Favorite word and why

Out in the country, past the city limit sign there’s a girl wandering the woods and creeping along the creek traveling down the county line. Her friends are giggling as they boogie in step with radio tunes.

"Boogie" paints a picture of complete mirth, of dancing with friends until the wee hours of the morning. "Boogie" also details the monster that lurks in the cracks of the closet, a symbol of the unknown. The word describes contrasting concepts: fun and fear. Throughout my life, I juggled with contrasting concepts and identities. My quaint manner and conservative dress clashes with my role as a leader who blasts country music in the car. An atheist attending church seems hilarious, but that is my reality. A Hispanic girl with a barely-there southern drawl is not only unlikely, but laughably cartoonish—my entire existence is plagued with contradictions and polarities.

But there is magic in being a walking puzzle, a mystery few will be privy to see or lucky to figure out. My mouth opens to greet not with broken English, but a “Yall” and a toothy grin. When in groups, new peers dismiss me as a shy introvert but the few familiar with my ways promptly impart their full attention. These contrasts are the foundation of how I meander...

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