Saffi Marley is something of an awkward turtle. Xe struggles with socialising due to the difficult circumstances in xyr past - months of bullying by xyr classmates when xe was in high school. Never the most confident or bold person, Saffi had xyr sense of self and worth absolutely shredded by the vicious peers at the time. It was a horrifying time of xyr life and even though it did come to an end, the scars on xem psyche were already carved. They went too deep to not leave an impact on Saffi. To this day some of the insults and the actions of the bullies still live with xem. Nightmares return to xem every once in a while and xe struggles each and every time. Xe has never been a confrontational person. It's something xe loathes and these days a severe confrontation is more likely to cause xem to have a panic attack or flashbacks. Xyr classmates used to call xem timid
Xe has a really sweet heart but xe doesn't have the courage to defend it that well. Although Saffi tries to follow it through, xe is pretty easily derailed by negative influences in xyr life. As such xe has ended up on a pretty bad path thanks to one particular choice that she made. Xe has always had something of an addictive personality. When Saffi was young xe cherished the love xe received from her brother and parents. That feeling of being accepted and safe was something that Saffi really depended on more than other kids xyr age. Xe was addicted to it and when that feeling was minimised by the severe bullying xe received at school, Saffi tried to replace the harshness of the bullying with the 'security' of isolating xyrself. Xe doesn't always try and undo a problematic scenario with the one that worked before, xe tends to just grab at another scenario rather than spare the time to think about it thoroughly.
Saffi has a love of studying and has a considerable sense of ambition. Xe knows what xe wants but doesn't know if xe has the strength to follow through. Xe is a very insecure person and tends to take things one day at a time because things can change so quickly for xyr. Xe is pretty quiet and tends to get on with things. Because of xyr socialising struggles, xe only has a handful of friends, especially now that xe is on the path that xe's on. People are trying to help xyr but xe has so much pressure to succeed and most of it is self inflicted. Xe knows that xyr brother went to great lengths to help xyr out with the bullying and xe feels that xe would be weak if xe needed to be bailed out over this. So xe is trying to manage a difficult situation and floundering hopelessly.
Saffi was born in Boston as the younger sibling to Silas Marley. Xe was born Sophie Marley but ever since xe was a child, xe preferred Saffi. As xe grew older, xe struggled to connect with other children as well as other kids did. Xyr brother and select other children within their circle of family and friends were the only exceptions to this rule. On top of that xe struggled with her sense of gender. Saffi hated the notions of girly-boys or tom boys. Xe really hated labels especially since xe felt that none of them applied to xem. The only thing that really set xem apart, one way or the other (so xe felt) was that xe preferred to wear feminine clothing as opposed to masculine and unisex.
But in the world xe was growing up in, it was a hard thing to admit and so Saffi kept quiet about xyr feelings. One day xyr curiosity got the better of xem at school, when xe was about fourteen years old, and xe asked a teacher about whether it was possible to be something other than a girl or a boy. Xyr teacher misunderstood and interpreted Saffi's interest as wanting to change xyr gender as opposed to redefining it. The teacher's advice was confusing and frightening to Saffi. They spoke of consultations, therapy and drugs that could help. Saffi never brought up the subject again. Even at that age, xe knew that xe didn't want surgery being involved or drugs or talking to some strangers again. But the conversation and xyr questions attracted attention and the bullying started.
Xe was teased for xyr hopes and xyr curiosity. Xe was made to feel like xyr feelings were a bad thing, something to be ashamed of and after xe was torn to shreds on those levels, the bullies started on appearance. Xyr peers called xem out on not being a 'proper girl'. As the accusations and the pranks started, Saffi's self esteem was torn apart. Xe tried to blend in, to pretend that xe was like everyone else, that things were as they 'should' be. But it didn't ring true for xem and deep down xe knew that. It just intensified the self-loathing and the misery that Saffi felt.
Finally, it drove Saffi to confess xyr true feelings to her family. Xyr parents surprised xem with their support. After that xyr parents and brother got involved with the bullying, going through all the proper channels to defend xem. But it did nothing ultimately and the bullying continued. Eventually, Silas took alternative methods and blackmailed xyr tormentors into backing off. Saffi was incredibly grateful for xyr brother's support but xe felt ashamed that xe had not told him sooner. Still, xe promised that she would be better and stronger for her family all round.
As awareness grew about a greater spectrum of gender identities, Saffi found a community online to talk to. But it wasn't a smooth journey and things didn't get much easier for xyr. There were still many ignorant people who insisted on addressing Saffi by the wrong gender. But xe forced xemself to accept that this was how the world was. That people like xem would have to fight it a little bit at a time.
As for xyr physical looks, while xe had a petite form with nothing much to draw attention to in the chest area, xe preferred to cover herself up in that area anyway. Xe wasn't comfortable with the idea of binding or anything like that so xe simply wore loose fitting clothes that xe felt good in. Xe continued to present xemself in feminine clothing - something which invited bigots to argue with xem - but Saffi always made it clear that this was a choice - not xem conforming to anything. It was an endless, ongoing struggle. There are those who believe that this contributed to xyr current problems.
After high school Saffi got into a good college. But within four months xe struggled to keep up with the workload. A 'helpful' fellow classmate introduced Saffi to adderall, a drug that would help xem stay up later to get xyr work done. And so Saffi's health deteriorated as xe became dependent on the drug.