My heart is well worn and well oiled, soaked in years of suffering, trauma & struggle. It has become overgrown; my love, passions & cravings spreading throughout my chest like 100 year old vines on an old Victorian mansion. It’s a forest of truth dying to get out, branches reaching up through my throat and pulling at my lips, begging me to say something that helps people.
But there are times, though, where fear burns like wildfires inside of my stomach. It wells up inside of my machine heart and stops the words from coming. It stops me, sometimes, from speaking the truth that people around me need to hear. And I know they need to hear it, because I was there at one point, inside a darkness that was seemingly never ending. But I can’t let the aching fear inside of me stop me from helping those that need it.
So I have found a strength. It has been etched deep inside of me for years, an unknown strength that I never imagined I could have. I summoned it up out of me like demons at an exorcism. And the best part about all of this is that you have this same strength inside of you, too.
Who knew that our hearts, as intricately as they were made, could hold such deep feelings, deep purpose, and unimaginable hope? There are places inside of your soul that are just waiting to be discovered, strengths and possibilities that are dying to be unleashed. So what are you waiting for?
I’m not really good at handling some emotions. I’m actually not entirely sure that a lot of us are. We, as individual human beings, are like a mixture of feelings and memories and tragedies and bones and organs and it’s just…it baffles me sometimes; how our layers of skin (despite how many we actually have, I believe we have like three of them) can hold it all in. It’s as if, perhaps metaphorically, we tighten and expand, we change and we adapt. And then, if people bottle all the things they are thinking and feeling up like I certainly do, we start to crack at the edges. And all of those feelings and memories and tragedies start to break through the surface until we feel lost. We don’t know what to do anymore, with all of it, and it terrifies us. So then we start to take these things out on other people, people that we love, people that are the closest to us, these other jumbles of skin and bones and organs and memories and tragedies and feelings. We take it out on them and then we feel regret. Am I wrong or alone on this?
Do I sound absolutely and completely nutso? I probably do.
But these are the things that go on inside of my mind, and I am trying to make some sense out of it all. My thoughts go on and on and on; they don’t stop, ever. Even when I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming about something I thought about during the day and then when I am awake, I’m thinking of what I dreamt about and the cycle continues.
I guess I no longer want to feel like I am alone. Because life is hard. I give out advice, and then I never take it. And in my opinion, the advice I give out is pretty damn good. I’m extraordinary at looking at other peoples’ lives and helping them out the best way that I can, but when I look into the mirror (especially late at night when my thoughts are keeping me awake) I can’t just say, “Nicole, go live your life. Smile and be happy. Let it go.” I guess it’s easier said than done.
But it is late, actually early because it is one in the morning, and I am trying to cope with the things rambling around in my mind, and I wanted to get it all out. So here, there it is.
Call me crazy if you want.
Sometimes, when I find myself in places throughout this city where I used to stick needles into my arms, I start to get some extreme anxiety (as you can probably already imagine). All of the blood inside my body seems to rush to my head, my skin gets a really ugly shade of white, and my stomach starts to lurch. Not only that, but I feel as if someone is putting their big ugly hands around my throat and squeezing as hard as they possibly can. That’s what anxiety feels like to me, anyways. A more theatrical version of it though, I guess. It’s horrible.
Anyways, I was driving down this road and all of the buildings that were scattered beside it brought back memories of a life that I wish I could just forget. Vivid and horrible things that I had done started to rush like waves of guilt into my brain and I was completely consumed by it. It terrified me. Those big ugly hands started to squeeze tighter and tighter until I felt like I couldn’t breathe at all. I pulled my beige 2003 Saturn over to the side of the road, looked into the overhead mirror and kept telling myself what I always tell myself when it gets that bad. “If you can talk, you can breathe.” And then, of course, I started babbling out random things just to make sure I could talk and, to the people that were walking past my car, I probably looked like a crazed schizophrenic. But it helps me, so I really didn’t care. I took a breath of air into my lungs tried to get a hold of whatever peace I had left inside of me.
I finally calmed down.
I’m not entirely sure if I have PTSD or whatever other form of it there is. But I do know one thing. The girl in these memories or flashbacks or whatever I am having on these horrible but often occasions, regardless of whether I know that she is indeed me or not, doesn’t feel like me anymore. She feels like a completely different person. Like some other girl that looks like me and talks like me is stuffing her horrible recollections into my brain when I’m sleeping or something.
And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.
Life is hard, no one ever said that it was going to be easy. There are things that happen to us as human beings that can be difficult to bear. People that we love pass away unexpectedly, plans change in the blink of an eye, money continues to breed corruption, and we are sometimes forced to make unpleasant decisions that we never thought we would have to make. We lose track of time and our sight of what’s truly important gets blinded by the things that aren’t. We are all humans, living side by side on a planet that is so far from perfect. That’s what makes strength so beautiful; we can rise above it all. We can plaster a smile on our face and make the choice to be happy despite all of the darkness. We can find our own individual peace within all of the unrest and violence in this world. Rest in the fact that you are an imperfect creature, but that it’s all going to be okay.
Three years ago, I never thought hope was possible. I never thought I could change and I never saw the possibility and opportunity that was staring me right in the face. I looked into the mirror and saw a woman full of broken dreams; I had scars so deep, the pain that resulted from them sometimes rendered me emotionally paralyzed. I saw a woman that walked around absent of feeling. Her eyes were red and lifeless, her arms were full of needle marks, and her soul was full of despair. This woman was completely alone and her life seemed to have become meaningless.
Listen to me. You are never hopeless, you are never alone, and your life is the farthest thing from meaningless. You are a person, as broken as you are, and you matter. Every star and comet knows your name and there are parts of this world that are craving your footprints. You were put on this earth for a purpose, no matter how ridiculous that sounds. If you are ever struggling with something, there are people out there able to help you. When you feel absent of light, when you feel like you are on the edge and you’re about to fall, there will be someone there willing to catch you. Don’t lose heart.
Everything is going to be okay.