A Change in Seasons

Sometimes a change in season and motivation is what is needed to realize what is really needed for yourself as a human being.

I started this blog as a way to normalize anxiety, depression, and the feelings of darkness that everyone experiences but nobody wants to talk about.

I wanted to be that platform for those who felt isolated, alone, and as though they were the only ones that were experiencing awful feelings that came along with anxiety.

I still want to be that person and that has always been my goal as a someone who is very open with her mental health struggles. I do not hide behind fake smiles and personas. I do not post on social media happy faces and laughter whenever I am feeling at my lowest of lows.

From February to September I was suffering in ways that I cannot even begin to understand and I believe my brain has repressed the worst of it for my own safety. I don’t remember being sad… I remember struggling, but the rest is a blur. I remember specific times where I broke down as a person and anxiety and crippling depression had its arms wrapped so tightly around me – but I don’t remember being unhappy for so long and for so many consistent days and weeks.

Now that I have grown and reflected, I have come to the realization that I am now stronger than I ever was before and the broken persona I had grown into all those months ago is beginning to repair itself and be built back up into an independent and strong woman again.

I no longer feel a need or a desire to place myself in such a darkened mind space in order to force words out of my brain onto paper for the sake of a blog post. I am not in the same mindset I was in this time yesterday, let alone this time in August or this time two months before that.

This original post was going to be about seasonal depression and when it hits people and how no one realizes it unless they deal with it first hand through either themselves or family members or friends, but here I am now.

I still want this blog to be about finding normality in the unusual. I want to help people and help them feel more normal but in all of this I have tried to fit in the mold of normal blogs that I see on the daily. My brain was riddled with blogs about ‘top five things that help anxiety’ and ‘how to find happiness in day to day life’ and the desire to fit into a steady theme. I felt as if my blog was scattered and jumped from point a to point b with some fiction writing in between.

I felt insecure, I felt scared that others would think that my thoughts and posts were too scattered which resulted in too many scrapped pieces to count.

Today while reflecting I realized that somewhere along the lines of insecurities, the name of my blog has been forgotten about

Aberrations.

A departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically one that is unwelcome.

A characteristic that deviates from the normal type.

From here on out, I am not going to place myself in a negative mind space to write encouraging words the layout of other anxiety blogs. I am not going to compare myself to other pages and posts. I am not going to force myself into a mold I was meant to stand out from.

If I want to post about anxiety one day, post a piece of fiction the next,  and go back to personal stories, then I am going to do so.

Those who are like me, who are an aberration, are those that will understand and come along on a new journey with me.

I am not normal nor will I pretend to be for the sake of a steady and flowing blog page.

Maybe one day I will find the correct flow, but that day is not today.

N;kk;

Tunnels, Finding Light, and Everything In between.

Writing in general these past few months has been forced out of my hands and onto a computer screen. The slivers of solid ideas were forced onto paper that was later crumpled and thrown away.

My better pieces of fiction writing posted a few posts ago are recycled bits from high school where my best pieces of work seemed to stem from.

I wanted to write but had no motivation to get up, (or sit down, technically), to do it. The motivation and urge to write 10+ pages in a notebook was not there.

Maybe I wrote the happier pieces before the fiction writing to cover up the pain that radiated through me when I needed a shimmer of light the most.

Maybe those pieces were written to simply try to focus my brain on the silver linings of life. Maybe that is why my posts about light and life were happy, but the old pieces of fiction (that have been sitting in my writing archives since 2015-2016) that I felt compelled to post came from the subconscious.

I know those pieces about tunnels and being positive came from a genuine heart. That same heart, though, was also sad but clinging onto the happy moments as a guidance through a darkened tunnel – almost as if the lights had gone out completely and I was stuck in construction for a long time.

Maybe at the time if I was open about finding positivity that positive personality would wear onto those who needed it more than I did at the time.

Two months ago I did not want to be alone, nor did my family want to leave me alone or by myself for extended periods of time. Two months ago I had taken weeks off of work and lost over ten pounds due to stress, anxiety, and the worst depression I had ever fought through. Two months ago I stayed on the same couch in my living room watching the same episodes of Impractical Jokers over and over.

The love for life did not come over night and did not hit me like a truck the way  it is made out to be. It was not as simple as going from writing dark pieces to being happy in less than twenty four hours.

It took time, patience, and love and support from those around me that mattered most in my life.

Now that my mind is open and not muddled with darkness, now that I have passed through the longest tunnel of darkness I have ever fought through – it is easy to see the battles I fought and the coping mechanisms I used to get through it.

It was once said to me that we cannot heal in the same environment that made us sick.

This holds true and even though it may be hard to get out of the environment, to accept that maybe things are not working out as planned,  and to accept our own failures – our life gets better and we get healthier both mentally and physically.

Now that I am through the tunnel, doing better, and at the happiest I have been in a long while – I am ready to take the world by storm and live every day to the fullest potential.

I hope you will come along with me.

N;kk;

And I am Alone

A ghostly hand reaches out in attempt to grab me and I unsuccessfully bat it away from me.

“Get away from me!” I scream at the hand that is nothing but pale white skin with blue tinted veins clinging to bone. I cannot see the body in which the hand belongs to through the darkness. Nothing but an extended arm is extended towards me.

It’s fingernails are long and sharpened at the edges as the nails themselves continue to yellow as each second passes by. I am shaking as I try to back up away from the long extended fingernails to prevent any further harm done to my body.

“I don’t take orders from you…” I yell at the hand. I try to smack the hand away again but the fingernails scrape at my forehead. I feel the burning sensation as blood pools at my forehead and drips at my hands.

“You get away from me!” I scream, chunks of my flesh hanging from its pointed nails.
Dark red blood is falling continuously onto my skin now and it seeps into the creases of my fragile hands. The blood that falls onto my body is unbearably heavy against my soft skin. I can feel the hot liquid as it rolls onto my skin the substances feeling as though it at just the right temperature, enough to burn through my flesh. The hand continues to swipe at me as the blood drips into my eyes, the same eyes that have seen too many horrible things in their lifetime. My eyes burn like a thousand fires have been set to my sclera and my vision is tinted with a red filmy substance.

“Get away!” I scream as I continue to back up away from the hand as my legs tremble and shake. My vision is tinted and blurry, I still cannot see. My bloody palms wipe at my eyes in an attempt to get my vision back but I wipe more of the hot tacky substance into my line of sight. I can feel the whip and the snap of the wind as the hand swipes at me again and again and the nails scrape at my cheekbone, peeling my skin back layer by layer. My hands grip at my skin as the freshly opened wound rips and pulls at my nerves. I scream out into the empty air and I feel the strain and wrench of my vocal cords as my fingernails peel at my skin. My back strikes against something cold and hard. I pull my head back to dodge another swipe of the fingernails and my skull cracks against a harsh surface behind me.

My once red tinted vision suddenly goes black and my body hits the ground underneath me.
The cold air holds onto me as I wrap my arms around myself and hope that doing this will protect me from the outside world. My body shakes violently and brutally. My hands are wrapping so tightly around myself that I am nothing but a firm and bloody ball of human flesh and bone. I feel hands grip at my body arms both firmly, but not hard enough to hurt me, and my eyes pop open and a face stares back at me.

The face is kind and familiar.

“Emerson!” She yells at me. I shoot into an alert as my hands grab at my face but no blood stains my fingers. My fingers glide along the skin of my face and I feel nothing but the flesh that lines my prominent bones. Bones that have gone too long without food. Bones that are heavy and crumpling from lack sleep. No long and yellow fingernails dangle in front of my face. The kind face extends a hand to me again and I try to escape her touch as she reaches out for me. Her touch burns at my skin as her hand rests at my shoulder and I feel as though a thousand needles were jammed down into my fragile skin. I shrink away from her once more.

“You were deep in it, Em.” she whispers to me. “I came over when I heard you screaming.” she says to me as she tries to reach out to touch me again with her hand. I pull away from her as sharply and as quickly as I can.

“I’m fine.” I manage to growl at her.

“Emerson,” She whispers to me. We both know that I am far from okay. Even the voices in my head know that.

“I said I’m fine.” I hiss at her rudely.

She looks at me with that face that she has looked at me with a thousand times before.
Her face is sad, her lips forced into a sad frown. Stress presses into fine lines and her concern is evident in premature wrinkles. Her forehead shows signs of stress and anxiety with wrinkles forming in her face in heavy and thick crinkles and rolls. Were these premature signs of stress there before or after I came into her life? I may never know and I know she would never tell me the truth.

I wipe at my face again in an attempt to find the blood that was just drenching my face a few moments ago, find signs of anything that just happened being real.

“You’re alright.” She says again. Her hands rest on the tops of her thighs now, she got the message not to touch me.

“Emerson, your delusions have come back full force… you’ve been taking your medicine?” she asks me to which I do not reply to her “You know what the doc-” she begins but I cut her off.

“Taylor, Please.” I say to her as I rub at the temples of my head with my left hand, my right hand trying to find the cut that I felt rip into my skin just a few moments ago.

“I’m fine.” I whisper to her as I avoid the stares that she pushes into me. Medications. Doctors. Needles. According to her this is all that I need to feel better. What she doesn’t realize is that I am Emerson Matthews. I suffer from delusional disorder along with depression, and who knows what else. I am a concoction of all things negative in this world. All things bad were pushed under the fragile frames of my skin, compact into one sad human being. What did I do to deserve all of this? My fingers push into my skin harshly and I can feel the movement of the loose skin that blanket my bone. My fingers push and pull at the skin that is there so hard that I feel tenderness that resides there, and while it hurts, but I don’t stop.

“I need to be alone” I whisper to her but that word rolls off of my tongue like venom. It bites at me and puts in a sting in my rapidly beating heart. I know those words hurt her, but they hurt me too, just the same. I watch again as her pink lips push into a line and she stands to her feet without a word. The sadness in her body is evident as she moves through the house and she closes the door behind her. I can hear the slide and the click of the door as it locks into place and I hear her footsteps disappear down the stairs and onto the street. I swear to myself and to you that I can hear her front door slam behind her, making me shrink away from the sound.

And I am alone.

That word wraps around me like hands holding me at my throat. It works its way into my stomach like a virus with its fingernails scraping up my insides. I feel sick to my stomach and try to stand up on my feet. My hands press into the cold stone of the fireplace that I had just smashed my head into just moments before.

Did I really hit my head or did I just imagine it?

I try to maintain my balance but my knees quiver; the pull of my tendons and ligaments cause my knees to cave in.

I am alone but I did this to myself.

The emptiness claws at me and the pit of my stomach grows larger with each scratch and scrape. My eyes land on the white door to my left but the loneliness paralyzes me and I cannot move. My mind is cluttered with a thousand thoughts and voices. Along with a constant repeat of the scene that just unfolded. Blood, hands, and the hurt I just did to Taylor. How, much like the delusions, Taylor came in and left without a second guess.
The feelings of being alone are pervasive and consume me like an infection. Loneliness pushes through me like a wave and eventually it will drown everything in its path. Eventually I will be nothing but an empty shell of bruises and bone. My memories of a time before this one are vacant.

Loneliness is all I have ever known.

The pit extends into my gut and I can feel the twist and pull of this vicious virus that I am trying so desperately to get rid of.

I want to cry and I want to scream out into the empty house. The house that is filled with nothing but empty rooms and delusions – those of which that belong to a mad man. A panicked and rushed gasp escapes the back of my throat and my hands grab at my mouth as if I was going to push the sound of distress back in again. This is all that escapes me as my eyes slam closed. Tears leak profusely from my eyes and begin to soak my cheeks. My stomach concaves inward and I feel the roll of my spine as my body begins to work against me and I hunch over. My knees convulse and I collapse, my bones falling onto the hearth of the fire place. I curl into myself, the stone is cold against my body once more. Panicked and frantic sobs escape from my mouth and the tears soak at my face. I try to quiet the sobs that frantically escape me, trying to silence the weakness that I try so desperately to keep away from the human eye. The stone is cold and my body is empty. I lay on the large flat rock holding myself more and more tightly as more sobs escape into the empty air.
And I am alone.

Submerged In Paranoia

“Mr. Matthews, we are going to ask you to open the door for us.” A voice pelts through the door separating me from them.

I stumble across the floor before losing my balance. Scrambling towards that same door, I pressed my back against it, my bare feet slipping out from underneath me.

“Mr. Matthews if you don’t open up the door, we will break it down, you don’t want that do you?” a voice asks me, the same voice from before.

“Leave me alone!” I scream at them.

“You know we can’t do that Mr. Matthews.” A different voice replies to me.

Heavy red and blue strips slice through my white lace curtains, along with fluorescent white headlights that burn my sensitive eyes to look at, white lights bouncing off the walls and into my eyes.

What did I even do? My face is covered in a hot and sticky amount of sweat. My chest heaves heavily and my heart strains to pump blood through my body. I must’ve been running just before I reached the house. I try to gain my footing again but my feet just slip out from underneath me again.

My arms trickle sweat, beads of perspiration beginning to move and slide down my arms.

That was whenever my eyes caught a glint of red, just for a short second, enough for me to take notice.

My crazed eyes land on the red blood that coats my hands, red blood splatters following up into my arms, near my elbows. My fingers touch at the blood that is already beginning to dry, tacky from an unknown persons body.

“Oh God…” I call out my voice caught and jagged in my throat. The voices outside the door, along with the sirens, on top of the voices inside of my skull begin to stumble and overlap one another.

Where one sentence ends, another voice is there to take its place.

My hands find my ears and grasp at them, tacky blood coating my ears as my fingernails begin to rip at my ear, an attempt to pull them off.

Maybe then the voices would stop.

More sirens. More commands. More voices.

“Emerson, we just want to talk to you, can you do that for me?” A female voice stands out from the others. Maybe it’s because they think I’ll trust a female more than a male. They are wrong, even if her voices are calmer than the other ones, less harsh.

“Just stop!” I yell out to them. More voices are attempting to talk to me. I can no longer decide what is real and what is fake. Voices inside my skull attempt to talk over one another, making me go mad.

My fingers continue to claw at my ears that are now tacky with blood.

Anything to stop the voices.

Again, this time from the other side of the door, they are drawing in closer.
“Emerson, open the door!” Someone yells at me, a man, with a voice that makes me jump.

“Just stop.” I beg as I shake now, rocking back and forth, my spine crushing against the wooden door so hard that it shakes.

Voices inside of my head fight for dominance and figures dance in the headlights that shine through the curtains.

I can almost hear the click of the guns they’ll fire at me.

“Just stop.” I beg again.

“Mr. Matthews, this is your last chance.” The same, meaner voice, yells at me.

“Stop it.” I beg them.

“Mr. Matthews we will beat down this door.”

“Stop.” I whisper, tears rolling down my cheeks and dripping onto my knees, soaking the fabric that covers them.

I rock back and forth. Voices combine.

“Stop it.” I say out loud.

“Last chance!” The woman now yells.

“STOP!” I scream out into the air.

And just as quickly as they came, the voices all come to a standstill. They stop in a dead silence.

My eyes peel open, fresh tears still streaking my cheeks.

No longer do red and blue streaks of light shine in a revolving circle. No white headlights shine almost directly into my eyes. My heart still thuds heavily inside of my chest wall and I can feel the blood as it pulses through veins that get tighter by the second. My throat is heavy and I can hardly breathe.

My spinal cord feels crushed and bruised as I stand on my feet again, my feet still sweaty and slick.

Trembling hands grab at the door knob to the front door and I rip it open, expecting to get shot down in an instant.

A smack of cold air hits me hard, pushing through my hair and sending chills down my exposed flesh. Leaves push against the ground with yellowing grass that now reached the middle of my shins. The air was silent, almost as if no one was around for miles and miles, as if I was the only remaining person in the neighborhood.

Shutting the door behind me, I stumble into the bathroom, knocking over things and nearly crashing my body into the sink.

Broken shards still line the back and the inside of my sink as I glance at a broken reflection of myself. My eyes are distant and hold no sparks of life, those were lost long ago.

Rather, they are just a darkened green, my hair lined with sweat. My ears no longer have tacky blood lining them and my hands are clean.

The blood never existed, at least not this time.

As I stumble into my bedroom, stripping off the shirt that was soaked with sweat and tears and tossing it somewhere on the floor, I can feel the cold air hit my body.

As soon as I lay my head down against the pillow, the same whispering of voices return.
They are further away, in some deep crevice of my mind and brain.

I can close my eyes and sleep, undisturbed by the voices.

For now.

Finding Light Again

Words have not come easy these past few weeks.

I began to fear that I had spent money for a blogging platform, to write three articles, and to never use it again.

So I tried to force writing, any sort of writing, to just put out into the world again to make myself feel complete in some aspect.

No matter how hard I’ve tried to write, to pull from anything, nothing came out.

Everything felt so forced and nothing was fitting right, nothing was even scratching the surface of what I had to say. What I’ve experienced in these past few weeks. So I will pick up from one of the most recent stories I can share that spread a positive light on my life in ways that are unexplainable and I still think about to this day.

A few weeks ago we had a full reservation sheet in the dining room in which I worked at. No walk ins were permitted, and only the people that had reservations could be seated on this night.

That was when an older man and older woman walked up to the podium, asking to be seated. They told us they didn’t have reservations, but they were staying in the hotel that night. We told them that we were sorry, but it was reservations only, and sent them on their way.

Awhile later, while tending to my other tables I saw the same man from previously wander up to the hostess stand. After some discussion, our hostess walked up to me, explaining

“It’s his wifes birthday, can you take care of them?” she asks.

I looked over the four tables I already had to take care of, and even though I knew more reservations were going to come in, I nodded my head “Yeah, I can take them.” I say to her.

What I expected was to have a table like usual. I would take their drink orders, their food, bring them their food, ask if they wanted desert, send them on their way, and get them in and out as quickly as possible.

It is the unexpected that grace our lives in the best ways, as I would soon find out.

Whenever I walked up to them, they greeted me and told me their names after I told them mine. They told me again, that it was his wifes birthday, and I wished her happy birthday.

Right off the bat, I knew that they were talkers, and even though I was busy, even though I had a lot going on, I stayed to talk to them.

The conversation started off light, asking me where I went to school, what I wanted to do, the usual conversations that you typically get out of a waitress that gives you more time than their other tables.

Eventually they ate their food and told me how amazing everything was, continuing to thank me for getting them in even though we were busy.

In those few moments, they radiated such positivity, a positivity that I needed in these times and they didn’t even know it – and neither did I at the time.

Remembering the birthday, I offered the woman a complimentary dessert of her choosing, on the house due to the kindness that they displayed and how happy they made my heart feel again for the first time in a long time.

They asked me if they could move somewhere warmer, and I agreed, no longer caring about the amount of people coming into the dining room or waiting to be seated.

When we moved them, they began to speak about what desert they wanted and I promised them I would get them whatever they wanted and that I was going to make it special for them.

Ultimately, the woman decided on a desert, and her husband decided that he wanted to splurge and eat ice cream for the first time in over seven years.

Whenever I went back to pantry, I had them decorate the plate with a ‘Happy Birthday’ message on the plate, and came out candle and all. I served the dessert and together her husband and I sang happy birthday to her.

The room was dark and even though I hate singing, singing in front of others, none of it mattered anymore. The glow of the birthday candle meant so much more than a birthday anymore, it was an act of kindness and a sign of hope that things would get better for me.

After we sang happy birthday I left them alone for awhile and came to check on them, asking the man how he enjoyed his ice cream. They again told me that he hadn’t eaten anything like that in seven years. I asked him why, if there was any reason.

He opened up to me, saying that he was a cancer survivor and that today was actually the ten year anniversary of his surgery to remove his cancer, joking to me about how the anniversary happened to land on his wife’s birthday as well.

In those moments I felt everything about tonight slowly click into place and my hear swelled, tears forming in my eyes as I spoke to them about my mothers recent diagnosis and how she was also on a road to recovery, that it touched such a tender spot in my heart.

That was whenever we began talking, he got my address, and said he would send me and my mother a book for us to read.

I opened up to them about the struggles I was facing with my anxiety and my depression and how much their kind words truly meant to me, how the little things like this meant so much in my life, in ways they had no idea of even fathoming.

After they left, he had tipped me more than the price of the bill, and handed me an extra eight dollars in cash and told me to use it to buy my favorite dessert from where I worked.

Like that they were gone again, and before I knew it they had checked out before I got to see them again.

Little did I know, and little did they know, was that the following weeks would be some of the worst in my life.

In these weeks, I would struggle to find light again. I would struggle to find a purpose outside of the darkened tunnel I had been placed in. My fight was slowly wearing thin and it was the lowest point I had ever reached in the entirety of my life, after struggling with depression and anxiety for so many years.

In my darkness, in the tunnel, I found a light again and fought through.

Just yesterday, I came home to a package.

Two books for me to read, the other for my mother to read.

Getting Well Again.”

Today I walked into my bedroom to see another small letter. I am uncertain as to if I missed the letter in the first initial package, or if it arrived today.

I sat on the floor bawling my eyes out as I read the contents of the most thoughtful letter that had been sent my way in the longest time.

They talked to me about the things I had told them in passing. How I wanted to be an FBI agent, how they believed in me, the things that I had told them in confidence that they gave me advice on. Things I had even forgotten that I said to them were written on the contents of a card that meant so much to me.

The two strangers that I thought were just going to be another table that I had to deal with on a busy night, turned into an experience that I will forever cherish and be grateful for.

I am uncertain if they realize the impact of their actions or how badly I needed to read the words from them on days like this one, days where I feel both happy and sad. Overwhelmed and relaxed.

People come into your lives for a reason. That night I was busy, stressed from life outside of work with relationships, and I was anxious over what was to come. These people, who were not supposed to be there to begin with, happened to come in and I got the blessing to take care of them.

Whether you believe in a higher power or not, I like to believe some higher force was acting through them on the night that they came into my life, and left again, but left with such a strong impact that I now have the blessing to carry with me for the rest of my life.

As I was clearing their table, I found a note to me written on the back of a receipt.

“Thank you for your grace, humbleness, and sense of humor.”

This receipt I now carry in my waitressing book, to see and be reminded of the people that made such a positive influence on my life when it was most needed.

As I sit with their cards, letters, and book sitting around me, I am reminded of the love that radiates from people.

There is a lot of good in the world and even though it is hard to see, it comes out when most needed and most unexpected. A lot of time, the bad, the negative, the hurt, and the ugly are seen and are brought to us head on, face to face. They wear us down, they tug at us until we have no more fight, and the good in the world comes out in the strangest and unexpected ways.

The good is our guiding light to get us through the bad things and to guide us into a light worth living again.

Even if it is just a push or a nudge into the right direction, those are the movements and gestures that send us spiraling and leaping into things much greater than the darkness that has sucked you in time and time again and drug you down.

Step into the light, into a life worth living again.

I’m tired.

Her face appears beautiful on the outside. Her eyebrows lifted in all the right ways and the white eyes hadow in the corners of her eyes make her appear to be awake and alert.  Her mouth painted into a smile with bright lipstick in all the right places.
She appears to be the girl next door and the beautiful creatures that you see everywhere you look. From magazines to television.
She’s tired from the face she wears. Eventually it comes off, whether it be from makeup wipes or from showering, viciously wiping away the makeup that taints her face. When she sleeps and her eyebrows are no longer forced and pressed together from concentration and stress.
Whenever she wiped off a happy face you see her eyebrows are no longer lifted and perfect. Rather they are barely there, with bald patches in the middle from over plucking them. The $58 full coverage foundation is removed and the bags and circles are prevalent there.
She removes her high heels and clothes that make her feel somewhat confident and from there she slips on the extra large t-shirt that she basically drowns in and that she’s worn to bed the past week.
Her most relaxed comes from being in bed, not moving, and being under four to five layers of blankets.
Only to get hot in the middle of the night and rip them off anyways, but the comfort is there and it helps her not stay warm but to give her the comfort that is needed when there are not open arms to fall into each night.
She sleeps to escape her reality. Where her reality is no longer an existence, but a distant thought. When she sleeps, worries are no longer available to think about, and her mind runs as far as it can take her. Her mind is at ease and runs far away to a dream estate, where anxiety and depression no longer exist.

She doesn’t sleep because she’s lazy. But because she paints a face on every day that isn’t hers and doesn’t belong to her.

She sleeps to escape it. To put her mind at rest.

She sleeps because she’s exhausted from anxiety clutching onto her body like a leech, sucking out all remaining energy.

The energy not spent giving, bending over backwards, working, and going out, is sucked into an endless stomach of the Leech that pulls out every bit of normalcy that remains.

She feels drained. Emotionally and physically. Her body may not hurt and crumple over with exhaustion but one thing is for certain, she is exhausted. Sleep is her escape.

Out of Darkness

tun·nel
noun
PHYSICS
(of a particle) pass through a potential barrier.

I grew up just south of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I had always loved everything about the city. The electricity that seems to pulse through the open air, the people, the art, the theaters and concert venues you can just wander into, and let’s not forget the beautiful buildings that are all so beautifully unique, no building looking similar in any way shape or form. Back when I was a child, I always told myself I would move to Pittsburgh. Buy myself a dog and a nice bike to ride to and from classes and work,  I thought I had it all figured out. Back then, that was the life I wanted and my ultimate dream, it was to get to live the city life in the city that I had loved so much.

While the architecture  and the city skylines there are beautiful…my favorite part of Pittsburgh, or any city for that matter, had always been the tunnels.

In Pittsburgh, there is a tunnel that you most often than not sit in traffic to get into. The sights around the entrance are sores to your eyes, as you can only see the red of break lights, the cones that cover the edge of a runaway truck ramp, the ugly beaten signs, some with one flashing orange light as opposed to two, and the ugly brown outside of the tunnel itself.

Once you begin to move and can no longer see the sky around you, just the glow of the tunnel lights, everything is darker for a long moment of time.

The lights are florescent and the tunnel is darkened. Radios and phones no longer work once you get to the middle of the tunnel, and unless you have a CD in, your music comes to a halt and all you can hear is the echo of all the other cars roaring in the air around you.

On the insides of the tunnel, you are breaking free. The traffic is near in-existent, and your car just goes and goes.

You push on and you push forward, some vehicles moving faster than the other ones, and becoming blurs as they begin to pass you.

Sometimes, you move faster than the traffic in the other lane, and they too become a blur.

Then, it opens. The city air wraps around you and your vehicle.

You no longer see the ugly exterior of an open mountain and a dark, yet fluorescent, tunnel. You now see water, a brightened and illuminated yellow bridge that glows up against the sky. Your music picks up again and you can see all the skyscrapers that look as if they can kiss the clouds in the sky.

Some of the buildings look as if they are castles and some are large and intimidating, bigger than any man or woman to walk the earth. The city glows whether it is daytime or nighttime, and you can see twinkles of the lights of office buildings and of the stars in the skies.

The water is open and foreboding and even if the water isn’t always crystal clear you can still see the boats drifting in the open water, some spewing large amounts of white foam as they coast the water, others almost standing still that they move so slow.

Life, hardships, are much like the tunnel.

A stereotypical comparison, this I know.

Sometimes there is a cluster before the tunnel and you get moving smoother again, and your mind opens up to the beauty of life.

Sometimes, people are moving faster than you are, passing by you because maybe their tunnel is a little shorter than yours is.

Sometimes, you are moving faster than others, leaving them behind you as you move on and move forward.

Sometimes you hit traffic and come to a halt.

In those moments everything is at a standstill. The tunnels are dark and also foreboding. Things that bring you happiness such as music and service also leave your fingertips.

All you can sometimes see is red, red of taillights, and you no longer move forward.

Eventually, though, that tunnel opens up. You can see the sunlight. You can see the glows of the cities in those moments. You may be stuck in traffic, in darkness, for a long time. Eventually, your tunnel, your darkness, comes to an end and opens up into a huge world of opportunities.

The opportunities to feel on top of the world like all the skyscrapers your eyes can land on.

Sometimes, even after exiting the tunnel, your days can still be cloudy like the water underneath the bridges you cross. Sometimes you can still be at a standstill like the huge boats carrying large amounts of objects.

However, sometimes your days can be bright and vibrant. Your thoughts can be as clear as the water on a sunny day.

This is not the end, just a pause of darkness.

Always remember that eventually, your mind will leave its tunnel. It eventually will find light and beauty again.

-N;kk;