She was bipolar. The filters on her selfies plastered a thick veneer of honey over her otherwise dowdy features, and captured flies. She could draw. When she was nice, she was a glory. But when she fell into the shadow of her dark half, she lived a waking nightmare of doubt and anxiety.

She had children. She let them walk all over her. She believed that was a fair substitute for her inability to properly mother them. The eldest sold nude photographs of herself to strangers on the internet, and the youngest planned to follow in her big sister’s lascivious footsteps.

She fell in love with a man a world away and clung to that virtual attraction with all her might. How could someone cling to smoke? The struggle only compounded her madness until one day she broke and left behind a burgeoning digital community that she had spent half a year fostering.

She disappeared for a year and when she came back, she told everyone that she had gone to school and become a biologist. What was one more lie? If she wrote it into her online profiles, it was as good as the truth to her. She told herself that was just the world she was living in.

The trouble was that she wasn’t living in the world at all.

2023.07.11 – 2023.12.16

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