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I’m twenty-one today. It’s funny to think of having dreamed up this blog as a seventeen year old, to have saved it up to write as a reward for finishing high school, to have thought I’d challenge myself to write it for a year, until it became a means to a community and a way of processing the world. I called it Zero at the Bone for a very particular reason. I believe in going back to the source, remembering what I’m doing here, remembering who I am, remembering what keeps us from justice and keeps striking us to the bone. I believe that the pursuit of justice requires honesty and a clear head, approaching the world and yourself with love in your heart.

That’s hard to maintain, I find. And I’m no better at it now than I was at seventeen. It’s easy to engage with the world in ways that are harmful, to let the important things become obscured, to deny yourself nourishment. I like to think of people as being like water: you take things in and let them flow through so that you can experience them, and sometimes this beautiful clear substance is logged with sediment. Sediment can be a useful thing, can give you substance, but at times it clogs you up and drags you down. Clarity takes work to maintain, and it’s impossible to keep yourself absolutely clear. Hence the constant need to re-engage, check in with yourself, expose yourself to new ideas, and know that personhood is never a completed project, and that social justice isn’t yet.

Letting things in doesn’t mean being subject to them, and it doesn’t mean letting your boundaries collapse. Water is pliant, but it is also strong. Integrity doesn’t just mean sticking to your principles, but also maintaining the boundaries of your self. It’s a matter of remembering to be open to the world without collapsing your being.

You have to keep remembering to go through the world with an open heart.