I am twenty-one and cannot spend my whole life closed up and cold, neck aching from staring back at sixteen. From introspection comes revelation, and from revelation comes more introspection, and I am tired of living at the center of my past’s magnetic field. It makes a loop, a line, repeating into infinite intervals. I am told I am strong because I can talk about it in hour-long sessions on plush pillowed sofas with a furrowed, frowned face. But talking about it makes me feel like I’ve swallowed bitter cold New England Januarys, and the cold doesn’t belong with someone like me.

I am twenty-one and living so messily that my hair grows at three different lengths, three different colors, and lilac half-moons swoop under both my eyes. I am perpetually exhausted, but still a wire of energy stretching over two decades and a year. I will unzip my chest and live whole, free and vibrant, absorbing yellow energy from Junes and Julys so that bubbles of light live in the center of my ribcage. I will step out of that cold old story, quit my old careful qualm-filled life and live crooked and imperfect as the veins under leaves.

Sarah Samel is a junior at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing. She started writing when she was eight years old and has not stopped since. She is a book collector, a cat-lover, and a caffeine addict. Wherever she goes, she accumulates a small library.

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