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Seven Years



Seven years has always been a big milestone for me. The first time this milestone became a goal, was after reading a post- that truthfully I am not 100% certain holds any scientific backing. But I was a teenager. I read that every seven years your body is completely replenished with new cells. As a victim of sexual violence, seven years became a goal. It was the focal point of my first spoken word poem. It was a pivot in my healing. Seven years is hard, and lengthy, but it’s a fresh start.

Today is a really difficult “seventh year.” Because before I had found that article (or social media post- I don’t quite remember.) I was in a legal battle getting justice, my mom was battling lung cancer and I did not know if I would lose her. I was drunk, more often than I was not. I began class with vodka in my water bottles, I could not sleep without near overdosing on sleeping pills. I was not functioning. I was barely eighteen, I was a still a kid. And with my very underdeveloped brain, I could not understand how one person could endure so much pain and continue forward. I saw no realm of possibility where I could shift or move on from any of it. I thought, “Man this is my life, this is all that I am, and I know nothing outside of it.”

But it has been seven years. Seven years since I made an incredibly stupid decision. I am so fortunate that the decision a child made, to not carry on- was not concrete. And when that TikTok trend made its way around, “I am so glad the world didn’t end when I was 17.” It made this seventh year, so much more profound.

I am so glad the world did not end when I was..18. Because I am 25. And in 3 weeks time I will be throwing a birthday party for my soon to be four-nado. Because every job I have had since I was 18, has been one where I show up for others in a way I so desperately needed people to show up for me. I do volunteer work that genuinely makes my heart so overfull. I have created connections, I never dreamed “a person like me” could foster. And even the people I have lost along the way. I still listen to music they showed me, and I still cook recipes they taught me. The tremendous amount of death I have faced in loved ones. I know that I have profound memories I will carry with me often. And they get to live on through me, because I am who I am today because of those experiences. And I never would have gotten this far without them.

What younger me didn’t understand- is that sometimes things hurt because they matter. Having my security shaken as hard as it did hurt because, I matter as a human being. And there was no right from anyone to threaten another human being’s safety. My mom getting sick with cancer hurt because she matters. She is my mother. The people I lost I grieved because they mattered, and the love and familial connections, mattered.

Profound hurt happened, because I am living a profound life. And living matters. My life means something. And for the last seven years, and for many more- I still get to live. It will be messy, there will be friction, but there has also been profound love and joy. There will be more.

Be Safe,

Claira

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