Why Crying In The Middle of An Airport Was The Greatest Moment of My Life

My boarding time had inched close enough to the present that I began to sweat a little. It was only after I had to remove a pair of shoes from my oversized travel bag at the check-in counter that I became nervous.

“See, I told you taking out the boots would help cut enough weight,” my dad said as he grabbed the pair of shoes I removed from the large purple bag. I rolled my now 50-pound bag through that little section of the airport check-in counter. I just kept throwing in extra stuff that I thought I would need during the summer abroad without thinking about the overage charges. Nearly everything in my room was able to fit in that mobile monstrosity. I had just enough time to get rid of a perfectly good water bottle and take a deep breath before stepping into the back of the airport security line.

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The Birthday Hike Through Dante’s Inferno

On a hot sunny day in July, I took my sister into the woods to hike for her birthday. I understood that she probably wouldn’t care for it, but everything was closed due to a global pandemic. I knew she loved seeing beautiful waterfalls and what she referred to as a “crick,” or what the rest of the world called a stream or river. I had chosen a trail well known to have flowing water year-round, and so we packed our hiking bags, grabbed extra water, and headed out in our ball caps and sunglasses. However, the well-intentioned birthday trek went a little different than expected.

About three meters into the hike, we found ourselves surrounded by vibrant poison oak. The leaves from the unwanted sticky oil-covered brush had left us ducking and scooting through the forest like two overzealous participants in a cheap laser maze. Still, we pressed on with our goal set on the beautiful stream–I mean crick that we were promised. I looked back to check on the birthday girl whose expression was contorted into a gnarly game of face Twister. It was then that I knew I was the worst gift giver.

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Why I Kidnapped My Friends

I grew up in a predominantly white, rural town. Some people identified as Latino or Hispanic, but in every single class that I was in, whether it be dance, school, gymnastics, or karate, I was always the darkest one. There would be another Black person occasionally, and it wouldn’t be until I was able to explore more around town that I finally saw the rest of the community. The ones with darker skin like mine were, quite literally, segregated on the other side of town. None of the people I hung out with even knew about it. My classmates would even freak out when we got another Black boy in class.

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Finding Courage

How Briefly Getting Lost In The Wilderness Made Me Realize We Should Be More Like Ron Weasley

I heard rustling from the freely growing shrubbery that lined the dirt trail, and then I saw it crash from seemingly nowhere about 20 feet ahead of my trekking poles. The crash sounded like the moment a riding horse shifts from a trot to a full gallop. I could hear the sheer power of the hooves and the weight of the large animal as it slammed onto the narrow ledge of the rock face several thousand feet above the last human I saw. The doe quickly rolled from where it landed on its side and shot up before staring in my direction. I froze. The deer froze, and we made eye contact for what seemed like a full 20 seconds.

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You Are Afraid, And I Understand

I had let it go for years, but the onslaught of deaths around me finally being publicized made me speak up to you, my friend. I know you will take your time reading this, but understand that this isn’t a message that comes from a place of bitterness and malice. I know that you are afraid, and I understand.

I was fearful too, but having fear doesn’t justify anything. Fear is just a lack of knowledge. The second you understand something is the second you stop fearing it. Through understanding, you find room to grow and begin to share love and kindness.

Once upon a time, before I knew what bisexuality was, I struggled with the thought of having to choose whether or not I would live my life as a lesbian or fake only like guys. It was silly. I had heard of the sexual orientation in high school, but I didn’t really believe it existed until I was forced to open up and discover more about myself in college.

I dove deep into the queer community, educated myself, and have since dedicated a lot of my time and experiences with writing towards activism. I looked at every side, spoke to other people with varying backgrounds, and then came to a more compassionate conclusion. It doesn’t change the fact that I was a complete ass in high school and that I was once very ignorant, but I can do my part now to help facilitate knowledge and introduce others to concepts that are new to them.

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Turning 30 During A Pandemic

Photo by Craig Adderley

It was late March when I started to send the first of many handmade and store-bought cards through the mail. Each package would be lightly sprayed with a disinfectant like unbathed women spritzing pungent perfume before the invention of indoor plumbing. Like everyone else, I had a different idea in mind for 2020, and I had to adjust to a changing world. I felt most terrible for the kids who missed out on seeing friends from school, students who missed out on graduations, and those who have lost loved ones during this time. However, I couldn’t help but also feel a little bummed that the kids I used to hang out under The Tree with in high school would all be turning 30 away from each other during a pandemic.

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How Camping Can Spark The Next Renaissance

Prominent prolific musicians, or those who just go off into the woods, often come up with magnificent ideas and creative projects when they camp. It refers to periods when they go off with a bunch of people to create an album. It could last anywhere from days to months at a time, but usually, it becomes a moment in their careers when masterpieces are created. The same can be done for other artists of different crafts.

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The Drive-Thru Theater Adventure

The first time I ever drove on the highway was the day I left home for college. I gripped the wheel, white-knuckled, and waited for my car to swiftly slide off the mountains of the Grapevine’s edge for the entire two and a half hours it took to drive myself and my room full of belongings in the infamous minivan. I spent the majority of my first year driving around during a time without regularly available smartphones as an inexperienced driver of only a year lost with an equally confused friend.

In fact, we got lost so often from not printing out directions ahead of time from MapQuest (not Google Maps) that we would jokingly call the mishaps adventures. The cellphones that we did have barely went on the internet, and when you did accidentally click the internet button, you had to click out really fast, or your mom would yell at you for racking up her bill. I could use my aging Chocolate LG sliding phone to make calls, take photos that looked like they were taken with a shoe, and play the highly-sought-after game of snake.

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The Leap Year Timeline

Mobius Arch, Inyo County, California
Mobius Arch, Inyo Canyon, California

My life makes sense when you look at it in Leap Years. It’s more confusing to look at my life when you look at every year in between. It’s as if I’ve only ever hit the correct axis of time if you scrunched up the detailed map of my journey to get here—the day before the day that only exists every four years.

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#OctPoWriMo: Oct 24 – 31

October 24: Her

Sometimes I think about it in swiftly passing glances,

That it were me that you had chosen instead of her.

I ponder for a moment, but what I find in my intent is that I wouldn’t have lived my life this way.

I would have never climbed mountains, ran marathons, or have seen so many places.

I would not be the girl happily sitting here today.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Although a lot is what I endured,

But where I want to be and what I have loved along the way is being able to meet so many brilliant faces that have shaped the girl happily sitting here today.


October 25: Pretty

She was pretty.

Pretty enough to paint every line and curve that defined her face.

She could have been a portrait. Perhaps, she was a portrait, and we had been tip-toeing around a pretty inanimate object in the middle of the living space.

Room, she captured all of it, a space filled with eyes all resting on her.

She lived her life oblivious to the stares from the crowd.

She could kill any person with glancing murder.

She could have been an assassin. Perhaps, she failed at being an assassin because for her entire life she was a killer.


October 26: Light

I saw the light leave your eyes like the setting sun sinking softly out at sea,

And like the twilight of the evening I noticed the dark and grew concerned.

I was alone now under the floating tarp covered in thousands of twinkling lights.

Your light was no longer beside me.

And all I could do was continue moving forward.

Then suddenly, sometime soon, I know another sun will rise to greet a new day,

And I, like the dawn of the morning, will be drowned in warm light again.


October 27: Meaning

He asked me what I would say to God if I could have any question answered,

And I said that I would have little to say.

If I had to go on living after the question I would endure the rest of a life substandard,

And I would feel cheated at the end of the day.

To know what you shouldn’t know takes away the mysteries of life, And that is not how you should live.

You do the best you can until you reach the afterlife

Leaving everything else on earth with more stories to share and love to give.


October 28: Memories

We walk haphazardly down the street with our fake smiles

And all I think about are the other times we’ve been here in this place.

You think your own set of unique questions and I watch as your mind runs a race.

There are so many memories, but we comment on none.

We never pause to recollect or relive the fun,

And that’s how I knew we were over and passed the point of done.

I ended the relationship in my mind in an instant as if I solved our problem with a gun.


October 29: Language

I see your mouth move and contort into different shapes,

But I do not understand any of the sounds it makes.

Your voice has changed and the sounds that leave your body are unknown.

I listen to you like I’m having a conversation under water over the phone.

I know less of who you are as you go about your day. Your interests are different and you only deeply consider your pay.

Your familiarity grows strange as I lose my grasp of who you are.

You become the blurred details on the side of the road as I speed by in my car.


October 30: God

I am not a man.

I am the whole Universe,

Though no one believes.


October 31: Friendship

Here we are, five hundred and seventy- four fortnights after we first said, “hello.”

We were babies then and couldn’t imagine a life at the time where we ended up together.

You were the wild one, and I was the girl that was mellow.

We both rubbed off on each other and continue to evolve on this journey forever.

You said once that we were soulmates and I believe it to be so.

I think about this sometimes during the day, and I promise to find you in the next life when we both go.