The world is rich with pleasures. That first day winter breaks and lets the fullness of the sun’s warmth wrap you up like a hug from someone you love, but have missed for months. A clear night far away from … Continue reading
If you do not enjoy being you, then you have some work to do. As I approach my fourth decade, I feel only one thing is being asked of me: that I let my true self take root and live authentically—with no qualifications or apologies. Not conceit—just love and acceptance of self and confidence.
My first decade was marked by an abundance of self-assurance. As a child I was confident (perhaps even conceited), bold, brave, and out-going. I had no antagonistic or ambivalent feelings towards my body. I had an unlimited well of faith in my abilities.
However, puberty proved to be something of a Trojan horse for me. At first (mostly thanks to Judy Blume books), I saw no reason to be any different. I would (as my pediatrician commanded) shy away from nothing just because I had my period. Menstruation would never be an excuse I used for stepping back from something I wanted to do—neither would my gender. I was fiercely feminist—proud to be a girl and looking forward to being a woman.
But then my body began to visibly change—thickening and rounding in very non-ballerina-esque ways. I ceased to see the physique I’d come to esteem and associate with beauty when I looked in the mirror. And that’s when the Trojan horse of puberty burst open—insecurities pouring out of it like an armed and hostile regiment then attacking my identity along with all the confidence I’d cultivated.
My second decade contained a cold war between me and my body. I tried to will it and then deprive it back to the lean and lanky way it had once been. I hid it under bulky clothes. I regretted the veiny appearance of my arms. I appreciated my body’s speed, agility, and strength, but I wished it looked different.
College proved to be a summit of diplomacy. I negotiated a cease fire and then true peace in the company of diverse bodies. I began to focus less on what my body looked like and more on what it could do. I stopped having any feelings of guilt connected to food. And as others made their appreciation of my form known, I began to appreciate it too.
Every decade since has been a journey forward to get back to the unabashed confidence I had as a child. There is still more internal territory to reclaim—still further to go and grow in loving and being who I truly am—both the exterior and what’s inside. But each day, as I age, I try to take a few steps past my comfort zone and to be even more comfortable in my own skin. Each day I seek to love myself more—and this body I’m in.
I wish everyone would choose love and kindness and a genuine desire to understand differences and extend compassion over divides instead of hatred, outrage, or violence. However, I also believe… Continue reading
At first glance, you might think my sister is cold. She isn’t. No one who has truly mastered fire is. Behind her compulsory composure is an immense capacity for love. It’s not the ebullient love of a puppy or doting … Continue reading
The first time I fell in love, it was with dance. The notion of movement and music coming together to produce something new and altogether elevated delighted and moved me. The second time I fell in love, it was with … Continue reading
Sometimes people are the gifts. I’ve often gained what I lacked via a relationship. So much of what has enriched my life can’t be bought in a store or ordered online. Instead, my most valued resources have been the care, … Continue reading
A sunny day—light making translucent the leaves. A song so compelling I have to move to the beat. A joke that sets me to laughing uncontrollably. Cute dogs, comfy socks, and a good night’s sleep. Standing at the shore of … Continue reading
I wish I had my sister’s magic. She’s already wielding flames like an Alpha, and this is only her first semester at The University. As twins, we couldn’t be more different. Sometimes I imagine we’re really a whole that was cut into halves, because aside from body parts, everything she has I lack—and vice versa.
It’s her calm mind and temperate emotions that allow her to master fire so effortlessly. She is not easily distracted or provoked. She’s unreachable when she’s focused. I, on the other hand, I contain a tempest. The slighted thing spurs me on. My moods are a maelstrom, and they bring everyone and everything around them down—down to the depths of my turbulent conscious.
My sister once told me that she’s jealous of me. I didn’t believe her until I saw the fatigue behind the focus in her eyes. I had always wanted to be like her so that I could have fire. There is so much I want to burn down. I was surprised to discover that she wants to be like me. My powers are so rudimentary. Seeing the surprise and incredulity written all over my face, she pointed out that I have freedoms she can never enjoy. I can rage and cry and fight and laugh uncontrollably. Alpha Incendiaries can’t do any of that. They are never allowed to be weapons—only vehicles or vessels.
Just the other day we were walking towards campus when a racist, upon seeing us, hurled some explicit words as well as his coffee cup in our direction. Both the contents of his statements and his cup were hot—hot enough to burn. I felt my skin and then my temper boil.
My sister could have set him ablaze with no more than a glance. She could have manipulated his mind so that he would think himself on fire. That’s what I would have done with her power. I would have sentenced him to seeing consuming flames whenever he uttered words full of hate. But that’s not how my sister operates. She just took a slightly deeper breath in and kept the pace at which she was walking while we healed. That is the serenity of my sister. She lives like a lake that can only be mildly disturbed—no matter what you throw at her. I, however, wasn’t feeling so generous towards the bigot, so I made him mute for a month.
I find it quite satisfying using mortals’ maladies against them. Speak out of turn, whether it be a racist rant or sexually explicit language, and I can take your voice with chronic laryngitis. Touch me or someone I care about inappropriately, and I’ll give you the flu—preferably the day after you get the vaccine shot. If you’re unkind towards a child, you’ll get a dose of pink eye. Greed will get you allergies. Infidelity an STD. Ulcers and kidney stones go hand in hand with abuse of any variety. And I love using diarrhea for unchecked vanity.
I try to abstain from the degenerative and the deadly—but not because humans aren’t deserving; they are—and more. The world is full of people who are teeming with hate and unbridled cruelty. I could afflict them all. I don’t simply because such manipulations would lead to severe consequences with The Faculty. My sister doesn’t have to worry about such things. As someone on the Alpha track, she can quite literally do no wrong. And once she self-actualizes, she’ll be living above the law.
Dear Home, I miss you. I miss what you used to give me: shelter, warmth, and security. I miss running up and down your steps—taking the stairs two at a time and always jumping down from three up (much to … Continue reading
“The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives…The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given … Continue reading