It has been oppressively hot outside, the air is humid, and it is suffocating. It’s hard to breathe when you are outside AND anxious. I find myself telling me to remember to breathe as though it’s a function that doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to tell myself to relax my shoulders, to cool down, to take a second.
This summer has been full of downs and heartbreaks. Not the typical heartbreaks from summer love or relationships gone sour. I’m talking about the complete, soul-shattering heartbreak that comes from grieving ideas and dreams that I’ve held on to for far too long; the hopes that I used to define a past me. This is the heartbreak that comes when I’ve had interviews with no callbacks or sent in hundreds of applications with no responses. It heated me up until every fear and insecurity boiled up in my chest, sometimes making it too hot to breathe.
And then the clouds come.
And it rains.
Until it floods and I find myself swimming in a vast ocean of saltwater not sure of where to turn. Hope is a hard thing to hold on to in the water. Every time I tried to reach for it, I’d be swept away by another current. One day, I grabbed hope for a bit and let it pull me across the currents onto land. The violent coughing after getting too much saltwater in my throat helped to push out some toxicity. As soon as I landed, I tried to remember what a breezy day looked like, what it felt like, and what I did on those days. I wanted to recreate that feeling, but I couldn’t remember. And then I got help.
And for once, it feels like I have an internal meteorologist that senses when the weather is going awry so I can grab my rain boots before the storms roll in—and the storms always roll in. I trust that I know how to get through it now.
I remember, now, what I feel like on breezy days when the sun shines. I recreate the things that bring me good feelings and come up with new patterns that work for me. And every single time I push through, I am reaffirmed that the sun shines for me.
To me, breezy days sound like my Hammock playlist on Spotify. Click the link and listen with me.
It’s like a drop of honey, a field of tulips blooming in the springtime. It’s a fresh rain, a whispered promise, a cloudless sky, the perfect punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. And it’s the only thing in the world keeping me afloat.”
— Tahereh Mafi