Author pictured.

What am I supposed to teach a child about love
when I cannot tell it apart from a forest fire?
When someone can let themselves into the body that is your home,
and still burn it to the ground?
I fear we come from a legacy that is always folding in,
but never out.

How do I tell you that there’s nothing here worth saving,
when you look at me like the answer to a question
you’ve nursed for a decade? …

Mind Games

All she wanted was to be pretty. Her body had other plans.

A photo of the author’s bare back. She has 2 large tattoos on her upper back and upper left arm, and hives on her skin.
A photo of the author’s bare back. She has 2 large tattoos on her upper back and upper left arm, and hives on her skin.
Author pictured with chronic urticaria (hives)

You haven’t had hives in a decade. Barely even remember what it was like to live with a body fighting against you, every inch raised in rebellion.

One night you go to sleep smooth, exfoliated and more exhausted than you realized was possible, and the next morning wake with your face tight and eyes swollen shut. Everything protests as you wrestle yourself free of the covers, alarm blaring, bones weighing you down.

Deep in your gut you know something is wrong. Your first instinct is to run to the mirror to assess the damage. Face, neck, shoulders. Even the palms…

You saw something in me that I thought I’d lost.
It was there, faint and fading,
swallowed down until I had become a white washed room instead of a dying star.

When I look at you I can feel love trying to escape me like a thing alive.
It scares me, makes me remember how it feels to be human,
that delicate balance of warmth and tendon, hope and fear,
Of the forest fire I’d been hiding in my lungs for years.

Sometimes I forget who I am, until you remind me.
I forget how things are meant to taste, how…

Photo of author.

You don’t realise it’s an issue until you’re drunk at Lauren’s house party, wine in hand and friends in tow, Heidi approaching to exclaim.

“Ella! It’s so good to see you! I don’t care what everyone else says about you, it’s clear they’re just jealous!”

She tips half a plastic cup of beer down your sheer blouse when she leans in for a hug. Her long, curly blonde hair spilling across your face where it smells overwhelmingly of the weed she’d been smoking outside. You raise your hands and rest them against her back for short moments before pulling away,

Photo taken by author.

Just because you’ve left doesn’t mean you’re better.

I know you grew up hazy and sleep soft, a girl who could get lost on the breeze. Saw faeries in forests, friends in place of monsters beneath your bed. I can easily picture you speaking to them, whispering your favourite memories and warmest wishes, how you longed for romance and the sunshine that would bloom in your chest if only someone would someday take your hand and lead you into forever. I know you always loved in earnest, big and bright, heart beating hummingbird fast in a delicate chest. …

Author being a poser in a D&D top and Pokemon pins.

Yes, there is a right way to go about it.

(*And yes, this article is aimed at straight nerdy men trying to date nerdy women.)

To some, we are a thing of legend, to others, vile thots whose only goal is to capture the hearts of men and make a pretty penny selling our bath water. To most we are fake, don’t actually like nerdy things, and are clearly trying to bid for male attention. However, we do exist, many of us are attractive, and as a whole we are largely sought after while being hideously misrepresented.

Before I can…

Left: Kathleen. Right: Author.

“I don’t think you’ll like each other,” he starts. “In fact, I’m sure you won’t.”

You’re both naked in bed, bodies cooling, when you reply, “You can’t know that.”

He laughs like he has all the answers, and you believe that maybe he does. “If you’re that worried about it I’ll introduce you.”


“You’ve been sinking for weeks.”


You meet on the street. She’s fresh off the train from Newcastle, and you have to tip your head to look up at her. She has a round face and bright green eyes, arms and legs long and lean. The…

Author at Dusk

They won’t look the way you thought they would look, or talk the way you thought they would talk. They won’t stroll out of your fantasy, edges sanded and knuckles smoothed, only born the moment you meet.

She cares too much for her tomato plants, insists on naming each and every fern in her garden. When she cooks she apologizes to the potted herbs on the windowsill as she pulls off leaves and sprigs.

She doesn’t sleep well. Sometimes you wake to her shaking in the bed next to you, crying. She’s quiet, breath catching when she inhales, terrified to…

I want fairy tales where princesses become their own dragons.

Where scales hide, slick and iridescent under parchment thin skin,

monsters in plain sight.

I want an Alice so high she sees her blood as poetry.

Lovely and thick and able to fill the bath tub four times before she passes out.

Mouth slack, hair askew, ecstasy written in every line of her broken dolls body.

I want a little mermaid who is small in size but huge in hunger,

who sees a prince and wants him so much that when he rejects her

she drags him into the sea.

Gabriella Lowgren

29. Short girl with shorter hair. Communications Manager by day, writer and indie game developer by night.

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