I’m turning 18 and that’s scary.


I am addicted to the ocean and though Grammy said to come back from my walk before dark, after the sun sets right before our eyes and the only lights left are those twinkling condos in the west and iphone flashlights, I will my ankles to move but they remain grounded in the sand. You can see the whole sky out here, almost the entire earth in all directions. This is how it was supposed to be, I think. I stand in the ocean and let its moody waters cleanse me. Walk Between Worlds by Simple Minds and Forward by K. Michelle massage my heart. I want to believe that God is here in the vastness. Something created this, all of it, and put me here to witness the great becoming and unbecoming of the blue, how the waves claim their individuality for a second before dissolving into their universe. I want to believe that the ocean is a part of me too. I want to bottle up this security, this eternity, this faith that there is a reason why I am exactly where I am right now, and take it with me to the city.

In the core of my being, I can believe in the ocean. I can believe it will keep splashing and churning always as it has since the beginning of our whole world.

And I can believe in joy. I once heard on the radio that children laugh exponentially more than adults do. My 5 and 8 year old cousins must have giggled for a solid ten minutes yesterday morning when Gru lost all his clothes in Despicable Me 3. I decided to let it tickle me too. When I was that age, a sunset or fireworks would have me jumping up and down with excitement, like a stick of TNT had exploded right at my center. I want to be like that again.

I turn 18 in 27 days. That’s the scariest sentence I’ve ever written. Ever since I got my first taste of agency and responsibility at about 15, I have treated it like a hot potato that the universe keeps throwing at me even though I never asked for it. I didn’t want to fail, so I didn’t allow myself to try at life, instead opting for a life in between life and death, a life with suicide always on the mind, a convenient escape button always there in case I needed it.

Someone built my body, its vessels and chemicals and neurons, with the sole purpose of keeping me alive, so my bones are constantly staging some kind of coup. But depression is the only language I have taught it, so it wages a war of hormones against me when I do things that betray my true identity, like going to college before I was ready, or manipulating my personality to fit what I think will get me the truest love. I am split between mind and body and it almost rips me apart.

We can all point to moments in our lives when we were whole, and moments when, for whatever reason, we fractured ourselves into pieces. I am whole when I am in the basement of my grandmother’s house rocking out to Thriller by Michael Jackson, limbs thrust in every direction. I am whole when I purge my truths to the page and find support rather than judgement. And I am whole here, now, where the green froth tickles my exfoliated toes. To break out of routine and social necessities is thrilling; each new discovery of where I am whole leads to the next, until a day I hope to become more whole than fractured.

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