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June 28th, 2007 - Heather Hill

What I would say to the girl that was me, lying sprawled on a couch in the dark ten years back. Girl that I was, who had trekked 29,011 miles around the world, living in 5 countries in 6 months, who belonged in part to each place, left something in each; perhaps discarded like garbage or lost like luggage but, maybe, planted like a seed? What I would say. Slumped there in a salty sea of saddened, weary tears not knowing where next, where from, or who I was.

Would I say, girl, clean yourself up and shake off your pounds from pondering in a pool of self pity and despair? What is this diet of stolen midnight wine from the bottle in a basement crouched in the dark by a cabinet, teaching your sister to drink and to hide? Who else is so privileged as you, to have traveled all these places, know these languages you do not but do know and isn't it a fact that you are lucky to be someone with so much to lose?

What would I say to this girl that I was, holding myself together curled in fetal supplication of comfort? Girl, you just learnt a rain dance in the desert of northern Kenya; laid bare beneath a smoky black diamond crusted sky, heart racing tracing infinite paths and now you just lie here and cry? What is wrong with you?

What would I say? That in the loss of everything we know we find ourselves? We only struggle against this pain because we think we should not experience it, because we have wrongly taught ourselves or perhaps been trained to think that pain and hurt and struggle are an aberration when they are not. Only, life. The fighting flight of a creature from caterpillar to butterfly; the gasping wrenching mother’s battle to the first earth quaking cry of the newborn babe or the silence that says, it was too beautiful to be; it is gone; it has fled.

I see this wounded girl bleeding out the loss of all she might be but is not but perhaps is? Wondering what is hers and what she belongs to and what does this word even mean, where does it come from; to belong? Does this mean someone claims us as property or beloved? Is it a stamp in the passport or a green card we wave about and what of that passport to begin with? First country and then people? Or people first, as it is people who make the country or perhaps they don't. Perhaps the shape of a place shapes us, so that the smells are our sinews and the history our bones and the culture the musk we must permeate, dissipate on the world; a spray so we can own and possess the way we ourselves have been.

I still wonder how right and wrong are so wrong and right and what is the "right" way to read a book and why we use these words of right or wrong so devotedly casual; how we know what tools to use for eating or do we use tools at all and what does it mean to kiss to bow to be naked to be free to be - me?

But I would say it is okay to weep a while, and then rise again in phoenix song. Why limit yourself when even diamonds have many facets and yet they are whole. I would say, be broad as a tree that is rooted in the seven continents and draws from every blood only to pour out into the sky and sea. This is free. This is you. And it is beautiful.


A nomadic international, Heather Hill moved to DC in 2013, claiming the US capital as her eighth capital city to call home. As a writer, artist, and human rights activist, she spends the time she is not in theaters, at her day-job, or travelling by serving on the leadership of the United Nations Association for the National Capitol Area. Heather particularly loves the intersection of art, civic engagement, and activism, and enjoys writing and speaking on the topics.

You can help on the global and national stage with a donation the United Nations Association of the National Capitol Area, where Heather serves as Chair of the Human Rights Committee. There may even be a chapter you can join in your own area! Visit



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