The Storm Before the Calm


Takes a deep breath and exhales. Pauses for a moment. Then begins to type.

It’s been months now. It feels longer, like this has always been my life. If you knew what rages inside me, you too would see the flat cloud formation at the top of the storm. I rain over myself, pull up all the roots, violently sweep everything out of my heart. Something’s got to give. I’ve always been the kind of girl attracted to darkness like mosquitoes are to light. I like a good fight with life. You can never win, but you can’t get any closer to sharing the reins with God either – even if you know you’re going in the wrong direction and will have to give them back.

What can I say? The voice of reason is soft, and my heart is so fucking loud.

This year has been the hardest one. Days blurred into one another. Pick one, pick every single one and you too can laugh at the pattern. The more I stare into it, the more my field of vision shrinks, until I feel I’m looking at a narrow band of light that’s burning my eyes. The pain is real, only it doesn’t take place up there. It’s the pain of possibility, vulnerability, and risk. “Once you stop feeling it, you’ve lost your best chance to make a difference,” said Stephen King. I read those words three times, then turned off the only light in the room and tried to tie new strings together. ‘What difference?’ and ‘How do I make it stop?’ and ‘Do I want it to stop?’

And, ‘Yes. Yes, I want it to stop. I want it so bad, my heart must be glowing in the dark.’

I find myself up at all hours of the night, tired of dreaming about the past and the future that never arrived. I catch reminders of the woman my 13-year-old self dreamed of becoming, and spend most of my time wishing I could empty my whole self into her. I wonder if my prayers are valid, when I only come back with emptiness. I pray, nonetheless. What else is there to do? All that can be done has been done. From the outside, I must be damn good at juggling fire torches. Inside, I’m burning like the flame on top of the very last bit of melted candle.

Ah, the deep calm is still just a concept. I don’t just sit in the storm. I am the storm, coming at me from all sides.

The last few months were pages flipped by the wind. I hold no memories dear. I remember them like a single, immeasurably long paragraph, with a single sentence running across it multiple times. “The air is damp and the sky is pitch black, and I’ve been dreaming every night of warmth and a place to call home, and I’ve been waking up every morning with cold feet in other people’s houses.” Yet dark and wet as they might have been, the texture of my days felt softer than ever. My world is easy to mould. People tug at it and I let them. There isn’t much to protect.

I am ashamed. I should have known every road on my map by now, every shortcut and every detour. This was a map with my name for the capital, a map I let others draw over because the capital was on the verge of collapse, and I hoped they’d know better. Ah, this year, I didn’t know how to rule. I had nothing of the magnificent beast of a girl I set out to be, ready and willing and wanting to build herself up; none of that. I only fantasised spirits I could hire would come in and give myself a deep clean. Yes, that would be good.

Millions of brushes scrubbing white effervescent foam into every obscure or hiding corner of my soul.

But the clouds are slowly breaking. I can feel it. They’re done with me, their last words drifting slowly across the skies like paper aeroplanes. There is nothing left to fight and nothing left to fight for, so off they go to find more exciting lands. I’m becoming bizarrely temperamental. I can’t put my finger on one good thing I was left with, but I know that time will teach me what my ruins mean.

I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t fight the universe any longer than it wants to put up with my fight. That I want to own and honour my dreams and my world again. I am just as capable as I was before and after every final episode. And that they don’t know any better than I do. How could they? This is not their home, it’s mine. As soon as the last raindrop has had its way with me, I’ll build castles here again – and over there, too. In that corner, yes. No, I’m not in a rush. I’ll let it rain all it wants, for I’ll make it shine again soon after.

Smiles like a happy hyena, shaking off water.

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