According to family lore, when I was five, I changed my clothes obsessively throughout the day. On one cold day, I got it into my head to wear a sundress to the park. My mom immediately told me to change. At five, I put my hands on my hips and told my mom, “It's my body, I'll wear what I want.” At which point, I am sure my parents began to fear for my future.
The first time I was called a slut was in middle school. I hadn't even held a boy's hand at that point. One girl told me only prostitutes wore rings on every finger. My grandma had given me all her old jewelry and I wanted to wear every one of those bands of brass and fake gold. I can still feel the flush of shame creeping up the back of my neck and into my cheeks.