My name is Sydney and I have been alive for seventeen years. My thumbs are different sizes, not because my sister slammed a door on my hand when I was three, but just because I was born that way and I have the constellation of Cassiopeia in moles on my arm so no matter where I am in the universe, I will always have a point of reference. I have a scar on my forehead from a playground accident that defined the second grade and a scar on my neck from a booboo in my heart, but not like the scar in my heart from when my mom was diagnosed with cancer or my grandpa died of a heart attack last spring or my dog ate rat poison and we had to bury him under the Douglas firs by the ocean. The corners of my eyes crinkle when I smile sincerely, which doesn’t happen very often, and I almost never cry because I was teased in the fourth grade for letting the tears come too easy. I am terrified of crocodiles and rattlesnakes and leaving phone messages but also responsibility or imperfection or being abandoned by a friend. Four years ago, I decided to shrink myself so I could shrink my craziness and self-hatred and starve the demons that torture my head but it didn’t work so I am learning to love the muscles rippling through my legs and my stomach and my arms but also the layer of love running under my skin. I collect plane tickets to remember where I have been and pieces of foreign languages to hold other cultures in my pocket and poetry when I find the perfect combinations of words that make my heart ache in the good way and beach glass to remind me that beauty is ongoing, that beauty is eternal. That through the crashing of waves upon the shore beauty will endure; that through the pain and suffering and hardship of the past years I will prevail and emerge changed yet remain beautiful. Sometimes I say yes to too many things and I think I can do it all but I begin to crumble under the pressure and I am too scared to ask for help. Sometimes I help people for the sole purpose of escaping my life and planting myself completely into theirs, to distract my thoughts from the chaos with the mundane work no one else wants to do. Sometimes I am overcome with body racking anxiety and the only thing I can do is close my eyes and breathe until it’s gone. I cried when I turned seventeen because I felt like my childhood was sand slipping through my fingers and I couldn’t hold on.