it's because of the beach. the water reflecting the sun back onto my paler-than-pale skin that has forever been my bane. that night was pain with only cold water and aloe for soothing.
the pain has traded out for peeling.
fresh skin. the roughness turning into something smooth.
it's because of the journey. the reflection of the water filling the eyes of my sisters as they grasped my hands and whispered words over things that have forever been my bane.
sage, she called me, and something inside me fought hard.
you remind me of Maya Angelou, another whispered, and I started to crack.
Mother Earth, breathed another, and the first layer crinkled up like paint in the sun.
its because of the words. the reflection of myself, shadowy, in the screen of the computer. the peeling is one of those things you can't predict. there is no magic formula. you might slather yourself in protection.
on your physical skin, it's the best idea. stay safe. stay alive.
but sunscreen on your soul is smothering. certain death.
curling close to the fire, reaching your fingers up. and sometimes the rough layer gets burned off. and then you ache. because oh God, please no more, it hurts. even the laying down on the ground and burying yourself into the ashes // it hurts.
and then you peel. and the first layer falls to the ground like snow, a shedding of the outer dragon layer into a heap of scales alongside the pool. and it burns a little, but that burn reminds you that you're alive and new and big things are springing out of your very pores.