It’s a new day, but it doesn’t feel very new.
It feels stale and sticky, like old gum cemented to the bottom of my soul’s bright pink ballet flats.
The little satin bows, formerly upright and excited, now fold downward to the ground, gluing me firmly in place.
I feel paralyzed, unable to move, unable to speak.
My legs squirm, fighting for movement, but it’s futile. My feet feel frozen and so does my life.
But—just beneath this motionless exterior, there’s a buzzing ocean of activity.
It’s a freaky emotional-themed circus, complete with all my favorite characters:
Panic and Worthlessness have teamed up for the magic show of a lifetime, complete with the disappearing act of my self-esteem.
Fear is sweating and shaking, scared shitless to take on the tightrope.
Desperation is showing off, swallowing six-foot swords and sparkling sticks of fire.
Am I really stuck?
Or, is there something deeper going on?
A roaring tiger leaps out fiercely from behind shimmering gold curtains as if to answer my question.
I’m transfixed by his fiery amber eyes, taken aback by his exotic, regal beauty.
Something in me is downright hypnotized.
In the midst of this craziness, I relax and exhale.
I exhale a long, luxurious exhale, not knowing I had to breathe out so badly.
I exhale the kind of exhale that feels like it may never end.
I exhale 26 years worth of toxic air.
I exhale feeling small.
I exhale pleasing everyone every single second of every damn day.
I exhale putting my own needs dead f*cking last.
I exhale soul-shattering shame and worthlessness.
I exhale self-denial.
I just f*cking exhale.
Then I inhale.
And, for the first time in my life, my starving lungs are flooded with clean, pure, nourishing air.
I soak my toes into the deliciousness of this blissful moment.
I still don’t know how to get un-stuck.
I suddenly realize that doesn’t matter at all.
I don’t need to know how.
I just need to feel what’s going on right now.
Because when I do, I sense the painful weight of accumulated toxic crap and pain and grief that has been stacked on top of my sore, exhausted shoulders for far too long.
That’s why I need to exhale so badly:
To let go.
Because I’m not stuck. I’m weighed down. Burdened. Heavy as hell.
My soul is saying: “Love, please sit down so I can help you let go of this pain. So I can help you process this grief. So I can help you become—you.”
There is nothing external I need to do.
My prescription is to dive deep inside and sift ever-so-gently through the overflowing sands of my emotional memories.
I need to let my sweet soul have her way with me.
Sh*t, it can be so hard to trust ourselves.
But—the truth is, our wise souls and juicy hearts can guide us through absolutely anything.
We just need to listen. To feel. To receive. To be open.
Because often, we are not truly stuck.
Because often, our own pain is the thing that’s holding us back and pushing us down.
Not our lives. Not our perceived failures. Not our jobs or relationships.
Sometimes, to truly move forward, we need to stand still for a moment.
We need to pause and let out a fierce, seemingly-never-ending, lioness-rivaling exhale.
We need to exhale our pain to the breeze for days and days, letting the trees dance in it, their lacy leaves twirling like mad.
Then, when we’re ready, we can start moving again.
And, we will move lighter and freer, feeling more f*cking alive and inspired than ever before.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock