On Being Bad

by Natalie Robin

When I was in second grade, this bully of a girl that by some matter of either convenience or fear I decided to befriend, told me I couldn’t be in her club unless I said “fuck”. I really didn’t want to say it. I hesitated while nervously cataloging in my formative brain all the reasons I knew it was wrong, believing that all those reasons would somehow find out that I said it or that the guilt from saying it would consume me into the belief that I was permanently bad, but I eventually said it because I really wanted to be in the club. I sometimes still feel that everything is a club asking me to be profane when all I want to do is preserve the purity of whatever my soul is. I have gotten much better at not compromising myself to be a part of things, but sometimes it’s lonely.