Bloodroot

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I remember a moment when I was 19 having an experience in the wild, in nature, in which I celebrated myself and stepped across a threshold in which I could love myself for who I was. Childhood sexual abuse for many years had broken me and silenced me. Somehow, on a warm spring day, when streams were just thawing, I found myself gravitating towards meeting the cold stream. I could hear the water flowing from high up on the steep meadow. I ran and tumbled and ran and tumbled down the hill, and came to land near a patch of blood root, a plant I knew I could dig up and find the joy of red face paint within its root. Everything happened so fast. I snapped the root of the plant in half and smeared it across my cheeks and painted my arms and legs with it. I stripped down and plunged into the cold stream. Bloodroot. 19 years old and coming into my own. My body felt powerful and strong. My body was beautiful. And I felt in that moment that no one could own me.