I waded in the ocean as a prayer to wash my soul clean.

I honored the idea that salt might stick to my wounds, might mend the flesh, let me be holy. 

Time sometimes feels as though it slows in South America, like it is consumed by the ebb and flow of my life. Like I control it, like maybe I could consume it – let it drip into me. 

I saw the sun rise and set over the Atlantic Ocean. 

This university.

The Brooklyn Bridge. 

I saw it from behind hospital walls. 

Maybe that was home. I spent four seasons here with the sun. 

I felt life itself discard me, venture beyond me dragging me through, and, also, I felt it coming to a complete halt. 

I swam in the Atlantic under the moon. 

I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize myself. I looked in the mirror and I fell in love with myself. 

I learned to seek a home in what I value. I learned gratitude. 

That feeling of empty helplessness that sometimes weighs heavy on my stomach, and the euphoria of losing myself to the sun and to my soul share the same weight. They create me.

Every second on this earth: lungs inhaling, palms stretched toward the sun, it all matters immensely.

I create my own hope. 

I create my own strength. 

I am the master of my reality.  

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