In the weeks leading up to the launch of She’s Shameless: Women write about growing up, rocking out, and fighting back, we’ll be posting sneak peak excerpts from the book.
E.J. MacBain is a writer and editor living in the Northeast. Her nonfiction has previously appeared in Hip Mama magazine. She is the proud feminist mama of a toddler son and a baby daughter.
I’m Still Here
1982: Roller skates with rainbow knee-highs, braided friendship bracelets wet to the skin, blueberry Slurpees all summer from 7-Eleven, John Cougar cassette tapes of “Jack and Diane,” the secret purple-clad, girls-only club, and threats from the older junior high school girls in the public library, who pretend that Crayola markers are boys’ mini-dicks and suck them to show us: This is what you have to do when you get to seventh grade.
My parents’ divorce, my mother’s suddenly-single freak-out, the parties with her divorcée jet set, and her new boyfriends, boyfriends, boyfriends, while I sat with my friends and wondered about the state of their parents’ love (and sex) lives and why the Girl Scout badges never fit, why I never graduated even from Brownies, and why all the boys loved all the girls who didn’t look a thing like me, Kate, Heather, or Eve with her wicked thoughts and her slumber parties that turned to late-night viewings of the porn channel’s Midnight Blue. What would Prince do? Who was Sheila E., and how could she be so sexy and play the drums? Why was the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue so titillating, and why did my Dad hide it? Were we the only ones who had to hunt so hard for soft-core porn?