- // no.01
- // no.02
- // no.03
- // no.04
- // no.05
- // no.06
- // no.08
- // no.09
- Mary & Lily
By TashaAs a rebel-from-birth/atheist/mild anarchist, my life has always had me walking in the opposite direction from most people. I was different from my friends at school, oddly so. I specifically shunned the mainstream popular culture and general hobbies and interests they followed together. In retrospect, I wonder why I was in that group at all. This led me to believe that I was weird and different, and my schoolmates didn't shy away from bullying me to remind me.
I used to hate seeing the scars on my body. And I hated them even more because I inflicted them myself. For many years I poured all of my pain and my insecurities and my frustration into what are now faint white marks, cutting myself open when things felt too painful, or simply too much.
When the world ground to a halt mid-March 2020, I had mixed feelings. Sure, the world was going into an (to use the word in every single email sent since March) “unprecedented” time and no one knew what was going to happen - but the chance to just… stop. Process. Ground myself. It wasn’t something I’d had much of a chance to do before. Doing nothing is something I actively avoid, and had more and more since September, when my father passed away. Watching your dad die in your early twenties is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy.
I am in a long term relationship; we marked ten years together this winter. We have always shared a friendship circle and cultivated many new friendships together, but a few years into the relationship, in my early 20s, it hit me hard that I still felt lonely.
I am a 34-year-old freelancing, single mother to the most beautiful 3-year-old girl. I left an unhealthy relationship last year, and we have since managed to divorce amicably. My work has become a dream come true, working on storytelling, communications, illustration and photography for wonderful, small, sustainable brands.
I have always been happiest doing the things I love - as a child, I was a bespectacled bookworm, my head full of stories and my imagination constantly running away with me. So many of the narratives I read were full of passive women; women who had things happen to them rather than did things themselves.
I am a non-binary, hairy, chronically ill, tattooed burlesque performer. I am not a girl. I am not a woman. I am not a piece of meat. I am not here to be something nice to look at. I am not a thing. I am sexy and kinky and dark and gentle and soft and kind. I am a human being.
I’m an ex-prison officer. The ‘ex’ part of that statement is still pretty new. I was forced to leave the job because of the effect it began to have on my mental health. And although I was very aware of how my mind was failing to cope, it took me a while to realise the effect it was having on my body.
The last thing I thought about was myself, my body or my sexuality after becoming a single mother in my early thirties. This was 20 years ago. Like many women in this situation, my sole purpose of existence was raising a family and earning the money for it.