Home 9 Issue 9 Arms Wide Open by Miya Woodard

Miya Woodard, age 13


I began working on this piece after an icebreaker activity that my English teacher gave us on one of the first days of school. The question was, “What type of setting or weather is your personality?” This piece is also inspired by my favorite author Deb Caletti’s writing style, which really seems to dive deep into a person’s innermost thoughts and desires through beautifully crafted words.

Arms Wide Open

A girl runs into the world, full speed ahead. The wind tousles her hair, insistent on ruffling her but not affecting her in the least as she sprints, her feet slapping the pavement, one carefully cleaned, pristine Jordan at a time. She’s running with a thrill tearing through her body, the type of adrenaline you feel at the top of Space Mountain, running towards whatever is ahead – adventure, excitement, the thrill you feel when you love your life and you wake up every single day filled with butterflies, because you are nervous. Nervous because whatever could happen could be soul-crushingly sad or flying-into-the-sky happy, but either one is big, exciting and thrilling.

And this girl, she is big, and she is brave, never afraid to speak up or show her truth, although sometimes she feels cowardly and small, a raindrop slowly falling down a window seal, determined yet resigned to its fate. Loud in her poetry, yet quiet through pain, a girl drowned in the roaring noise of the world, a voice ‘’ valued’’ yet not cared for. Challenge is a cliff looming above her that she is not afraid to climb, and although sometimes anxiety fills her head, her heart, a wave of pressure she cannot escape, she does not let it consume her or wash her out to sea. She remains strong, a buoy floating in the waves. She is the kind of person who loves her family, her friends, her writing, her books, her music with her whole heart, like diving head-first into her backyard pool, she loves loves loves with a million heart emojis attached, hugging her family and friends tight with the promise of forever lingering in their embrace.

She is undyingly loyal, willing to march into a battle for whomever has touched her life, for everyone she loves with her whole heart, with her whole soul. She is sweet as the sunrise after the worst day of your life but can be sassy, bittersweet like rain after a drought, funny but annoying, and an extrovert who’s occasionally quiet.

Her personality: the sun setting on the beach, slowly falling into the sea, crystal with purity yet inky with the threats, the grief of the world. The water slowly laps against the sand, washing away what was once set but is now gone, brushed away. That is her: the sea, pulling away what was once there, the sand, rebuilding and recreating, happy with the difference, the change.

Because that’s who she is: someone who runs into change, arms wide open, the wind blowing her hair, feet slapping the pavement. She is scarred, but not scared, filled to the brim with the strength of love throughout her, packed head-to-toe with the power of a beating heart, simultaneously empty and full and cracked but whole. She is made up of who she is, deep down, within her heart, within her soul, past what anyone first sees when they look at her.

She is  brave and shy and sweet and kind and someone whom she wants to one day completely and totally love. She is too hard on herself, anxious and sometimes too opinionated, but she is also strong, one of the strongest people she knows, she is a huge sneakerhead and she loves fashion but also has memorized pages and pages of One Great Lie. She is never alone in her room when music knows her every thought, and she is a writer who puts her power and her hurt and her mischief and her grief through every word that she writes, and one day she will write a book where every word is filled with a familiar pain, but it will change someone’s life.

She is a girl who is slowly growing older and older, who is afraid of never being satisfied, both with the world and herself, but she is struggling every second, she is trying every minute, she is working every hour, and most of all … she is me.