before I turn 20


The irony isn’t lost on me that I’d written the second piece on the 19th day of March.


A prime number with little room for flexibility. The only way to multiply and get 19 is to do nothing. In the world of arithmetic, multiplying by 1 does nothing.

Tragic, right?

But if you break 19 apart into 1 and 9, the possibilities are endless increase in number.

1 + 9 = 10

9 is a perfect square, so you could break it down into little 3s.

Or, you could build it up into a big 81, and 8 + 1 = 9, plus the 1 you had leftover, that’s 10 again!

Satisfying, right?

It all depends on how you look at it.

I’ve had to look long and hard at my 19.

Continue reading “before I turn 20”


i got 19 in my pocket

19 points on my orgo prelim

19 points on my organic chemistry preliminary exam that i stuffed in my pocket as soon as i got it because i told myself i’d just think about it later, told myself i’d probably read it upside down or backwards or something, i’d just think about it later

i got 19 in my pocket

19 dollars

19 dollars from the 20 that i broke because food is the best way to deal with heartbreak, to heal heartbreak, and that kripsy kreme donut was looking enticing and revitalizing so i gave a dollar to theta apple pie to help fundraise their trip to uganda but now i’m scouring the ground to look for some change or maybe even another dollar because i needed that 20 to be whole

i’m scouring the ground as i walk to student agencies because i have a ticket to buy, i need a ticket to go home and i had exact change but now i don’t so i’m scouring and i’m stressing and i’m missing the sunset that would make me feel whole

i got 19 in my pocket

19 years

19 years that i’ve been on this earth, or is it 20? you know that year when you’re not really here, “my baby’s 7 months and 3.5 days old”, okay great but what does that mean? i can’t do mental math anymore, 1 + 1 always equals window but that’s all i have left

besides these 19 years in my pocket

19 years, yet i feel infinite

i feel never ending

i feel so immense and so full of depth that i cannot be contained, i cannot be constrained, i feel too free

i feel like my 19 years are full, i feel like i won’t find what i need to make 19 20

19 years means i can’t tweak my favorite love song anymore, “you are 19 going on 20” doesn’t match the melody that i wanted to sing to, that i wanted sung to me

i got 19 in my pocket

19 questions

19 thoughts that end in “i don’t know”

19 answers i don’t have

19 maps i can’t follow

19 feels so incomplete

there was so much i wanted to do at 19, by 19

was it even worth getting this far? how many sunsets did i stop to see?

it feels like i felt my 19 scouring and stressing and missing too much to make 19 20



the month i’d turned nineteen

i decided to write a book

i’d been saying it for ages but when i’d think about the pages i’d have to fill i’d just crumble under the responsibility i knew that God had given me

i was overwhelmed

like i had been for years, but it felt like my cries were falling onto deaf ears

and it felt like motivation

to finally be heard 

so the month i’d turn nineteen

i decided to write a book

none of my old poems would be in it and the pages would be granite

or maybe crimson

maybe periwinkle

but it would be beautiful

maybe you’re turning nineteen or twenty two or seventy three but please don’t be like me if you have a book you need to start, or any piece of art, anything that’s on your heart

maybe today’s the day