I am walking through a field of sunflowers, feeling the golden warmth of the sun on my freckled skin. Closing my eyes, I shoot out of my arms as I walk and let the petals tickle my palms. The world feels peaceful, for once, and with my feet firmly planted on the ground, I never want to leave. The wind whispers in my ears and I listen eagerly, expectant of reassurance and hope. All I hear is fear. What if this peace gets taken away? Do I deserve this happiness? Am I supposed to be here?
Pulling, pulling, pulling.
So, I hold on. I try to grip into this moment, but the wind is pulling me away at my feet and I can’t help but get swept up in the torrent. The flowers are sucked into the swirling cloud of winds and into the darkness, and I scream out in mourning of the peace that I knew was too good to be true. Clouds roll in one by one and I can’t tell if the growling is from the thunder or the growing snarl that anxiety bellows in my brain. The sunflowers have been replaced by barren trees and their branches fight each other in the howling wind, much like the fighting thoughts in the storm of my mind. The criticisms barrel in, one after the other, attacking my self-worth at its roots and promising to uproot my entire sense of belonging that was as fleeting as the sunshine that once illuminated the beauty of this land. Now, I am enveloped in darkness. Just like the wind, I could put up a fight, but would there be a point?
Sinking, sinking, sinking.
The ivy below entangles my feet and pulls me down into the valley. A scream makes its way from my stomach but gets caught in my throat, as scratchy as the thorns from the stems that dig into my sides. The lightning that strikes high in the dark clouds is the first flash of light that I have seen in what feels like an eternity but has really been a short while. I feel as if I have been sinking my entire life. The ivy spreads over my entire being and I come face to face with its glaring green leaves that graze my skin, littering it with goosebumps in fear of what could possibly happen next. Maybe, I will become the forest. I will be ingrained in the storm and rise up with the wind, instead of sinking. Maybe, I will become lost in the Earth; I already feel as if I have lost some of myself. So, I let go. Let go of hope. Let go of fear. Let go of feeling. I am numb. That’s when something began to tug at my hand, pulling me upward.
Pulling, pulling, pulling.
Air fills my lungs. Light fills my eyes. There is something rough grasping tightly onto my right hand, and I use all my remaining strength to hold onto whatever it is. Maybe, there is hope. I am lifted out of the Earth and the ivy falls from me effortlessly. Replacing the glaring green of the ivy is the sparkling green of your eyes, speckled with gold flecks that promise me a hope that was once burned by flashes of lightning. Standing face to face, staring into your eyes, the darkness fades. Everything fades but you and me. My feet are no longer floating, and no longer sinking, they are rooted in the present moment. The winds, just like my thoughts, still, and my breath, that I didn’t even know I was holding, releases. Goosebumps populate my skin, but this time not in fear, but rather in the excitement that is electrifying my entire being. Maybe, I can feel. I feel joy. I feel hope. I feel at home. The winds return ever so often to whisper their fears of losing the joy in this moment, but I have learned that it is not the absence of fear that we should long to find. It is the hope that can overcome the fear that we should look for, and I have found that hope in you.