They say when you’re young that the world is yours for the taking, that you should run free and never stop imagining. But then you grow up, and suddenly, they say you should focus on a career, finding a mate, and making your mark on the world.
As a recent college graduate, that seems like an awful lot to handle. I’m not done exploring, imagining, or playing pretend yet. I still fear things going bump in the night. Maybe I don’t ever want to grow up or settle down, but that doesn’t change the goals and dreams I have for myself. Life is so magical, and I don’t ever want to see it as anything less than that.
Sometimes when I lay in my bed I shut my eyes tight and imagine what I would be doing if I could do anything. I always picture myself living in a big city with sparkling lights, riding one of those cute bicycles with the basket in front of it on my way to work at a small little corner cafe. Afterwards, I would snuggle up in my flat’s nook with some tea in hand and write down all the stories that filled my mind as I gaze out the window. In the mornings, I would allow my creativity to fill my soul in a room full of textures, colors, and works that shine in a room that heats with the warmth from the sun. Love would be generous and given freely. Laughter would ring in the halls and smiles would greet every guest. I am at peace here; here my soul finds home.
But that’s not reality, I’m not sure it ever will be. My world seems to be crashing down piece by piece draping over the dreams I spent my entire life building up. A part of me wants to just set everything on fire so I can finally be in control of what burns down and what stays up. I don’t know where to place my hope anymore. Do you know what it’s like to prepare your entire life for something you were so certain about seeing through only to have it fall to pieces right before you? It feels as though I’m slowing being stabbed to death with only a small box of bandages to cover the wounds. No matter how much I tell myself that this doesn’t define me, that there must be something great about to happen, I am starting to lose faith in my own words. Is this what it’s supposed to feel like when all your dreams finally come true? You have to lose everything before you gain something? The more I lose of what I thought I wanted, it feels as though the more I gain of what I’ve always imagined. Part of me thinks that I slowly am beginning to no longer fit into this world anymore. It hurts to feel, and nothing offers the comfort I need. I am doing my best to resist the thoughts that are circling the edges of my mind telling me to seek comfort in the pain I left in the past. I know if I did that, it would be the end of my suffering, the end to me.
But I am not and will not be defined by the words on a piece of paper. My soul carries more wondrous gifts and treasurers than could ever fill the pages of all the books in the world. We all carry that, but some allow standardized exams and ivy league dreams to place us in a box of confinement. Either you’re in or you’re out, and right now, I’m feeling as though I am on the out. Unemployed, rejected, and broke. Those are the words I have been letting define my journey these past few months. As the rejection letters roll in I tell myself that I didn’t get in before I even open the letter. Surprisingly, it helps me hold the tears back so I can still manage to read the words, “we regret to inform you” before my eyes swell up. Every letter I receive comes with a cloak of loneliness. No one around to hear my sobs, offer me a hug, or tell me things will get better. I suppose I don’t need that though. Other people live through nightmares daily and find comfort only in those that bring them suffering, so who am I to complain over not being accept into a couple graduate schools?
Well, I am me. I only have my eyes to see through and my story to tell. I am on my own journey in this world just like everyone else. I’m sure my story is no different from the masses, but somehow it stands out in my eyes. I have planted words of encouragement in the deep spaces in my soul for times I find myself wandering back down that broken path. A path I should have never journeyed on, a path that lead to self-destruction, and battered eyes with pulsing wounds. Memories I would often label with regret and remorse are finding themselves being filed under self-development and celebration. It’s not an easy sorting task but one that takes priority when panic strikes. The heavy stifled deep inhales that feel as though they might actually be your last breath, the throbbing in the back of your head from thrashing it against the wall that screams with the secrets you tried to bury so deep hoping you’d forget they were ever truths, and the thorns you joyously pricked yourself on as your mind slipped from reality into a texture of warm lights and fevered hands. I remember that path all too well to ever return, and the thoughts circling around the edges of my mind know that’s true as well so every strike they make is harder and more forceful than the last.
I’m holding on though. I refuse to fade into obscurity in this life when I have so many things left untouched. Wiggling my feet free from the quicksand of emotions I am plagued with, I am finding relief by staring into the eyes of hope in others. Maybe my walls are falling down because I built them too high to see what’s really waiting out there for me. I guess I will just have to embrace the beauty of blinded eyes and allow God to guide me along this journey.