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By Nicole Hicks
*Editor's Note: This essay is the first of several essays from our "Rebirth" series. Learn more about the series and submit your own by reading the content at this link. TW/CW: This essay contains references to sexual assault.
I flash a quick, clever smile when I open the door, as if I hadn’t known he was coming. Really, I waited by the door until I heard footsteps. My gray tank reveals a splash of fiery, lacy crimson if I move in just the right way. He comes bearing gifts: the quintessential Saturday night combo of cheap pizza and even cheaper wine.
Before I know it, there’s a berry-colored lipstick stain on my wine glass and we collectively decide to relocate in the name of comfort. A comedy special that’s not very funny plays from the small TV in the corner of my room. I’m sleepier than I should be. My eyes are heavy.
I am startled awake by my mind and body racing each other to figure out what is happening to me. The lacey bra is ripped, discarded on my bedroom floor reminding me that I, too, am just disposable. The color of it mimics the blood I taste in my mouth. And it’s raw, and it’s painful, and my eyes are black but my rage is red and I come crashing down.
And I’m left on the ground. My feet are touching the warm earth and despite the humid, summer air, I shiver like I did on that winter night. I have been uprooted, pieces of my dignity scattered on the ground below me. I have lost everything and yet, I think I can take a step forward, then another.
My steps lead me into a wonderland made of both nightmares and renewal. It’s as if I have been paralyzed in a cold, dark forest but slowly, my mind thaws with my body. The further I walk, the more streaks of sunlight peak through the trees. The once-wicked branches around me are starting to look tie-dyed where the green meets the splashes of burgundy and gold. It smells like fall. It’s changing. Everything is changing.
I’m not sure of much, but I decide I’m sure of this: building a new life begins on the ground, among the dirt and the dust. The prettiest part is the rebirth itself, that we can take the sinister and turn it into something bold and worthy and beautiful.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.