Writer’s note: Several months ago, I wrote a blogpost titled “Storm”, which is an extended metaphor for anxiety. Last night, I wrote an extended metaphor for the peace and relief that has finally found me. This post is written in honor of the personal obstacles I’ve overcome throughout the 2015-2016 school year. I encourage you to draw parallels between these two posts, as they enforce the idea of personal growth and strength. Thank you for reading, and please click here to view “Storm”.- Naima
My body is pleasantly curled in a ball, muscles resting against the mattress beneath my small body. I am in a state of unconscious solace, a peaceful darkness that envelops my weary mind. My soft, gentle breaths allow peace to crawl in through my lungs and stay. A note to those soft inhalations: find your place within me. Look for me when anxiety manages to find me before you do. Let the muscles in my face relax enough so I can at least muster a small smile even on the roughest days. Surround me, bring my pulse to a healthy, resting rate. Let peace fill the void where uneasiness left a scar. Encourage me to remember you, for the body senses chaos when we forget to breathe.
I am as still as I can possibly be, a beautiful embodiment of letting go of trivial matters that beg to weigh on me. Today, my sleep has no awareness of time. I let the hours pass, as inhalations invite peace to run through my veins. I don’t have to worry about confrontation, vulnerability, or being in the confines of that one place where freedom of expression is repressed. But as my body curls into the arms of solace, I know that my soul has become wiser. This growth was not an easy process to catalyze, however. Can I regret the lessons I’ve learned that tore me to pieces before I could rebuild myself over, and over, and over again? Dear Life, I know you are so desperate to ingrain wisdom within my 17-year-old mind. I understand that I had to endure countless storms whose winds rattled my lungs until they couldn’t anymore. I know that I’ve earned the privilege to expect sunny days from this point forward. My heart can heal itself, rebuild my wellbeing a thousand times if it had to. And I will be stronger. And I will be stronger. And I will be stronger.
Forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made. Let me thank you for the lessons you’ve taught me, for I have often said, “We battle the demons of today so we don’t have to face them tomorrow.” I have earned a better tomorrow, an opportunity to let sunlight permeate even the darkest corners of my soul. I have grown. I have learned. And I do not regret that this self-transformation was painstaking. If my heart can deteriorate into a million broken fragments and then repair itself over time, I am grateful.
I have learned how to tame the storm, let my soul absorb the UV-rays that illuminate my skin. I have learned how to forgive myself and forgive others even if the word, “sorry,” was never uttered. I have learned never to be afraid to express myself through words or emotion. If you wish to laugh, let your happiness fill the walls of this room. If you need to cry, give in to your body’s natural desire to relieve stress. And don’t be ashamed to let the tears fall like raindrops on a tumultuous day. It may have thundered and poured, but the sun is coming out so soon. Strength will emerge; it will find a permanent place within you. Don’t ever be afraid to let your supporters weather through the good days and even the rough ones. No one is happy all the time. And that is just fine. We must express ourselves, our infinite range of emotions. And we must do so without self-restraint. Express freely. Confide in those you trust. Don’ be afraid of vulnerability.
You have successfully developed problem-solving skills even when thunder threatened to overpower the voice of reason. You are a beautiful balance between logic and emotion, confidence and humility, strength and grace. A coexistence of powerful traits that emerged after lighting broke through gray skies.
As your body rests against the soft blue blanket, just know that you don’t have to be afraid to wake up. Your breath will naturally find you, and forever, inhalations will invite peace to run through your veins. You don’t have to run anymore, you don’t have to hide or be ashamed to simply express yourself. Lay on your back with your arms outstretched and acknowledge that true liberation has found you once and for all.
Like Andreana said, “You have a character that emits a light brighter than any voice screaming at the night sky,” We will look toward the future, for the storm is now a thing of the past. But the power to emerge stronger after the darkest days will forever be with you. Strength has found you. And it is here to stay.