my hair is curly now.
i bet you didn’t expect that
when you wrapped dirt and shame
around my half grown body.

long hair brushed straight—
one hundred times—
to pull the memory out afterwards,
but my milk tooth brain could
never quite push you away.

the day i chopped my long hair off
i thought i was free—

i was not free.

you cannot purge evil with shears
or blades,
or fire,
but goddamn i have tried.

though,
the body rebuilds itself with time.
your fingerprints aren’t on my skin
anymore. new flesh has grown over
my bruised bones,

and my hair is curly now.

-(a collection of words from a late night run.) 

I don’t have much to say about 21. Other than somehow I am thankful. A kind of thankful that is hidden under layers of mistrust in my own ability to be thankful for whatever all this was.

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These days I do not have so many words with any sort of meaning. I am good at throwing out a thousand that spin themselves into knots and tangles of nonsense or perhaps insanity.

I didn’t want to write about 21 until now. Until I spent the day and evening picking through my own messy thoughts. I think I want something to remember this by, so here is a small portrait of Britts at 21.

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The sadness comes in waves—rolls in and out, and every time I catch a break I am still coughing up my lungs despite ankle-deep waters.

I need to learn to swim all over again. To trust that I am built for survival, that I don’t have to breathe in seafoam and brine, instead hold my breath until a break comes.

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And breaks do come.

I am learning to breathe again.

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and,

i am thankful for everyone who made this year survivable.

i am thankful that i am finding my faith again in a new and quiet way.

i am thankful for forgiveness and love that is unconditional.

About the Author Britts Amelia

21. Ex-dancer. Jesus Feminist. Very bad at autobiographies, apparently. Once wrote and directed a substandard short film. University student.

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