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 was raging 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 have to give them back.

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

This year was the hardest one. The 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 like I’m looking at a narrow strip of light that burns my eyes. The pain is real, only it’s not happening up there. It’s the pain of possibility, of vulnerability, of risk. ‘Once you stop feeling it, you’ve lost your best chance to make a difference,’ Stephen King said. I read those words three times, then turned off the only light in the room and tried to weave new threads. ‘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 lie awake every hour of the night, tired of dreaming about the past and the future that never arrived. I remember the woman I wanted to be when I was 13, 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. But I pray anyway. What else is there to do? Everything that can be done has been done. From the outside, I must be damn good at juggling fire torches. Inside, I burn like the flame on top of the very last part of a 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 have been pages turned by the wind. I hold no memories dear. I remember them like a single, immeasurably long paragraph over which a single sentence runs several 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.’ But dark and wet as they may have been, the texture of my days felt softer than ever. My world is easy to shape. People tugged at it and I let them. There’s not much to protect.

I’m 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 about to 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 wanted to be, ready and willing and wanting to build myself up; none of it. I just imagined that spirits I could hire would come and give me a deep clean. Yes, that would be good.

Millions of brushes scrubbing every hidden corner of my soul with white, foamy lather.

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 airplanes. There’s nothing left to fight for, and there’s nothing left to fight for, so they move on 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 isn’t their home, it’s mine. As soon as the last drop of rain falls off me, I’ll be building castles here again—and over there, too. In that corner, yes. No, I’m in no hurry. I’ll let it rain as much as it wants, for I’ll soon make it shine again.

Smiles like a happy hyena, shaking off water.

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