You Can Choose Your Friends

I haven't always been a good daughter. In my angsty teenage years, I stumbled around under the sway of cheap whisky, a formidable tangle of overactive hormones and over-plucked eyebrows.  Responsibility and autonomy came in floods in areas my parents knew I was ready for. I was encouraged to get a part-time job, to choose school subjects I was truly passionate about, to take driving lessons. It trickled down slowly elsewhere. I’m the oldest sibling, meaning I was the first of their children to ask permission to go to a house party where “my friend’s mum and dad will be upstairs and nobody’ll be drinking, I promise!”

Betty

Betty

A bright glow tugs Betty into consciousness and she feels her eyes open with slow reluctance. Her back aches and she realises she’s lying on a very uncomfortable and very solid surface. Still half asleep, she begins to notice a familiar smell: clinical, sterile, deathly. She breathes in and the air tastes like disinfectant. Am … Continue reading Betty

Brexit Means…

Brexit Means...

“Mum, ah want a Cheesestring.” “Eh, wit’s the magic word?” Chantelle barks at her daughter. Chloe looks at her mum with the kind of disdain only a hungry, petulant pre-teen can muster and says: “Please?” “Aye. Disnae matter anyway, we cannae afford cheese noo. Ye know that. We’ve no hud cheese in months.” “Why’d ye … Continue reading Brexit Means…

A Woman’s History

A Woman's History

A woman’s history is an ever-growing tree of countless leaves and branches. Its interlacing roots snake and stretch through the tender soil of firsts: first loves, first hopes, first failures, first heartbreaks. We exchange accounts of these firsts and the seconds and thirds that follow with the women around us — mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, … Continue reading A Woman’s History

Tae a Dobber

My husband laughs at a story I’ve just told, then pauses and says in his Canadian accent: “Wait — what’s a ‘roaster’?” I think about it. What is a roaster? It’s one of those words that has been ingrained in my memory for so long that whatever formal definition it once had — "noun (singular): … Continue reading Tae a Dobber

To Be a Girl

To Be a Girl

Don’t be too quiet, they won’t notice you. Don’t be too loud, you’ll draw attention to yourself. Don’t be too accommodating, they’ll think you’re a pushover. Don’t be too demanding, they’ll think you’re a bitch. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight or too short, they’ll see it as an invitation. Don’t wear clothes that … Continue reading To Be a Girl

Homesick

Homesick

Maybe you felt it during your first sleepover at your childhood friend's house: a dim twinge in your chest as your head buzzed with the rush of illicit, sugary snacks after midnight, squirrelled away from watchful, adult eyes in the recesses of your sleeping bag. Maybe you felt it when your parents went away for … Continue reading Homesick

A Suitcase / A Woman

Just like any other of my kind, I carry things inside me that you would be astonished by. Things that would disgust you, things that would perplex you, things that would amaze you. And — just like any other of my kind — I also carry things that will comfort you. These are the pieces you reach for when you are lonely or otherwise lacking, desperately digging through me until you find what you are searching for.