Confess.

I confess that I have a penchant for denial and a knack for self-sabotage.

I blame my mother.

Let me explain.

My mother has always classified herself as paranoid, to which I have co-signed the title. Outside of any psychological diagnosis (because we’re Sierra Leonean and don’t do that shit, right?) I always could feel the tension my mother had pent up in our morning exchanges. Living in a thirteen floor high rise in Maryland meant having more than one silver Rav-4 in the parking lot, to the dismay of my mother. She became all too familiar with that panic button the key fob. Even called into work one day after she stood in front of a Rav-4 that refused to open, the only plausible option being that someone disarmed her car only before realizing it was the wrong car. There were so many moments that followed, like the car ride to school where approximately seven minutes down the road, she would wonder if she turned the stove off and would threaten to go back home to check. “Mommy, no. Mommy I can’t be late, you know how they get when I’m late. Mommy I promise you turned it off, I watched you.” And just like that, her nerves were calmed. Was I lying? Not necessarily. I believe it is at this very moment where I learned blind denial for protection. I very well may have watched her turn the stove off, but retrospective me thinks that in her moment of panic, I was able to conjure up all types of images that satisfied the narrative of my mother being calm and happy.

Now here I am, twenty-two years old, smiling at my broken bank account and credit because “service is always worth it”. Ignoring all the signs of my faux-healthy lifestyle. I sauteed my kale in two pounds of butter today. My gym membership has been frozen for six months and I blame the comfort of my bed for my unwillingness to leave it some weekends. My favorite word to use is “capacity” because I know I’ve passed my threshold once I left my mother’s womb as a darkskinned queer Black woman, but I’ll keep picking and choosing between my rough days to place the burden of capacity upon. I have truthfully glowed-down following my May 15th graduation. Nothing has been able to surpass the afro weave and yellow dress against by brown skin combination I wore that day. Truthfully, I wonder if I nabbed my mother’s “paranoia” every once in a while.

I confess, I am a mess at twenty-two and am all the more beautiful for fixing my fingers to form the truth. I am eye bags, and a weary back, and more tears than my ducts thought were possible. I am face ridden with middle school acne because stress and not enough water (real talk: water and working in a classroom do not mix).

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I am notorious for romanticizing as a coping mechanism and tiptoeing out of introversion more than I would like to confess. I am in love with a boy and still don’t have the language to express it. I struggle with witnessing change in people and have a tendency to drop before I understand. I am still unraveling conversations about childhood trauma through conversations and flashbacks. I am a rejection of my culminations, and am still trying to meet myself at my intersections. I am a mess at twenty-two and am all the more beautiful for it.

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. I am responding to the “Confess” prompt. Check out the challenge here.

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