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October 30, 2013

Nakedly Naked. ~ Jaylan Salah

In a world that defies reality, the question is always: why are you showing your real self when all you could do is hide?

Hiding has never been my preferred exercise. I prefer nakedness or walking barefoot on the sand, although the North Coast sand is rough, adorned with pebbles and crusts. Your feet hurt when you walk barefoot and you end up feeling ugly, with all the Guccis and Derek Lams that fill the streets whereas your toes simply sink in the sand and absorb the morning moisture.

You’re just not hiding.

But what if they’re not?

What if they’re really Guccis and Derek Lams and you’re cut off jeans and ruffled hair? To them you exist, but they make you feel like you don’t. They look at your shoes and they see that you’re not wearing anything.

You’re nakedly naked.

They look at your face and they see that you’re not wearing anything. Not a smile that is not supposed to be there. No fake lashes, no eyeliner or mascara. You’re not wearing a bra and your nipples aren’t as beautiful as Kim Kardashian’s. It’s an existential crisis and you’re stuck in the middle of it, for life.

When you hide, you brace yourself to a whole different aspect of living. You watch.

You get tired of watching at times but you can’t help but go on. Others hide by wearing masks. You wear beautiful, flowery masks, tense masks of wisdom, brainy masks of sarcasm, neurotic masks, smartass masks and asskicking masks. All of these masks could be you at times, but you can’t wear them forever.

Forever is a really scary word. You remember the chill that ran down your spine whenever your grandmother concluded a fairytale with a “they lived happily ever after” slogan.

So you’re standing in the face of fate with its gigantic waves.

You’re barefoot, naked.

All your scars are exposed. All your fears are on the table. The waves are rising, a huge tsunami is about to swallow you. You feel the ground shaking beneath your feet. The sand is not anymore soft or bristly. The wind is shifting, probably not in your favor. You’re scared, very scared but you don’t want to run. You’re playing Russian roulette with fate. You’re challenging its very existence and your own existence.

All the things they taught you in books, preached to you in school or spoon-fed you through television, they have no value to you. They don’t matter anymore. As you stand naked facing what’s to come, you realize that you have nothing to lose.

Your fake lashes won’t fall off. Your silicon boobs won’t melt. Your Gucci shoes won’t be ruined by the salty water. You’re intact and whole and raw as the corn cobs before you toss them on fire.

You’re free.

When you come out of the storm, you’re chilled to the bone. You’re soaked. You can’t say that you’re warm or fresh. Your teeth are chattering. Your skin prickles and those tiny hairs on your arms are pointing out like a warrior’s arrow. It’s over though. Your feet are above water, almost above water. The storm is over. The sun rises again. Sand has hardened and dried faster than your hair. As the tide falls again you smile.

Walking barefoot is free.

So are you.

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Assistant Editor: Gabriela Magana/Editor: Bryonie Wise

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