assertion

Twice Pierced

The first time I got my nose pierced I was seventeen and had just gone away to university. One – maybe two – weeks into the experience, I wanted to do something to mark my new found freedom: having sex and not worrying about getting caught, staying out as late as I wanted to, sleeping in as long as I wanted to, eating whatever I liked, drinking as much as I wanted. My mum was appalled and for some reason it caused an enormous rift between her and my two aunts that lasted the better part of a year. I still don’t know why.

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The Dress Code

‘Don’t be on that all night,’ Dad says as he passes through the kitchen. ‘You’re costing me a fortune.’ I’m sat on the kitchen counter (our phone is hung to the wall just above it).

‘So, what are you wearing?’ I ask Michaela who’s on the other end. She’s wearing her new white stilettoes, her new navy pencil skirt and a shiny white blouse that she’s worn before. I’m supposed to wear the exact same or something very similar. This is me trying to fit in.

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Run

I hesitated. I could feel the adrenaline running through my body, each breath getting faster and faster as I contemplated my next move. I had never broken a rule, disobeyed an instruction or cheated at anything. Yet here I was considering the unthinkable. My heart was beating faster and faster as I looked around. Nobody was watching me, not a soul looking in my direction. This was it - it was now or never. I took a deep breath, composed myself and ran as fast as I possibly could.

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Franny

Fuss, fuss, fuss. Same thing every week. My first marriage was a disaster.

‘Nobody else’s husband comes to the ante-natal clinic.’

‘I’d like to hear what the doctor has to say.’

‘If there’s anything different I’ll tell you.’

‘Will you though? Wait inside then. The driver will come to the door and don't go wandering around on your own.’

'Stop being so bossy.'

'Somebody needs to be responsible. Where's my football kit?'

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The Story of My Life

There was a time not long ago when I was young and free. Those were the days when your friends would come chap your door and ask you to come outside and explore the vast open world beneath your feet. But not all days were sunshine and roses. There were days when there was upset and distress. My very first friend was called Reece and my father always warned me of his bad influence, but I never listened. I never listened because my father treated me like I was young and dumb. He made me feel like he always knew best which made me continually rebel against his authority.

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So You're the Rebel?

'So you're the rebel?'

It's a question that is often asked of me.

I don't know what they want me to say. That's their word, not mine.

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Auld Rebel

Warning: this piece contains strong language

My itchy feet did not stop when I returned home from the Far East and met the man who would become my husband in less than six months. They were soothed. They were softened. They were worn, day in, day out, for many years. 

Worn, trodden upon, used … my feet were trampled over many times but still they plodded on. They say we hit a treadmill at certain times of life and maybe that’s where my feet found themselves for thirty plus years. 

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Beginners

Scotland. 1985.

Amanda is a teenager.

Dr Clark is the local Medical Practice locum. He’s in his mid-twenties.

Dr Clark: So, Amanda. How are you feeling?

Amanda: I need to know if Victoria Gillick’s happening here. 

Dr Clark: Victoria….?

Amanda: You know. Her. The Catholic wifie with all the kids.

Dr Clark: Sorry. You’ve lost me.

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Rebel - Mindless belief

The whole point of being a member of the 'group' was conformity. We all had to follow the same rules. We all had to have the same hair, dress and beliefs. You would think that in carrying out all these rules that I would be happy. That was not the case. I found it impossible to completely repress my individuality.

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