I come to this page
with turmeric-stained fingers
to reflect on my last 22.989 years,
remembering the stories they tell me
of myself. Like how I loved Coco the clown,
who came to my first birthday,
and my Aunt Lolly’s bird, who played with me
until he bit me.
As I reflect, I see
that each moment of my 22.989 years
made me who I am.
Now I write,
with my turmeric-stained fingers,
to remember why I am.
Why I loved Coco but feared
clowns nonetheless; why one caged bird began
a 22.989-year indifference to birdkind.
Why it took me
to figure out who I am;
to understand that
love is something you give,
are neither good nor bad,
they just are.
I look down
at my turmeric-stained fingers
knowing permanence is an illusion.
Still, I look back
at all of my past selves feeling
sad for her, sad for time wasted
worried about her body
caring too much
about the opinions of strangers
and adolescent boys,
pushing beautiful people ––
friends who made her feel good –– aside
for those who amplified her insecurities instead.
Just to find myself,
22.989 years later,
mourning the loss of those friendships, still.
So today I will cherish
my turmeric-stained fingers, appreciating them
as part of me for now, not forever.
In my 22.989 years
I’ve come to know change
as the only constant.
You can hold yourself back,
resist the change,
growing dizzy and nauseous
around every turn.
you can lean in
embrace the spinning
and rejoice as butterflies
dance around in your stomach
and ready for whatever
Never holding on
to the darkness of past selves.
Because when tomorrow comes, my darkness,
and my turmeric-stained fingers, too,
will be washed away by the light of the new day.