I look at my desk and I am in love. It’s full of so many things that I am drawn to, that excite me. Books, pens, nature- shells and wings and rocks and sticks. I have my own style that I get more and more used to.

I remember in elementary school how my individuality began to get squashed. I didn’t come from a confident woman, and so I looked everywhere to see how I belonged. None of it really fit because it was me trying to be a version of myself through the person of someone else. And because I was a child I ingested all of these ideas and never spit them out. It became a lifelong all you can eat buffet of personas. I knew, the way you know you’re on the verge of a big idea, or a break up..and I didn’t want to know.

I’m sitting here now, in my red Buff headband and glasses, dark grey tank top, no bra, big blue sweatpants, and a worn out pair of grey Converse high tops that used to be my son’s. It took me years to wear grey and blue together because I got the message when I was young that although I liked those colors together it was wrong, and I was foolish for not knowing I looked like a walking bruise. Today I feel beautiful. I smell like frankincense and patchouli. I am learning how to get dressed from my own brain, my body. I bought two of the exact same sweater because I love it and I might wear it every day.

You know how, all of the sudden, you just recognize yourself? I sat down at my desk with my coffee this morning and I know who is here. These moments come more and more frequently. I imagine that there are people who have recognized themselves their whole lives, that they haven’t been living in close quarters with a stranger for what feels like a million years. But for me, I just haven’t recognized who I am. I often feel way behind and like I missed most of my personhood education, that I’m around 14 living an almost 48 year old woman’s experience.