When I was a little girl, I would swing so high that my tiptoes would pass right over the tips of the trees my eyes were zoomed in on. Wind rushing through my hair, a smile on my face, I would ponder the distance I was covering. Of course, I was always afraid that I would fall off, but I didn’t ever let that fear stop me from pumping my legs and pushing myself higher and higher, passing the peaks of the trees. What was on the other side? Was there a way to go so high I would see something different in the distance? I never knew, but my curiosity stuck with me as I grew up.
February, March and April always seem to be the hardest months for me. Winter is winding down and spring is on the horizon, but I cannot see past far enough to know that the warmth will come; faith is all that guides me through. Sometimes that is not enough. Not for me. I’m at the age where I understand what I deal with I understand what is occurring but time and time again I find myself in this worst phase; stuck in the middle of the worst but knowing it will pass soon. I grow impatient which in turn spirals me further down and down and I do not comprehend I have hit rock bottom until I am wiping tears, crying over what exactly? It could be the smallest thing, but it shakes me to the core and worries me nights on end. No matter how hard I try, sometimes it just isn’t good enough.
The bad days grow worse. Anxiety ridden. Sleepless. Restless. It’s overwhelming. And time and time again I have found myself pushing people away, overwhelming them with my emotions, confusing them with my distinct shift in persona. Time and time again I have found myself drowning these sorrows in toxic mechanisms, pretending it will go away on its own, praying I’ll wake up, look in the mirror, and feel like myself again.
It doesn’t happen. That is not how it works. There is not a switch I flip. I have to push myself day in and day out. I have to actively want to get better. I have to persevere. Fight. Because the warmth is on the horizon and I can get there, I can and I will.
I have found myself running more and more lately. Whenever I feel an anxiety attack coming on, I get up, tie my shoes, put the earbuds in, and run. I run until I feel clear. Until I feel at home with myself. I always find myself nearing the park. I always find myself gravitating towards the swings. I find myself swinging for a length of time, letting my tip toes grasp the tips of the trees; letting my mind wander to the other side for a little while, letting my worries free themselves and letting myself be free.
It may be a little step. It may be a little silly, childish even. To sit on the swings, and swing until the sun finally seeps behind the horizon, but it loosens my bones. It heals the pain deep in my chest. I breathe in. I breathe out. I swing. I find myself smiling. I find myself letting my head hang back and closing my eyes, feeling the wind tickle my cheeks. I find myself looking forward to summer. Looking forward to my future. Looking forward to what I can and will achieve.
When I find myself running home I don’t feel so wound up anymore. I don’t feel like I will snap at any moment. I feel clarity in every ounce of my being. And I am thankful for these moments. These are the moments I will look back on and be grateful for. Taking care of yourself is a priority. And I have finally come to practice this. I plan on many more trips to the park, many more moments swinging, and many more moments being free.