On hopes and tribulations

Never have I felt so sure of something before; there was nothing I wanted more. In the process, never have I experienced a flood of support emanating from loved ones, either — a first in my soon-to-be twenty-five years of earthly existence. Equally, never have I felt the pain of rejection so deep, like needles to my bones. The highs of highs and the lows of lows — as if I’m riding the waves of the tidal season. “Is the universe testing me?” I ask myself.

I arrived at work early and sat in the basement casually scanning my emails. My heart stopped. Suddenly, the future was robed in utter darkness as it was at the mercy of someone who couldn’t, and wouldn’t, help me. Yet the rejection itself didn’t feel like a rejection of what I was aspiring to do, and my hopes and dreams — it felt like a rejection of my person altogether. Pandora’s box opened and the wounded parts of myself claimed for themselves full freedom. I felt the pain intensify.

There were two people in me: the wounded child — vulnerable, fragile, irrational — and the all-knowing mother — wise, nurturing, centred, the light in the dark. The child in me wanted to cry, to scream. But the motherly voice in me said, as she always says in her nurturing voice, the only words that could calm me: “Don’t cry, Little One.” At that moment, I found in myself chaos, and also the deepest calm. I was simultaneously an eruptive volcano and the stillness of the sea.

It was time to begin work. Drained of energy, I sluggishly walked up the stairs, greeted my co-worker, and feeling the sudden gush of cold crawling up my skin, told her I’d quickly go back downstairs to grab my coat.

“Are you feeling okay?” she asked with genuine care and empathy.

“Yes, I just feel really cold.”

But the cold I was feeling was a cold emanating from somewhere deep within me. Nothing could’ve kept me warm, but the hug of my mustard coat against my skin, which made me feel like Little Prairie Girl in a yellow raincoat, was itself comforting.

My co-worker had to leave in an emergency, and as I was alone with my thoughts, the anxiety I was experiencing, grew. After half a day of half-hearted attempts at busying myself with tasks, the phone rang — another co-worker was on the line. I sensed that he’d had a rough day through the energy of his voice, so I listened to him intently as he was describing the situation with his client. I empathized with him and we talked for ten minutes. Taking the focus off of myself, I felt all right again.

The night was over and I was on my way home. The wind was sharp and I felt as if the blood in my brain was coagulating and my heart was on the verge of stopping for a second time. Feeling sick, I scurried home for warmth. However, for what was normally a few short steps, this time home felt so far away. Each step multiplied and the sidewalk seemed to extend forever. Alas, I made it through another night, and wrapped in the warmth and familiarity of my blanket, like any other night, I wanted to fall asleep into eternity.

Those were the days. Nothing made much sense, my external world was a blur, but when I closed my eyes to a piano sonata, I felt transported to a place that I could call home. Home wasn’t a place or a person; it was a feeling of connection, safety, love, acceptance. Home was as fleeting as the sweet summer wind, yet in those fleeting moments in time, it was the surest thing I’d experienced — the only thing that made life a little more bearable.