warnings for self-harm, slight homophobia, religion, underage drinking, and attempted queer conversion through religion.
you've known something was wrong with you for a while, but you didn't want to admit it. not out loud, at least. as long as you never tell the truth out loud, it doesn't have to be real. it doesn't have to be you. you don't want anyone to know that you think you're a fuck up who can't do anything properly, despite having good grades and getting along with most anyone. there's just some things that you can't get right no matter how hard you try. you can beat yourself up over it and cry about it all you want, but nothing ever changes. it's better to make it seem like nothing is wrong with you, so you can deny it if someone says something to you about it.
no, that's not me. what are you talking about?
it's almost too easy to smile and lie to the world and yourself at the same time.
it's easy to pretend that you're not stressed out and pressured, wanting to be everything your mother wants you to be but knowing that - in the end - you're just going to end up disappointing her. you can lie to yourself and say that you don't think girls are a lot more interesting than boys, are a lot prettier than boys, that you look at them longer than you should as a girl. girls can only like boys; it's been drilled into your head by nearly everyone except your dad since you were little. your mom is more oppressive that way, trying to shape you into something, yet you don't complain, not outwardly. on the inside, though, you're screaming. yelling at the top of your lungs because you can't be yourself, you can't do anything you want to do, you're being pulled in different directions like silly putty. your mom says you can't touch anyone; your dad says you shouldn't let anyone touch you. it leaves you with nothing except an ache in your gut that you don't want to name or acknowledge. if you don't say it out loud, it isn't real. except it is, on the inside, down deep where no one can see it.
you don't want to look at boys as anything other than boys. you know you shouldn't see girls as anything other than girls. the more stressed out you get, the more the edge of a razor starts to look appealing, like it could just take all your problems away in an instant, and it seems so right in a weird, messed up way. you're a messed up kid so of course you would end up seeking out ways to relieve all the pain and stress in messed up ways. it hurts. it hurts so much, but you want it. you want something that's real, just a little bit, just for once in your life, something you can control and have some say over. no one every told you that you weren't allowed to cut yourself.
no one told you that you couldn't until they did, until they took away your razor and tried to control your urges instead. you want to cut all the time, and that's the problem. the therapist your mom makes you talk to says it's hard to stop once you start, and limiting it as much as you can is the best thing you can do. give yourself a little bit of pain, but not enough to break the skin, not enough to bleed. they leave you cold and wanting, having to snap your hairband against the skin of your wrist instead. it's supposed to be a not harmful substitute for the razor, but you have to admit that for a while there it just wasn't working that well for you. you looked just fine on the outside so no one asked about your new habit. on the inside, at least for a while, you really, really wanted to cut.
it was around that time that you noticed mom started to look at you a bit differently, like she knew something that you hadn't said out loud yet, something you didn't want to admit in front of your family or the god you were raised to worship. god didn't want bad kids so you tried being a good kid, tried to be someone whom god would accept. as long as you did good things, god wouldn't be angry at you for staring at girls and wondering what it would be like to put your hands on their hips and hold them tightly against you for so long that letting go stopped being an option. you hated that you had those kinds of thoughts, that they plagued you every single day even if you tried to prevent them. it was okay as long as you were a good person. it was okay as long as you didn't say it out loud. it could be a secret kept being you and god and no one else had to know.
the idea to send you off to summer scouts was your mom's. she still hasn't looked at you quite right since your parents found out about the cutting, and she's gotten even worse since then if you're being honest. you have no idea why dad and mom ever had you in the first place. but you still did everything she told you to do, and it must not have been enough, because summer scouts was meant for bad kids who needed god to straighten them out. you were sure your mom didn't know the real truth - you still hadn't said anything out loud and you weren't planning to - but you were afraid, so very afraid that she was sending you there because she actually wanted to straighten you out, that she had found out somehow without you saying anything. maybe she thought you spent too much time with dad, but you had no idea and you weren't about to ask. you didn't complain as she filled out all the papers. you didn't complain as you packed some things to take with you for the summer. part of you thought this might be a good thing for you. maybe going would finally set you right. you just didn't want anyone to know that there was anything wrong with you.
you're put in group west with two others, neptune and venus, and you already feel yourself slipping. you snap your hairband against your wrist. you're here to be a good kids, not think that neptune looks really pretty. not to think about what it might be like to kiss her. on the outside, you're normal, you're being a good person just like god wants you to be. on the inside, you're left wanting for more than just your razor.
the first couple weeks of camp are boring save for your group members. the more time you spend with neptune, the more you have to try and stop yourself from looking for too long, showing too much on your face. you have to admit that, as much as you did try to balance out the three of you even if you were something of the leader - something you were already used to anyway - you feel like sometimes you are giving neptune a bit more attention. you can't really help it. she's pretty and a girl; both of which are your type. you keep it to yourself, though. anything you didn't want to believe or hear could just slide like water off your back as far as you were concerned.
you already knew that summer scouts was for bad kids, made all the more apparent by some of the others you'd seen in camp since the beginning. it only really became apparent when the counselors started talking about what you needed to do in order to be loved and accepted by god, and - just like that - the rules had been flipped on you. your entire life, you believed that everything would be fine if you were a good person, that it didn't matter if maybe you had a little bit of the devil in you sometimes. however, what summer scouts wanted from you was to kill that devil completely, to squash it out and come back clean. come back clean. come back not liking girls anymore. come back being something you knew you weren't, even if you didn't say it out loud. they changed it. they changed it just when you thought you were getting something right for once. you were a good kid who listened to her parents even if she didn't want to, a good kid who got good grades and was good at sports and the apple of every teacher's eye, a child who wasn't capable of causing a problem. would god not love you anymore if you were like this? were you the devil? you snap your hairband against your wrist. you're slipping even harder, on the edge of crying and losing your mind just thinking about it. you're not a bad kid.
bad kids still have to go to the cabin to fight the devil, though. you go along because you can't protest, even if you were hoping that maybe you'd be lucky enough to not go.
there's an underlying anxiety even if you do feel like you're having a little bit of fun. despite any nitpicks or hangups you may have, hanging out with venus and neptune can be fun, even if neptune is sometimes a little too much and venus is a little too apologetic. you even get to drink a little just because neptune wouldn't let you say no to it, and venus ends up joining as well. you're used to a little bit of alcohol here and there so it takes a while for you to really feel it, but it takes the edge off, if just a little. you haven't had to snap your hairband so that's good enough.
still, the night drags on and there's been no sign of the devil so maybe trying to talk to god will work? you tune your radio until you hit the right channel - you know it by heart - but the voice you hear isn't the one you were expecting. your hands shake as the sound of the devil comes out and hits your ears, and you were hoping that this wouldn't happen. you're a good kid, right? you're a good person, right? it's fine if you don't say it out loud, right? you're not the devil, right? you can feel yourself beginning to panic, wishing you had something to cut yourself with because your hairband is not going to cut it this time. you're not calm in the slightest, and your breath is picking up because of it. everything you've ever known and believed or wanted to believe is crumbling down. on the outside, you're a mess and you don't know what to do. on the inside, it's even worse.
there's a storm on jupiter that's bigger than the earth that's been going on for years. and you're about to blow up and swirl into uncontrollable winds, let out everything that's ever wronged you, everything you've ever thought about but never said out loud. you're so close to just exploding into the cosmos and never coming back since you have nothing to keep you here anymore. if you can't be loved by god, like you've been taught was what was best for you your whole life, then what was the point of trying to be that person anymore? you're so close to just putting an end to it all, but they call you back, hold you back, neptune and venus trying to get you to believe that it's okay. and you don't want to agree with them. you're not a bad kid. you're not the devil. you don't want to be either or those things, even if neptune has accepted that she is who she is, has known all along that she didn't want to hold a boy, even if venus is coming to grips with how she was never a boy to start with. part of you wants to congratulate them on being so brave, but you can't. it's wrong. they have to be wrong, right? the three of you can't be together like this because it's not right and someone is going to be left out.
they keep calling to you and saying it's okay. it's okay to have a little bit of the devil in you. and you want to go, just so you won't be so stressed anymore, just so you can be who you want to be. you hesitate because this is your last chance to say that you're a good kid, because if you take their hands and go to them, you won't be anymore. your face is covered in tears, but you want to go. you want to know what it's like to hold a girl. you want to know what it's like to love a girl. what it's like to be touched by a girl. what it's like for a girl to hurt you. the desires have eaten you up from the inside your entire life, and you're so tired.
you're still scared, but you go to them, take their hands as your salvation in a place that's still new but old at the same time, a place you're familiar with but have never been at the same time. you're still crying, but you feel like such a weight has been taken off of you. you're a bad kid and it's okay.
you all have a little bit of the devil in you, but what the three of you really are? you're the three worst girls since eve.