And the reason for the song

for the soldier and the athlete

Johnny Cash’s voice is like sandpaper but in a good way. When I hear him sing, I remember who I am underneath the symbolic tattoos and religious art all over my house, intertwined in the unwritten poems and the well-written and not-so-articulate blogs and journal entries, deep within my bloody heart. I will always be my mom’s pobrecita, the girl child she felt would suffer from the minute I was born. My mama didn’t curse me, though. Her insight was gift and truth. Though I am made of strong stuff, she also knew and knows I am someone softer. I will always be sensitive and vulnerable. I will always be depressed. Even if I keep it together for the rest of my life, I will be always be the girl who cut and scratched her skin, who hid in the closet to cry, the one who has stared into the medicine cabinet and looked longingly at the bridges that cross the bay. I will always be the young woman who could have killed a man. I will always be the woman who has overcome suicidal tendencies. But I’m alive. I will always live.

Two dear friends almost lost their lives recently. They are struggling forward, holding fast to these dear moments of breath and pain. I hold them in my heart. I send them my strength.

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