Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist fell into my queue six weeks ago by the hand of my brother, Logan, and quickly rose to the top of my list of favorites. The 208-page narrative recounts a young boy’s prophetic dream, and his journey across the desert in search of treasure; it’s a story of self-discovery, spirituality, and destiny. Simply written, but deeply moving.
At 14, having barely breached teenagehood, I’d never been in love. Then a Chocolate Lab stole my heart.
I dragged myself to my second-floor window, and clung to the sill with white knuckles—my lungs laboring against the thick, hot air. Tears poured from my ducts like unhinged floodgates, and choking back sobs, I watched as he reluctantly backed out of his parking space, and out of my life.
My mother has a habit of snapping pics of various objects with her smart phone, sending them to FedEx, and blowing them up to fit frames too large for the likes of a camera phone. As a designer well-versed in the world of printing, you can imagine my horror; it’s criminal.
“Take your shirt off,” she said. “Hold still.”
Read the first three bars of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” and you’ve essentially just described the precursor to nearly every difficult, uncomfortable conversation you’ll ever have; sweaty palms, weak knees, heavy arms, nerves, vomit. The body’s response to threat of talking is a physiological phenomenon. Because it sucks.
A handmade lunar calendar hangs plainly in my kitchen. It’s composed of black ink pressed deep into thick cotton paper. Each month spirals into itself like a snail’s shell, displaying daily moon phases, and highlighting new and full moons, and zodiac transitions. I peep it every morning.
I cannot see my toes—my child is hiding them. She’s nestled sweetly in my womb, tucked away from the outside, patiently awaiting her exit. I know it’s a girl—I can feel her. My fingers are stretched across the bulge of my belly; it’s soft, warm, and incredibly large.
Six weeks ago, I was inked.
After dizzying myself with concept-crafting, note-taking, researching artists, perusing portfolios, and coming to terms with having my body permanently marked, I offered myself as a human canvas for my blooming heart.
As a uniquely named child, I lost when it came to one of life’s cheaper thrills; monogrammed heart keychains. Dig as I may through the spinning tower of trinkets, I knew I’d never find a “Vicari” among the sea of abundant “Veronicas” and “Victorias.” I never wished for a re-name, but as a tiny, fashion-forward human, a sister just wanted a sparkly Vicari-heart dangling from her backpack. So I often settled for my first initial etched onto some cheap piece of nothing.
At twenty, I modeled nude. My mom called mid-shoot to threaten the photographer, a close friend, with ruthless castration in the event he got fresh. My dad nodded politely at the news as he delicately fingered the invisible shotgun resting in his palms. But joking aside, my experience was wildly exhilarating and wholly empowering; an opportunity to capture a state of being not typically observed and a testament to my monumental self-confidence.