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I don’t recall when I started writing poetry or when I picked out a journal to document the unfolding of my teen years. It just seems I was always writing some version of my truth- my angst, my fears, my dreams.

The smell of my room-it comes back to me now in a flood of reminiscing. I can barely recall yesterday but 14, 15, 16 comes back with vivid memory and feeling.

I spent endless hours on the floor of my room, splayed out on the burnt orange and blue flowered rug, spilling out my feelings to that part of myself that took an interest- that could comfort and admonish me- that felt secure enough to trust I was well held by my words, my fears, my timid-ness and trepidations. There was a dryness in my mouth, thirsty for connection.

The solace of this place was sacred. I knew it then and it resonates with me now. Outside the door all hell was breaking loose. This space offered me a quiet planet to be, to write, to wonder about what was and what could be for me. I knew I was alone that no one could really be there in the way I felt safe enough to unload.

I can smell the mustiness of the attic adjoining my room and feel the cold air entering in small gusts from beneath the door. This was the main reason for entering my room from another – to access the attic – my mother’s paintings or some item well placed once but long forgotten. Otherwise it was my sanctuary; a poster of Vanilla Fudge on the ceiling, my bellbottoms hanging in the closet. A wood sign I constructed and painted that said in big white letters STOP.

The white Swiss dotted curtains my mother sewed and my canopy bed that seems so small now but was as vast as a sea to me in my teens. Where I was swallowed up by my dreams yet comforted by how they knew me. I didn’t know it then but I was my own best friend. My journal held my secrets, my longings, my desires for the present and the future.

Just yesterday I smelled a sourness that traveled around with me and worried it was some sign of decay. But as I reflected on this period of my life I realize it was the smell of my past trying to reveal itself in the present. My body speaking to me, reminding me of who I am. What I am capable of – what I understand about myself and what I may not.

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