She's been on her own path from day one:
"From kindergarten onward, I was like, 'I don’t know what to do with people,'" she told V Magazine. "First, I was a tiny little kid and I didn’t have friends, and then I was a chubby teenager and I didn’t have friends. It was just this sensation that I didn’t know how to connect.”
Dunham's parents weren't afraid to tell her when she was driving them crazy:
"The whole house was taken hostage by my nightmare sleep rituals," Dunham recalled in a 2013 Rolling Stone interview. "I remember one night my dad was so mad, he just had to take a walk around the block, and I was like, 'Daddy's never coming back!' and my mom was like, 'No, Daddy's annoyed because you're being a shitty asshole.'"
She thought she knew where babies came from:
"I'd come up with a theory that I thought made a tremendous amount of sense," she says, "which was that you'd lay next to someone you loved, you wished for a baby, and then the sperm and the egg met through the pores of your skin. My friend Amanda was like, 'No, a man puts his penis in your vagina,' and I was like, 'This is the worst thing I've ever heard; this is the worst thing that's ever happened to me.' I told my little sister when she was five, so I wouldn't have to be alone with it. And now she's a lesbian. So there, we've nailed it! That and the fact that I used to make her make out with me through my grandmother's dialysis mask. No, that's not why someone's gay, but it's a funny theory."
“I feel like I was raised in an environment where I was sort of given a clear message that what we were seeing in the media wasn’t an actual reflection of what a woman is or what a woman should be," said Dunham, speaking on a panel with her mother Laurie Simmons at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston earlier this year. The pair recounted the time Simmons once brought home unretouched photos of Gwyneth Paltrow. She wanted to show her daughters all of the Photoshop work that goes into glossy-magazine images.
“This could very easily be taken out of context, and I think it’s funny now, but I remember looking in the mirror as a kid and it would be like for an hour at a time, and I’d be like: ‘I’m just so beautiful. Everybody is so lucky that they get to look at me," she told Marie Claire UK earlier this year. "And of course that changes as you get older, but I may have held on to that little-kid feeling that was me alone in my bathroom.”