Healthy Boundaries and Why They Are Important

bound·a·ry
noun
a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

Not every person in this world is out to take advantage of you. Very few people wake up in the morning with the intentions being to hurt us and to pass over our boundaries.

Boundaries.

When is enough, enough?

How do we know and understand the threshold of the line we set for ourselves and for others?

Deciding your boundaries is always a long process with a lot of blurred lines.

It is looking at a toxic relationship (friendship, romantic, or family), knowing that your boundaries were violated, and trying to decide where and when the line was crossed and how you will prevent it from happening to you again. Sometimes, you need to have your boundaries overstepped many times before you are fully capable of understanding just what your boundaries are and locating the exact feelings you experienced whenever someone crossed the line you had set for them.

Then whenever that line is crossed over, you know the familiar feeling of  being irritated, violated, and you know what you need to do from then on to either terminate the relationship or at the very least state how and why your boundaries were crossed – and what that person needs to do in order to avoid it from happening again.

It is hard for a person to know your boundaries if you do not verbally state them. Unfortunately, even if you set your boundaries early on and you continue to let small maneuvers over the boundary line pass, eventually you will only be left feeling violated but also feeling as though you have no control over what is okay and what isn’t.

Boundary setting is one of the most important lines to set in a relationship – no matter how major or minor that relationship may be.

It is not only important in a relationship – but an important movement to be made to ensure that we as humans remain happy and remain stable in what we stand for and what we don’t.

In many relationships I allowed people that were close to me to violate my boundaries. Most commonly, though, I was never clear about how much it upset me until way down the line. In their defense, it is impossible for them to know that they hurt me in that way if I never told them it upset me to begin with.

It is hard for those of us to set boundaries with other people. As long as they aren’t hurting us, it’s alright to let it slide, right?

That is when the vicious cycle begins.

We have mental boundaries set, someone crosses them, we keep silent about it, we have a build up of emotion, a fight breaks out and emotions are tense and feelings are hurt, and then the cycle continues whenever we let it pass again.

Maybe it is fear that keeps us quiet.

Maybe we think that the original line that was crossed was not that big of a deal.

Maybe those of us with anxiety just cannot speak up about their emotions.

No matter what the problem is – learning how to set boundaries, and doing it vocally (and meaning it), is an important building block to being happy.

So set your boundaries. And mean it.

Don’t let anyone cross them – no matter what the reasoning is.

If a person leaves you feeling violated, like no matter what you say – things will never change, leave you feeling upset, like you have no control – it is time to terminate the friendship, relationship, etc.

You are the most important person and keeping yourself healthy and happy is forever supposed to be your number one thing of importance.

Me Minus Anxiety – Who Am I, Really?

What I wouldn’t give to be normal. To live in that bubble, the reality of the naive.

What would my life look like without anxiety?

How much would be different?

What would change?

This is a question I have asked myself time and time again. However, I can never come to a real answer.

Maybe I would have more friends, maybe I would go out more, and maybe I wouldn’t be afraid to speak in public. Maybe my schedule would be filled with less appointments with different doctors for different reasons. Maybe my grades would be better, and I wouldn’t stress myself out before exams and maybe I wouldn’t pick my fingers until they are bloodied, gross, and running the risk of infection.  Maybe I wouldn’t sit in silence for hours on end – not knowing how to contribute to a conversation. Maybe the fear of making myself look dumb wouldn’t exist.

Back whenever I feared going into gas stations and before whenever I was scared of leaving my home, I would ask myself the same question and come up with nearly the same possibilities. Maybe I would’ve been able to walk into the store later at night to get the ice cream I was craving. Maybe I would’ve been fine to walk into the bank and do a cash deposit instead of waiting in the way longer line at the atm in my car.

I have struggled with anxiety since I was a little girl. It only came to a dramatic point whenever I was in high school. At that point in time I knew anxiety was apart of my identity. It was a character trait. It was a character flaw. I related to the quote that said, “I am anxiety, fear, and panic”.

So, yes, anxiety has been in my life for a long time. I was an anxious seven-year-old, an even more anxious high school student, and expected it to sort of just disappear in college. If it was in my life for so long and apart of my identity for so long… who am I without it?

I have come to realize now – anxiety is not apart of my identity. Yes, I am a college student and yes I have severe anxiety.

Because, after all, my blog posts are mainly about anxiety. My very first blog post ever is titled “The A word”, where I then begin to describe what anxiety is and what an aberration is.

Who am I though?

I’m a full-time student and I work three jobs that I love. I am an avid concert goer. I am a movie guru. I am someone that has a small quantity of true friends – those that I don’t see often. I am a girl who has a lot of internet friends and spends too much time on YouTube. I love nerdy things and also love makeup. I love sitting and gaming. I am a hard worker – even with my anxiety flaring up. I am honest and compassionate – with the tendency to put everyone’s needs before my own. Sometimes I care too much about what others think and other times I care too little.

I am not anxiety and I am not panic. My life story is not going to go down as the girl with anxiety.

Anxiety does live within me and I have known her well. Anxiety can sometimes be an extension of my personality – but it will never describe me. At the end of the day I am still the busy, hard working, full time student, who also loves to dance, go to concerts, meet like minded people, and be free spirited.

 

Your Nerves are not the Same as My Anxiety

“Yeah, I get anxiety sometimes before job interviews and stuff, it sucks!”

“Everyone gets a little anxious sometimes!”

“Omg, seeing my ex totally gives me panic attacks lol.”

The term anxiety is often at times thrown about carelessly and almost unknowingly to those that do not understand what it is like to live with it on the daily.

What the “anxiety” to an average person feels like would most likely be as follows:

  • The nerves that twist at your stomach and almost make you feel as though you are going to throw up.
  • The moments where it feels as though your heart picks up several beats a minute.
  • Sweaty palms before an interview.
  • The feeling as though you cannot sit down or keep still.
  • An uneasy mind
  • A disturbed sleep cycle.

These are just to name a few of the things that take place before a big presentation, an interview, a first date, and so on. After it is over though, you are most likely not going to be feeling these symptoms again until the next big event that takes place, until the next presentation, until the next first date, etc.

This is what those of us with anxiety disorder feel every single day – times ten.

Now while I do not want to make it seem as though I am invalidating people that have very real and very scary symptoms of nerves and anxiety, I do find it hard to feel sympathy for those that get nervous every once and awhile and pass it off as anxiety.

For many years, I was getting nauseous on the daily. No matter what I ate – whether it was vegetables, gluten free foods, greasy foods, etc. – I was getting sick to the point of almost vomiting. Sometimes it didn’t even matter if I ate five minutes ago or two hours ago, almost every night I felt as though I was going to throw up everything in my stomach.  After several visits to GI specialists, a few scopes, scans of my gallbladder, food journals, and other forms of tests – they could not find anything wrong with me.

It was only after therapy that my stomach issues slowly dissipated far into the past – to the point that I sometimes forget about the period of 3 to 4 years that I spent feeling nauseated.

I had no idea that anxiety could affect the body to that degree and that badly.

In my worst anxiety times I would pick my fingers so badly to the point that I would have to wear socks on my hands to stop picking. Wearing nail polish never helped as it was another thing for me to pick and peel off of my nails. It would get even worse if it was finals week or if report cards were about to come out.

At my worst point, I couldn’t go into gas stations or convenience stores – my irrational anxiety brain telling me that there would be a shooting or robbery if I went in. You could forget the chances of me going into movie theaters, too. It got so bad that everywhere was dangerous to me – from gas stations to a Subway sandwich shop.  I wanted to be placed near the exits at restaurants so that I could run out the door if something were to happen and at every concert, I went to I had several plans of escape if a threat were to enter.

That was the way my anxiety brain worked. I knew that at every concert I went to that every person got checked by security, their bags were checked, and they were patted down – but my anxiety and fight or flight brains were confused by the amount of fear that I placed into my body. Everybody was a suspect and no place was safe.

This was how I lived for a very long time and still have the tendencies to get “sketched out” in situations that I am not used to.

I for many years struggled – and struggled terribly with anxiety. I wasn’t going out with friends, I was a home body to an unnatural sense,  I was having anxiety attacks weekly, and I was literally making myself sick with anxiety.

I overcame a lot of struggles to get where I am now.

So yes, the quickened heart rate, sweaty palms, the tendency to bite your fingers, and your uneven breaths are all normal to feel before events like tests, presentations, job interviews, exams, etc. Your nerves are not anxiety.

In a world where mental disorders such as Bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety are “aesthetically pleasing” for a Tumblr layout or a funny tweet, it is hard to take mental illness seriously.

It is important that we note that anxiety, true anxiety, is not the same as feeling nervous for an hour or two (or even a day) once in a while.

Anxiety is very real and very scary but also should not be confused with every day nerves.

“Feeling on the Verge”

A lot of times whenever I sit down and talk to my therapist I often at times can reflect and tell her about the moments where I had a breakdown, often telling her that I could “Just tell that I was on the verge”

But how does one explain these feelings?

On the verge is feeling as though you are standing on the edge of a cliff, half of your foot over the edge already – the arches and your heels remaining on stable cement while your toes hang right over. It is standing there and knowing that one simple gush of wind will send you over.

It is feeling the tears well up in the backs of your eyelids and constantly pushing them back – but also knowing that if one person says the wrong thing that it will release the tears.

It is a constant burden on your chest with an accelerated heart rate that beats almost too quickly against your chest wall.

It is sweaty palms – always.

It is feeling the quickened heart rate, the sweaty palms, and it is the burden on your chest – but you are also feeling numb and the constant switching between the two of them.

It is feeling the work you have to do physically piling on top of you – and you feeling as though that no amount of time in the world could get it done and knowing that one more paper is going to push you over the edge.

It is the feeling of begging something to happen, so you could just get over with it already.

Being on the verge means that you can feel yourself almost to the point of no return. On the verge it is the difference between crying and being okay. Being on the verge is knowing you just need one final push to send you spiraling. Sometimes it can feel as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Some of us live our daily lives on the verge – almost waiting for that straw or for that gush of wind to send us over.

While we can be on the verge, we also know how it feels to come back down and to recover from our falls. That is what is most important to try to remember.

Why it is Okay to be Selfish

The word selfish is typically one that is looked down upon and looked at in a negative light. Not one person likes to be described with the adjective of selfish, but ultimately, in the world of mental illness and health – it is an adjective that is one of the most important things to be.

There are a lot of people that suffer with a form of mental illness, whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ptsd, or so on. Some people have it in the slightest forms while others suffer in a more extreme way.

Those that suffer are typically those that you do not expect as mental illness can affect anyone – it does not matter your age, race, or gender.

Most people, like myself, give and bend over backwards for everyone and anyone – often at times putting others peoples needs before their own. So much so that they wind up shoveling emotions and feelings underneath almost convincing themselves that the needs and wants of others are more important than their own. Often at times they will put their needs on the back burner, convincing themselves that the needs of someone like a friend is most important, more important than their own emotions and feelings.
This leads to the burial of emotions and stress that eventually boil up – ready to be set off by the most minuscule things.

Not only does the selflessness of mental health mask our own feelings, it also is extremely exhausting. Some of us will hold ourselves to an insane number ,of standards when it comes to being there for others. We are not catering to our needs but to the needs of others and ultimately draining the energy needed to keep ourselves afloat.
I read somewhere once that the development of mental illness can also contribute to a development of a selfish personality.

Do I consider myself selfish? At times. Am I open about my need to be selfish? Always.

For those of us that have mental illnesses we need to constantly be aware of our wants and needs as humans due to the smallest change causing what could be a downward spiral.

Not only do we need to be aware of our bodies, but our mood as well.

Sleeping and eating on a regular schedule are vital to keeping our mood as stable as possible whenever it comes to self care.

For example, in mental illnesses such as Bipolar Disorder, tracking your mood is essential in staying up on it. It is noticing the most minute of changes in mood. It is essential to notice the changes so that those who are medicated can report it to a psychiatrist which may require change in medications as soon as possible.

You must be extremely aware, not only in your alone time, but when with other humans while being social.

Is my speech slurring due to talking too quickly? Are my conversations bouncing from place to place constantly due to my inability to focus on one topic? Are my responses appropriate? Is this how I act on the daily?

We must be in constant awareness of our mood and how we are feeling, why we are feeling, and to try to judge how long we will be in this state of feeling.

Mental health may also come with a selfish behavior, but that is okay.

I am not telling you to only look out for yourself and no one else, and to push people around for your own advantages – being selfish does not always have to be that negative.
So be selfish. For those that know you and love you – they will understand your need to be selfish and will be there to support you and will still be there whenever you come back.

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.

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;