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  • Alexandra Hillenbrand


I don't wake up feeling calm. Maybe there was one point in my life where I did, but whenever that was, it faded away a long time ago. Most mornings, there's a flutter in my heart rate. It picks up right when I open my eyes. Memories and regrets bite my skin like I am being doused with ice cold water. Other times, there is a dull, beige weight that crushes my skull. I don't want to move. I want the Earth to swallow me into its warm embrace and let me rest there peacefully, uninterrupted, until I get the resolution to roll over and try again.

When I am at my best, I can do just that. I can shake off the coldness and push off the weight with relative ease. This redirection can come in many forms. A happy song, a drive to the coffeeshop, a chapter of a book. When I am at my worst, it can be exerting. Turning up the song until I can't hear the chatter of my brain, going for a run and listening to my feet hit the pavement, listening to another person talk so that I can focus on them, not me. At least for now, I don't think I'll ever wake up without the rattle in my chest and the buzzing in my brain. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll miss the constant pursuit of personal growth and reflection.

I used to wallow. Sometimes, I still do. But, staying in bed and putting off the world has never made me feel better. Getting up, no matter how impossible, is absolutely necessary. Even if it means just transitioning from the bed onto the couch. Maybe that's what being a grown up is. It's getting up on cold fall mornings, when its still dark outside, and listening to a self-help podcast in order to make your nervous system feel safe. Or wearing your favorite dress to work, with a little lavender bow, and not caring that you look a little juvenile. A soul is ageless, anyway.

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