Comfortable.

I pulled my favorite scarf—a black and brown pashmina—from its hook, and draped it on my crown. With the tips of my fingers, I nervously swirled the soft fabric around my face, carefully weaving each fold beneath my chin and around my shoulders. My mane escaped in protest, but I was thankful for its coverage, if only to hide the unease I’d created for myself.

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Naked.

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.

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Death.

I’m lucky to never have felt the sting of death.

My paternal grandparents died when I was too young to comprehend what it meant or felt like to lose someone special. My parents, siblings, and relatives are alive and well, mostly. My friends too. Pets have passed, and while devastatingly so, mourning that loss hardly compares to the deep-rooted sorrow of losing a loved one.

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