A simple four letter word.
It’s not difficult to say, but the weight of it carries personal significance, making it challenging to breathe.
One word, thirteen years of anxiety, self doubt, social awkwardness, feeling alone and the longing for acceptance.
Tomorrow I am to complete a final exam for a course that has pushed me out of my comfort zone, a course that has ignited a new spark within, a course that I have loved.
So why is my heart so heavy and my belly so ill?
Thirteen years ago was the last time took part in any type of exam.
It was my final year of high school and I was led to believe that my whole future depended on these six exams. Confused, hormonal and afraid, a once nonchalant and intelligent girl was broken. I crumbled under the pressure. The pressure from my teachers, from my parents and family, and from the pressure I put on myself to meet everyone’s expectations.
Literally riddled with fear and anxiety, I clawed my way through it feeling unsupported, terrified and a general disappointment to everyone I knew.
This was one of the first periods in this life I can recall lucid experiences of having panic attacks.
Since this time, I have hidden myself away, played it safe and stayed well within my comfort zone. Dipping my toes in the ocean from time to time, whilst my heels are anchored deep within the sand.
Through the conscious process of spiritual healing over the past five years, and in particular, the last twelve months, I have felt the pull to journey back into self. To ask the difficult questions, and sometimes even just the basic ones, in order to rediscover my personal truth and begin to live and breathe it as each footstep kisses the ground below me.
Part of this has been acknowledging anxiety and it’s nauseating face. The way it washes over my body with waves of paralysis, leaving me stuck and unable to get out of my car. The way it challenges my mind with irrational thoughts so that I cannot sleep at night, and the role it plays in stunting my longing for growth and keeps me tucked away in the false safety of it’s universe.
Anxiety, I see you.
Anxiety, I feel you.
Anxiety, I own you. I accept you as an intricate and perfect part of my being, but you no longer get to call the shots. You do not control me.
When you take my breath away, I will fill my lungs deep with love and hope.
When my body feels stiff and paralyzed, I will move and stretch and dance in your honour.
When you try to keep me hidden from the world and new experiences, I will break free from your shackles and shine brightly knowing there are no expectations, no limitations and no judgement calls on the way my branches twist and turn and sparkle towards the light.
It is just a four letter word.