Gray

“Your journey has molded you for your greater good. And it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”

-Asha Tyson

These past few months have been truly a rollercoaster ride, in every sense. So fast–yet so incredibly slow with anticipation and anxiousness. Click click click–your stomach is in your throat, waiting waiting–you know you are going down soon enough.

Close your eyes, and just like that, you are thrown around at unprecedented speeds. Maybe it’s exhilarating, maybe you even throw your hands up and laughter escapes into the atmosphere as soon as you exhale it out. Maybe you feel as if you are defying gravity. But maybe you’re cowering, gripping the handle, gritting your teeth. When will it be over. Your body resisting every dip and turn; you aren’t made to be tossed around like this. Silent tears, but the wind dries them up as soon as they fall. So when the car comes back to the station, everyone around you is laughing, but your knees are shaking and your brain feels confused–but the smudged mascara and hesitant steps are mistaken for signs of enjoyment, and you are left trying to fit this mold.

Yes, the past few months have seen me at all time highs, and also at pretty much the lowest of lows. Abundant joy and laughter and self-actualization have come along with darkness and days curled up on the cold tile floor and eyes glued to stark white walls. I have been living my life in extremes and let me tell you, it is exhausting.

Tonight, after a good string of (figuratively) sunshiny days, finding warmth in my soul to power me through the record breaking cold, feeling like I had finally unlocked some secret to happiness, I was knocked back down yet again. I felt it slowly creeping back all day, from the moment my mind started to wander to when tears welled up in my eyes for no apparent reason while I sat in class taking notes on 1960s poetry. And then the night came, and I wondered how in the world I had, just yesterday, felt like a whole new, happy me, living in an eternal day?

And I started to get angry. How much of my life I feel like I have wasted, living in this black & white world! How many smiles have been stolen from me by my demons? How many opportunities have I missed because of this never ending battle between the person I know I am and the evil that tries to make me into something else? 

Then I read this quote, and it really shook me. I always say I am the strongest believer in not looking back, not harboring guilt, and living in the now. Because the woulda shoulda coulda’s are the worst thing that can happen to an intelligent brain–trust me, I’ve been there. Maybe all of this yo-yo-ing back and forth between extremes is just evidence of the fire that is burning within me, just waiting to be set free. Waiting to warm the hands of those who feel that they are frozen, waiting to give light to those who are stuck in the darkness, waiting to burn bright but steadily, like a newly formed star, like the Sun.

If I have learned anything about myself throughout my two decades of life, it is that I am, in fact, an extreme feeler. I feel everything so deeply and so strongly–I am so determined, so passionate, so ready to apply myself, to make a difference. I think where I get stuck is in the waiting–waiting for what? I am constantly stockpiling, hoarding opportunities, preparing for the worst, putting myself in the best possible position for…what?
I have a tendency to live in anticipation mode–constantly preparing, setting up, toning, fine-tuning, tweaking, perfecting. But you know what? Life is happening right now. What am I waiting for?

It’s not completely my fault–our society kind of sets us up for this kind of thinking. Do really well in high school so you can get into a good college. Once you’re there, work really hard and build up that resume so you can get a “good” job. Once you get that job, do your time and don’t drag your heels so you can climb up the ladder. And then…and then..and then what?
Living like this, you might as well be a hamster on a hamster wheel. Run three more laps and you’ll get a piece of cheese. But once you take that bite, you’ll crave more, but in order to get more, you must keep running.

Well, to this, I say I’m tired.Tired of waiting, of anticipation. I am living in these bursts of extremes because I have been waiting for life and the real me cannot be contained behind these constraints–I need to be released. Not necessarily to go out and win a Nobel Prize, but just to take advantage of the freedom, the forgiveness, the unpredictability, that living in the gray has to offer.

So, Madeline, let your anger be your motivation. Days will continue to turn into nights and time will keep obliviously ticking, but I hope that tomorrow I can wake up and be content that all of the struggling and the ups and downs have led me to exactly where I am supposed to be–here, now. And right on time. 

xx mm

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