“It’s okay to leave”, my friend says, nonchalantly, as she whacks on glittery pink eyeshadow, matching her pink, oversized coat. It’s okay to grow up, and abandon all the things you once loved. I stare wistfully into a cardboard box, filled with the residue of the girl I used to be…
Each inanimate object burrowed itself into the palm of my hands in a godforsaken way, leaving crayon shaped scars and nail polish stains, whilst at the same time partially resuscitating what had been dead in my childhood bedroom and on its walls for years.
“I know” is my riposte.
I drag the box onto my crossed legs, and look into its depths further. I notice a myriad of objects - Polaroid pictures; colouring books; disturbingly bright eyeshadow palettes; and a Barbie. I look at her, and she looks at me thinking; I bet she doesn’t even recognise me, yet she looks the same.
This toy, a doll, a Barbie, is the manifestation of the girl I cradle in my arms, with breathless tears,clinging onto my blood stained clothes and who I promise to, over and over again, that she will be okay, and that I will never allow anything bad to happen to her again.
I smile, and stroke Barbie’s hair back into place, with a slight giggle under my breath…
“I’ll look after her, I promise”.
“As you are me, and I am you” I snivel.
Yet, I wonder what she thinks of me now that I have become something so different. My hands are no longer covered in earth and pollen from my afternoon adventures in the garden, nor is my hair red or curly; and I can no longer tell you which species of dinosaurs are on the television when Jurassic Park is on Channel Four. Instead, I take my coffee black with three sugars; my hair is scorched straight with peroxide in hopes of sunshine simmers in August; and I pretend to be poised yet interesting at parties, when all I want to do is lay under the night sky and point out all the constellations to a stranger.
Eyes glazing, I glance around my room one more time. The posters sandwiched in bubble wrap, clothes crawling their way out of my oversized suitcase, and a collection of books stacked in multiple tote bags. I feel a lump growing in my throat - no matter how much I plea with Father Time, I cannot go back…so I must carry her within me, she is a fragile teenage girl with cuts and bruises that is accompanied by a sad gaze, and I love her more than I have loved anything.
“Are you ready?” I whimper, wiping away silent tears.
“Always” my friend replies.
I slowly turn my head round, and picture all my ghosts, who I once was. I smile, salt streams trickling down my cheeks and into my mouth.
“We are going to be okay, and I want you to know that everything is going to be alright.”
Photographer: Ellen Brown
Stylist: Immy Porter
Set Designer: Matt Lawrence
Models: Emily Emiru, Amy Conroy, Kamahl Miller, & Molly Biddulph
MUA: Hannah Busst
Assistants: Tasha Lee & Adam Billings
Social Media & Writer: Rebecca Jones
Studio: DCC Studios
Creative Direction: Michael Morgan & Emily Morgan
Ray Chu, GAYEON LEE, Bonfire the Label, Gel.mo, Jaded London, Bryony Whittingham, & Martha Wigley
PR & Rentals
POPPR, DyeLog PR, HURR Rental, & Selfridges
Urban Outfitters, Monki, Weekday, ASOS & Bershka