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Innocent Girls, No Innocent Girlhood

Christy Rizk | Lebanon

I never lost my innocence.

To lose means to cease to have something, which isn’t the case for me. I find my innocence in the smallest things: the teddy bear in a pink dress I bought when I was five, the orange ladybugs that find their way to my balcony, the street cats that don’t run away when I come close, in the capsule vending machines outside supermarkets. I find my innocence in red cherries and chocolate milk, in the smell of illustrated books and wild daisies, in the Disney opening theme and in my niece’s laugh.

I never lost my innocence, but I can recount many moments where she was taken away; when I was six and told that pretty girls are thin, when I was nine and counting calories, when I developed an eating disorder at twelve. I could never hold innocence’s hand for too long; we were separated by every judgmental look, every piece of good-natured advice, every rape joke, every wandering eye. The events of my life as a “woman-in-progress” reminded me I could never truly be a child.

I never lost my innocence, yet I desperately look for a sign of her. I want to sit in the sun and run barefoot and sing myself to sleep.

I want to look beyond the schism separating me from childhood and remember who I could’ve been. I want to live a life out of sight from the oppressive lens I was raised under.

If innocence is a mother, I want to crawl back inside her and be calm in her still waters. I don’t want to leave her before I’m due. And if innocence is a girl like myself, I want to run into her arms and hold her. I want to tell her I wish she never left, but I’m glad she did. I want to tell her I wish we had more time together.

Christy is passionate about feminism, mental health advocacy, and pasta. She also writes sometimes. Connect with her at

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