By Sofia Ruiz, TIWP student

I hate it when you burn my grasping fingertips. But I love the warmth, and the moment before the sting – I am invincible. I don’t need someone to tell me that I am alright. I don’t need you to comfort me.

I got my own back.

People warn me that I’m playing with fire, that I’m treading on thin ice, that I have to be more careful – to pick my battles. But I have spent my whole life in nice little boxes, so adults can come by and pet me on the head; coo how sweet and wonderful I am while I yip like a little lapdog hoping for a treat.

I love the way fire looks, I love the melting wax that molds in my hands, but all too quickly flaking off into stubborn pieces.

They tell me not to play with fire, because that is how you get burnt, but I know that you can get burnt lots of other ways. Like trying to get bread out of a toaster, or checking on a pan of muffins in the oven, trying to check if the radiator is working. I’ve gotten burnt by a friend’s cold shoulder, by someone telling me to shut up, by a teacher asking me to tone it down. There are plenty of things in this world that hurt more than fire licking up palms.

I don’t mind the scars. I just know that fire is so much more than a sharp pain, and a few rough days. Fire is the end of everything that has ever happened to me.

It hurts to have smoke fill up my lungs—like my insides are choking up—being covered up in an ashy layer of soot. But there is a fire inside the pockets of my heart, releasing heat as the valves open, like a furnace. I swallow coal down and out come flames licking up my throat. It does burn, it stings and scars, and it doesn’t get easier. But without the orange torch and the perfect blue cone inside of me, there is not much else.

I think passion is the best thing anyone can ever have because you can be brilliant or kind or courageous, but you can’t really be any of these things if there is not a little boiler room inside of you, making you fight.

People tell me not to play with fire – but they can’t possibly understand that it’s worth it to get burnt.

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