On The Way Out

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Once, I tripped over a forgotten memory, slipped in a puddle of regrets, and stumbled into a pit of existential despair. As I wavered on the edge about to catch my balance, I could have sworn I felt a hand on my back.

The place at the bottom was dark and small. I was too afraid to ask for help; people would ask how I got here, they would tell me it’s my fault, they would tell me about their friends who had also fallen into holes. Even if I had been pushed in, I was the only one who could get myself out.

Lying around me were twisted knots of pain, shallow pools of sadness, huge blocks of guilt and little clippings of nihilism. Hey, there’s art down here, I thought. It just hasn’t been made yet. I reached into my sweatshirt pocket. It was fortunate that I had been carrying one thing on my person that day: hope.

I transformed self-loathing into self-reflection, and saw myself as I really was for the first time in weeks. With a few sharp knocks, dissatisfaction became the desire for change. What I thought was sadness was actually grief; it went away the next mourning. There’s still a pile of anger sitting on the floor. I don’t know what to do with it yet, I’m saving it for just the right moment, the right reason.

It’s less dark and less small at the bottom of the hole now.

I think one day I’ll have created enough art to use as a ladder to get out of here, or a megaphone to yell to the voices of my friends, high above my head. But for now, I’m starting small. I’m taking the time to heal (the fall was pretty far). But I can’t stay here forever when the voices up there need hope as much as I do.

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