My name is Regina Victoria Nix.

I am twenty one years old.

I have a mother, father, two brothers, and a sister I am estranged from. I have an uncle and grandmother that I never talk to.

I work at Giant Food Inc. I am a bakery clerk that can work as a manager when the need calls. I did this successfully through Thanksgving, this past year, with no manager, prior experience, or help. In fact, the informed help walked out three days before Thanksgiving.

I can double as a baker's assistant and even a baker if need be. I can decorate cakes.

I see people before weddings and anniversaries, the birth of babies, birthdays and graduations and funerals. Sweets hold appeal for all ages and all sizes. I see them all.

My hands are soft and strong, but the skin around my nails and my nails themselves are bitten, red, raw. Not too often tender to the touch, but nervousness has made me take these more inconsequential parts of my physical self... I have become so careless in so many things.

My eyes are blue, as they always have been, and stand to be no less today. I am pale with big cheeks. Rosy for joy, embarassment, or shame. Rain or shine, my cheeks are always red. My lips bitten. It's easier to bite your lips sometimes than say the ugly things that want out so badly- those difficult things that make it hard to look the other person in the eye. Hard truths. I am told I need to work on this, still, after many years.

My hair is brown with blone highlights and usually curly after a shower. I've permed it to enable my laziness. I remain a wash and go girl, refraining from the ruffles and frills my sex employs. I wear glasses still, a new pair, my vision having deteriorated over the past two years. I still am not that size six and still hold a bittersweet sort of feeling about that. I still regard myself as a kind of loathsome thing. I still doubt my mental faculties and my physical appearance. I still tell myself some days it isn't so bad while whole heartedly believing others that it isn't only that bad, but worse.

I am emotionally reckless.

I am always turning and changing and feeling so much it threatens to overwhelm a less organized mind.

I am estranged from my mother in so many ways. We live in the same house, but I hold stilted conversations with her. I find fault in her, as I do myself, but I am aware of a good handful of my worst faults. I want to burn them out of me, while she embraces her own.

I look at my father and some days I don't know why he has resigned himself to the life he has. I know that he is happy, but I wonder...

How much of his happiness is sunk into security?

I am closer with my brothers. I play games with them. I read comics. I am one of the boys, as I always have been, than one of the girls. I talk shop with the best of them, and somehow my self perceived awkward looks no longer matter. I'm just as brilliant and that is all that counts in that arena.

I maintain a radio silence with my sister. I open my mouth and no words come out. How do you tell someone, "I've blamed you my entire life for things gone wrong so long... so long ago in the dark, and only now I've considered the possibility that you were there, next to me, the entire time and I never even knew it? I know why you ran because every morning I want to run as far and as long as I can."

I have an estranged lover that I am still in love with. I made the mistake of calling him this morning. He wishes to be left alone. He has made a life that has put me in a closet. With violence and anger- but I see why he did it. I cannot be angry.

I want to plead, and did, "I was so young! I didn't have a bad thing to know what a good one was!" I want to say, I love you and never... really deep down stopped. I still want to believe you are my match! You make sense and the world made sense when I was with you. I was better with you.

The end of the call turns violent. He pushing away and I holding, grasping, just as violent in its own way. The last words before a click, "Maybe next year!"

It's been long and tiring.

Since I have been in what I can only call an abusive relationship. Married. The man was married. And I? Stupid enough to get involved.

I told you I was emotionally reckless.

It drains the life out of you. It did me. I still wake up feeling hollow and mechanical. My limbs ache and the cold stings. It's all bitter and angry. My tears, when they do come, are still as full of hurt and rage as they were last June. I close my eyes and remember his eyes. When I see someone with his mannerisms I have to touch my stomach and quell the waves of nausea.

I considered suicide twice in the past year.

I called my ex lover the first time. I couldn't the second. He... I told him I would leave him be. He didn't need to be bothered with my life drama. A promise I can keep for a year.

I've never been to that brink. Never twice. But last year was a year for new things.

I don't think I came back the same.

I didn't come back the same in so many ways.

I confided in a professor, at the end of last year before Christmas, on white paper inside of a card that he saved my life. Twice. In all of those bad moments, as they eat you up while you're really weighing the pros and cons of living, he was that warm place of hope. It's nice to be noticed- not for your academic mind, but for the very goodness of your being.

Especially when you feel like you don't have it anymore. You lost it somewhere along the way and no matter how hard you look, you are afraid that no matter how much you attone... You will never get that goodness back again.

I wanted to cry in the hallway outside of his office, when he professed with such sincere, big, brown eyes, "You're a good person."

No, I'm not professor. I'm really not. I wish I could believe it.

"I know you are. I can just feel it."

And in his eyes, he really does. That's the stuff that jump starts the heart.

I am going to school. Maybe to teach. Maybe just to have something to do. I know I do not want to be in the retail slaughterhouse the rest of my life. I watch the worn faces of my manager and baker. Combined, they have fifty two years in the company. Practically a lifetime.

And I know they hate it.

I know that history was the first way I learned to consciously connect what humanity could be about and what I was seeing every single day. Just like art was the way I learned to communicate what was in my head, how I was feeling, to the outside world without fear.

My life is so immediate and so lonely and so many things in such short seconds. It is quiet now. The day hasn't properly begun.

I'm saving up for a car. I'm saving up for driver's education. I'm waiting to run so far away from all of this and to start something new and different. Something untouched by this wreckage.

I'm crocheting a blanket for that professor. The one that saved my life and now knows. The beauty of it is he never had a clue. I'm taking something simple and making it into something... that will be of comfort someday. Blankets are labors of love.

I'm waiting to work in half an hour. I am sitting in the dark. I am rubbing my eyes. I am questioning the validity of this post. I hear the clacking and clicking of the keys.

"Maybe next year!" [I will be forgiven. I will be let in.] We can talk. We can be friends. We can be lovers. We can be classmates. We can become family. We can be so much.

I am Regina Victoria Nix.

I am twenty one years old.