even though I was and if I choose not to, it’s not the end of the hanging on by a thread, but I wasn’t in any state world. to be making decisions at this point. What followed was a month of barely leaving the house, just about keeping myself together enough to last the day, and guilt. So much guilt. I was weak; I had let some stupid little illness get in the way of my future. Did I even have a future? What was I supposed to do with my life without education? I’ve been recovering for well over a year now, and I still sometimes feel this guilt. Then I remember: education isn’t for everyone. Different people take different paths. Not everyone fits on this track of school – college – university; some people go different ways and that doesn’t mean one will be more successful than the other. So if you’re feeling like the stress of education is too much, do what is beneficial to your health. In a stressed out, depressed state you won’t be able to figure this out for yourself, so I strongly encourage anyone who is feeling


Models: Molly Model, Fatimah Amla, Jordan Isaacs , Ava Kuslansky, and Sarah Calaman





We asked you to send in your first period stories and we were not disappointed I feel as if there’s a time where every preteen girl is obsessed with when she’ll get her period, and the fire is only fuelled by that obligatory talk that your fifth grade class has. You know, the one where they separate girls and guys, show you an outdated video, hand out sanitary products and pressure you to ask questions in front of your classmates. Luckily for me, my mom was a nurse and taught me the details years before.

The first time I got my period was two days before Christmas. It was a particularly stressful day because my mom was far from done Christmas shopping, so she dragged me and my brother to the citadel outlets in LA. The whole time we were there she was screaming and yelling and my brother and i were beyond grumpy. For some reason, my mom ended up deciding to take the long way home which included going over a hill. We were almost over it, much to my relief, when this woman in a pickup truck Although I knew the basics, I still wanted to know everything. I would read my tattered copy rear ended us. I didn't know it then, but when of The Care and Keeping of You and check the she hit us I got my period. The whole time I just website constantly. In fact, it was sat there wondering if I had peed my pants while my mom and this lady screamed at each a humid August day when I was checking the other. We eventually got home and I ran to the advice column on the site, “Ask bathroom. I looked down and there was blood Iris” (coincidence? More like fate, thought fifth everywhere, on my legs and on my underwear. grade me), when I felt like I had just peed my pants. I went to check and sure enough, it had I was fortunate enough to have a librarian for a mom so I had read up on periods beforehand. begun. It was the summer of 2009, and that When I came out of the bathroom, I told my moment was the only significant thing to me mom and my grandma what had happened and besides Michael Jackson’s death, getting my first pair of skinny jeans, and my last days be- they kept yelling ‘congrats’, 'now you're a woman' and 'it was all thanks to that lady that hit fore starting middle school. us'. I didn't really care though, I just wanted to As a first generation American with Togolese lay in bed and watch The Series of Unfortunate parents, I had feared my mom finding out and Events with my brother. And that is how I got throwing me some blatantly foreign you’re-amy period at age 11 two days before Christmas woman-now ceremony of some sort (and I im- because a lady rear ended my mom's car. agined some Amazonian-like womanly quest -x would be involved). So I managed to keep it a secret for 3 months, until I woke up covered in my own blood and my five year old sister prac- It was January 1st, 2007. I was eleven years tically screamed bloody murder as she woke up old. And I would soon discover a wet brown next to me. Fortunately, my mom only scolded splotch that had soaked through my underme in Ewe for about an hour, but to this day, pants. she doesn’t know that I kept it a secret from her at first. Looking back, I have no clue how I stole I told my mum in our car, with an inexplicable so many of her pads without her realizing, but sense of pride. She immediately took me back I’m sure she did. Moms know just about every- into our unit, handing me an unwrapped sanitary pad, along with overbearing words that thing. were repeated several times for effect: “From - Iris now on, you MUST be careful around boys”.


ER THE FIRST TIME? Sometimes, you’ll hear of girls celebrating their periods with the older women in their lives. This is not one of those stories. When I had told my mother, her face had fallen; the day had suddenly turned grim and serious. I even remember the weather as sinister. In my memory, there were storm clouds lining the sky as we sat in our fittingly maroon Mitsubishi wagon. Everything in my mind was in tones of red, brown and grey. My menstruating was clearly a significant event. To my mother, it was a burden. To me, the fact that I was supposed to go about with my normal life while I was exerting out what felt like litres of blood was just unbelievable. This would happen to me every month for the next 40 years, which at the time felt close to infinite. It dawned on me that nothing would ever be the same.

came back home, I went to bed (after some more flushed underpants). The next morning I told only my mum that I had got my period. She gave me tampons - she said she was already prepared for this. -x

It was the morning after I stayed round a friend’s house and I realised I’d gotten my period for the first time when I went to the toilet just before we started watching ‘Clueless.’ I sat in a really awkward and uncomfortable position throughout the whole film because I wasn’t sure what to do. Now the part when Cher says “I was riding the crimson wave” always reminds me of that day. When my mum picked me up we went to the shops and I asked if I could get a chocolate bar and she said no. It wasn’t until later that day that I told her I’d gotten my period for the first time and her response was, “oh, that’s why you wanted chocolate so badly.” :’) I didn’t get my period again for a really long time and, weirdly enough, the second time was at the same friend’s house as the first time.

This was the day my mother started to panic if ever I was to be in a situation where I was near boys or men without women nearby. It was the day that I discovered Libra had fun facts on the back of their pads. And it was the day that I had a strange sense of knowing. My childhood, if it still existed, had a limited number of days left in its reach. I was only eleven years old, and yet I felt like I had aged beyond that of everything - Sophie around me. - Sarah

I got my first period when I visited my halfbrother with my father. I was 12 years old. It was in the middle of the night at our hotel room. I woke up from it and tapped into the bathroom. I flushed my underpants down the toilet, took out a new one out of my suitcase (without waking up my father!), put them on, and slipped back into the bed. I repeated this a few times until it was breakfast time. The rest of the day I walked around with toilet paper in my underpants. At the airport shop, on our way back, I creeped around the tampon shelf. We

Sometimes, no matter how much you know about certain situations, they scare you to death. I turned 18 a few months ago and even though I’ve learned that it’s not having your tattoo done that hurts (it’s all about your thoughts haunting you before the day when you decide to actually do it), I am still terrified when it comes to school exams and difficult conversations and other stuff awaiting me. I generally panic and stress over things a lot, so you can only imagine how I felt at the age of 12 while hanging out with my friends at my house and deciding I may have just gotten my first period. I used one of

the sanitary napkins given to me by a nice lady who came to our school and had this lecture for girls to prepare us for the day IT comes. I tried to act like a grown-up, keep it cool and behave in a normal way, but deep inside I was dying: why is my blood brown? Shouldn’t it be red? Shouldn’t I be literally losing hectoliters of blood instead of those small amounts on the sanitary napkin? What if there’s something wrong with my vagina? What I didn't know then was that menstrual blood is not always blood coloured (I know, right?). Anyway, it lasted for

less than a day so I never told my mom about it. After a few months my whole school went to a park in our city to run a charity marathon. I was wearing short shorts and flirting with boys. When I came home, I noticed that my grey shorts turned into red shorts. That I told my mom about. And this time it lasted for a little bit longer. I still laugh at myself for this, though – just imagine a young girl flirting with boys not knowing that there’s a huge bloodstain on her shorts! I was such a romantic kid. - Kasia

Rainbow By Victoria I can’t. Like a melting ice cube, It keeps slipping away.

Green are the trees, And here you’ve been. Weeping like a willow With me at your trunk All along. Everything I’ve known. The sky’s been blue, The bricks in your heart are red With the pride in your belly, And the purple lump in Your throat. How could I have known? How could I have not? I should have seen That the sky has not been blue For a while now.

Tonight, It begins in red, Then the orange and the yellow Follow with greens and blues. But purple, Tonight the sky ends in purple. November 19, 2012




As humans, we’ve all dealt with change every day of our lives. From day one we’ve constantly been evolving and will continue evolving until the day our bodies parish. Change occurs within us and around us. Change is visible and unseen. Change is inevitable, and will continue on even after the human race vanishes into oblivion. Forever we will know nothing but change. It’s a bewildering concept to grasp, and often quite frightening as well. People often fear change. It’s often the case that one trivial aspect of our lives will change and the result is irreversible and somehow manages to shift our lives forever. Change is often thought of in a bitter manner. Change

is the annoyance of never knowing when to carry an umbrella. Change is why we lose our loved ones. Change is what forces us to develop diseases and live below the poverty line without an ounce of food in sight. But change is why the exquisite flower blossoms. Change is what turns the lowly caterpillar into a captivating butterfly. Change is why we grow into the phenomenal and incomprehensibly astounding people that we are.

By Issabella 89




THE GARDEN By Fauve Leonella I’m sitting curled up like a cat on my nan’s

sofa, half hidden behind a mountain of mix matched cushions stroking Lucy, her chubby tabby. It’s been so long since Dad and I last came up here to visit Nan. Everyone’s been so busy and our routines changed so much we lost it as the years flew by. The first half of today was everyone catching up on each other’s lives, attempting to cram months into a few sentences. Nan’s adventures in Wales, how my parents evening went at college, how Dad’s band is going, my Uncles new job as a primary school’s caretaker. Cup after cup of tea has been consumed happily, Sunday lunch eaten greedily. Then we all started to blow the dust of the past and reminisce; re-tell old stories, the photos and old toys came back out. Some things I had remembered. Taking over the middle of the lounge with my Lego constructions, putting dish cloths over the cat when she slept as a form of blanket and the pop up tent with the zip door and Velcro flaps. Some things I had forgotten too. Like the never ending game of tag between my Uncle and I and my obsession with the animated film on video, ‘The Last Unicorn’. A strange film to like so much, not sure whether to be embarrassed by or it proud; it’s quite a rare film. It is a weird sensation, thinking back on old memories. It’s like greeting warmly an old friend that you bumped into on the street. You’re both happy and smile, even laugh but both soon realise that whatever was between you is lost, so you have to say goodbye and move on. It’s nice to remember a memory, you feel all warm inside but it’s sad that you can never go back and relive that moment; its bitter sweet, a melancholic action. I can’t tell yet if I like growing older or not. You say goodbye


to your childhood with a heavy heart but look forward with optimism at the new possibilities that life opens up to you. I know I’m only a teenager and shouldn’t really be old enough to be pondering such matters, but I seem oddly aware of it all. How our perceptions change, ******************************* The smothering combination of the central heating and the fire on full has made me drowsy. It’s sent me into that peculiar place between being awake and asleep where you are both yet neither. I no longer know if I’m daydreaming or dreaming but it doesn’t seem to matter as I shift to lay my head on a pink fluffy cushion balanced on the arm of the sofa. Images swirl round behind my closed eyelids, half memory, half dream of childish games in a magical garden. A rainbow of colours, a pop-up tent that was a house with strange Velcro flaps and endless corridors, the tree stump in the front lawn that is now a trapdoor into another realm filled with adventure and a mystery to be solved. Inside the tree stump trapdoor is a giant slide which lands me right into the middle of the battle, I’m the leader; an Elf, a Witch, a Time Lord. I’m riding my pure white unicorn, who can talk to me, as she’s my assistant and closest friend. Her mane and tail, which are long, thick and golden as the sun, are billowing in the wind as we race through the thick dark forest to save our friends from mortal peril. The trees leer over us menacingly as fog descends around as night falls. The air is icy, our breath making patterns in the air before us. But we are not afraid. We decide to fly over the heads of the trees, her wings made from smooth white feathers, like a doves, guided by moon light. We save our friends at the very last minute after a dramatic sword fight with my sworn enemy, the Pirate King. We fight on the edge of a mountain. The white rocky cliffs looking

over a raging blue sea. I can feel the adrenaline pump through my veins though I do not sweat nor bleed for long, my wounds magically heal though I do not think much about it. I chain the fiend up in dungeon of my castle. We celebrate with a masked ball. My fiery hair is curled and my pale purple floor length dress is covered with intricate lace patterns. My mask covers my eyes, ties up at the back of my head and is covered in blue and purple gems and feathers. The music is loud and the mood merry as we all dance enthusiastically, laughing loudly and smiling till our faces ache. A tall mysterious figure in a black and white suit and simple black velvet mask strolls confidently up to me and whisks me into a dance without even introducing himself. I was about to remark on his strange manner when he starts to lick my face. I wake up with a start, the side of my cheek wet and slimy. Oh Lucy. I push her away gently, off my shoulder, removing her rough tongue from my face. I feel groggy and disorientated. I sit up slowly, rubbing sleep out of my eyes and stretch out my legs as pins and needles spread down from my thighs into my toes. My feet get tangled in a black and white spotty blanket which was not draped over me before. I look round the room as I kick off the blanket and straighten up my twisted clothes. My Dad’s slouched in the corner in the armchair reading a magazine, he’s sat there like that for so many years that the cushions have moulded to his shape. I tried to steal the chair from him once before but it felt weird and lumpy so I soon moved back into my usual corner of the sofa. Nan is fast asleep, snoring lightly, in her armchair next to me, her head rolled to one side, her clothes bunched up and wispy black hair sat on top of her head like a birds nest. No idea where my Uncle’s wandered off to. Isn’t it funny how we have our own seats and get so protective and possessive over them? Is it this need for familiarity that drives us into cap-

turing and naming a particular seat as our own? To the point that if someone sits in ‘our seat’ we will threaten them or sit on top of them. And why do we get such perverse pleasures from successfully stealing someone’s seat anyway? A mad scramble for power or superiority over others I bet. I really need to walk around and get rid of these damn pins and needles….

“Where you off to?” Dads muffled questions sounds from behind his music magazine “A walk round the garden, my legs gone numb” I answer as I stand up uncertainly, my legs feel weird and unstable. “Don’t get lost” “I’ll try my best” I grab my shoes from the porch and sit on the stairs. I don’t bother lacing them; instead I tuck the laces inside. My nan’s back garden was always an enchanting place for me as a child, full of wonder, colour and adventure. All the great fairy tales are set in the grand outdoors. Random bits of my dream come back to me. Huh. I haven’t had a dream like that in years. At one point adventure dreams consumed my nights, most nights if I wasn’t at Hogwarts I was in Middle Earth. I loved to read, still do, and this enchanting back garden was where I could create my own fairy tales, re-enact my dreams. The place sent my imagination wild as everything appeared so exotic to my innocent eyes, with so many nameless dazzling plants in all the colours of the rainbow. I’ve shut the kitchen door behind me and am strolling around the garden, remembering what it used to feel like, trying to regain the magic. I haven’t been out here in years, it feels a lot smaller and shorter. My legs feel better already but I carry on and go over to the fat old oak tree at the back, by the tall plain wooden fence. I stroke its thick rough bark fondly, like greeting an old friend. I remember one year the tree housed so many

caterpillars you couldn’t see the bark and it seemed like every leaf had at least one green little feller on. It always seemed taller than a mountain, as if the leaves were trying to touch the sky, even now it looks tall. The back of my neck would twinge as my eyes attempted to climb to the very top of the tree, but it was never any good. My head would go light as air and the world went dizzy as my legs gave out and I’d find myself sitting on the dry grass. I would simply submit and lie on my back, finally able to see the top of the tree. Its rich green leaves spread out in a wide circle, like a great umbrella against a sea blue sky. The air used to buzz with the sound of birds chirping contently and the low murmurations of busy insects moving around about my head. The tantalizing smell of grass and flowers filled my nostrils as I breathed in the smell of freedom. The grass always felt sharp, but I didn’t mind as it was so relaxing to lay on it, listening to nature and smelling Sunday dinner cook, the smell of the luscious meat browning, the gravy stewing and potatoes roasting. I replicate this by lying down on my back but it’s lumpy and uncomfortable, the sky is a boring grey and I can’t hear anything interesting. I feel silly and awkward so I get back up clumsily. I decide to walk over to the berry bushes next door to the tree. I used to love these! They sit in a neat line at the back of the kitchen, next to the oak tree, like a line of crayons. They are spindly things, lined on either side by the concrete path. These faithful bushes never failed to fill their spiky branches with small juicy berries every spring. The soft squidgy raspberries never fell from favour, as they were the largest berry and the most moreish. The velvety bumpy surface tickled my tongue; it always felt furry to me. Then there were these strange small red ones that had a shiny veiny coat. They were bitter to eat, the seeds more prominent and so juicy that it always ran across my snow white fingers tainting

them blood red. They weren’t the tastiest, nothing like the raspberries, but it felt like a shame to waste them. I now know they are a type of currant. I kneel down and search for a berry, but the few that are there all looked shrivelled, so I leave it. The bushes look dead now, so I walk off down the path, past the crabapple tree. I forgot to watch where I put my feet so consequently I end up treading on the soft odd looking apples, as I always did, feeling it squelch under my foot, like accidently treading on a slug. I suppose sometimes we never learn. I never understood the purpose of this tree, we never used the apples for anything, they tasted weird. I’m sure this garden was better kept and brighter. I carry on along the grey cracked stone path towards a plant that kept me fixated for years. I looked them up; they’re called Red Hot Poker Plants and they still fascinate me now. I’ve still never seem them, or anything like them anywhere else. They were taller than me for a long time and are rubbery to touch. They look like blunted blood tipped spears, as the colour faded from vivid red, into sunshine yellow, down the flower part of the plan, ending in a thin ring of pale green at its base. The head was made up of layers of long thin flowers, creating this spear shape but had a flat top with a tall thick brown stem. They grow in bunches out of a green bush of thick green leaves, making them look even more bizarre. They still look like something from an alien planet in Doctor Who. Directly next to them is one of the strangest things that captivated me as a child. A narrow corridor between next doors fence and the garage. This narrow gap that wound around the back and side of garage to the front drive endlessly amused me. It felt so secretive and special. In all the great mysteries there’s a secret passage that only the main character knew about. In my imagination it led to numerous wondrous plac-

es; a labyrinth with a lost child in the centre, a forest within a wardrobe, the Quidditch pitch. Even the wall of the garage itself was unusual. It looked to be made from many smooth stones and pebbles, a collage of neutral colours. It reminded me of the numerous weekends spent collecting interesting shells in Wales. I retrace my steps, walking leisurely down the path and round the corner running my hand across the wall. I had memorised every curve, dip, the sandy texture, merely from repetition. Until it cut me. Like it just did. Some were rougher to touch than others but every time that one would cut my delicate fingertip and draw blood. Neither the pain nor shock ever dulled, no matter how many times I lost myself to thought and repeated the action, slicing open yet another tiny finger. Automatically I go to suck my finger tip then realise it’s not bleeding, they must have toughened up. Funny how that magical corridor seems to have shrunk as the years had marched relentlessly forward. I remember it being much wider, I had to walk down it practically sideways like a crab.

his magazine, the same way he’s been reading for a century. “Eh, it kinda depressed me actually.” I shrug my shoulders apathetically. “A garden depressed you?” he isn’t taking me seriously, I can hear the smile in his voice. “I just remember it being…..better.” “Oh. Well, don’t let Nan catch you saying that, she’ll make you cut the lawn with nail scissors” I chuckle and glance across to the chair next to me, it’s empty. Well, apart from the grey and black fluff ball curled up and purring contently in the middle of the cushion. “Talking from past experience?” I retort quickly making him laugh.

“Yep, had to do it every Sunday for a month” We laugh at each other before going back to our separate things; I’d picked up my book from earlier off the floor. I feel better already, more back to my positive self. I can always trust in my Dad to cheer me up and It’s cold outside, so I let myself back in via be silly with me. He gives me hope without the front door and head back into the warm even knowing it. Hope that becoming an of the lounge, kicking my shoes off in the adult isn’t all about maturity and being senhallway. I slump onto sofa, pulling the spotsible and serious all the time. ty blanket up round my shoulders, feeling utterly deflated. It looked tiny and overgrown. The plants dull, the tree smaller, the berry bushes looked dead. It was boring. What had fascinated me for so long? Where had the magic gone? Surely the garden has changed? Nan must have grown too old to prune it. But deep down I know the truth; I’ve grown up. I just don’t see it in the same way anymore. I still love nature though; maybe I need something bigger to inspire me, like a wood or maybe somewhere new. Surely that sense of amazement and fascination hasn’t been lost forever, right? “Have fun?” Dad chirps from over the top of





The second issue of Cherry, a feminist/art/photography/everything zine

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