It was a long winter.
It was a long winter, and I didn’t even know that I was cold.
Recently, I have begun to come alive. To wake up. To blossom.
And I didn’t even know that inside, before, I was dying.
I didn’t know because I had grown used to the chill. I had grown so many layers against it, withdrawn so deeply into myself, that I forgot what it was to be warm.
I had forgotten what it was to feel the sunlight on my face.
To relax into an embrace.
My laugh quieted.
My heartbeat stilled.
I was surviving.
But I was not living.
Sometimes, when we are so used to being cold, we forget that we do not need to stay bundled up.
Sometimes, we don’t realize, that the one keeping us hidden, has become ourselves.
To wake up. To laugh. To be alive again. It feels like growing pains, but beautiful—blossoming pains?
I am having blossoming pains.
I want to cry, and laugh, and hug everyone, because I cannot believe I spent so long missing out on the joy around me.
Missing out on the people around me.
I am blossoming, and like any new growth, there is pain. But there is happiness, and joy.
My heart breaks open, and it weeps a little. But the tears are of gratitude.
For the winter. For the chance to wake up. For the people I would have missed. For the sunlight I almost did.
But most of all, they are for the years.
The years I spent cold. And for all of the years I will never be cold again.
This is dedicated to Amani Omejer, Sara Rodriguez, Emily Bartran, Bronwyn Petry, Kate Bartolotta, Jamie Khoo, Bryonie Wise, Renee Picard, Waylon Lewis, and all of the writers of elephant journal, too numerous to name, but each too dear to not mention. Thank you for new life.
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Editor: Travis May
Photos: elephant archives