August is here and the garden remains unweeded. The hydrangeas that once brought me joy– one of the few things I looked forward to, would not be blooming this season. They were alive, yes, but my mother, armed with good intentions and a garden shear, cut them to the ground. They will come back next season, at least that I’m sure of. I wish I was this certain about my future. My summer is filled with socializing. A barbecue with friends, picnics and hikes in nearby parks, dinners out, and movie nights but despite the seeming eventfulness of it all I am always followed by an inner demon. A devil I wrestle with every day that I am awake. It mostly lives inside my small room. Panic and tension. I’ve learned that was their name, as Instagram had suggested.
It’s been the devil that has followed me for most of my adult life. I viewed the world with mistrust and anxiety “what’s going to go wrong now?”
I have a sinking feeling that while it didn’t reach its full demonic size until my adulthood, it had been festering since my adolescence. I grew up in a household and a broader culture that was afraid of failure. It was a space that valued certainty to the extent that every plan had to have a backup. Transitions were emotionally distressing and mentally difficult because they were periods of uncertainty which I was expected to come out of successfully. The result of my decisions was often met with either a disapproving stamp or ways to mitigate my failures.
There always had to be a backup plan and while backup plans aren’t bad, it was the intention behind it that seemed to sour the journey. It was always because I needed to be part of the best, the top, the creme de la creme and it didn’t matter if I had fun, made friends, or had discovered something amazing along the way. They were distractions–unappreciated. I had to always be finding ways to get back into shape and climb as quickly as possible and if I wasn’t a success in the timeframe expected of me, then what was I?
I was always haunted by the failures of the past and the anxiety of the future. Stepping out of that chokehold allowed me to create a space of peace. But the house I built to shelter myself isn’t made of bricks, yet. And when the winds of change come blowing, the house shudders. I am inside, in panic, trying to find ways to keep my home standing. What I often forget is that I am in a forest, and if the house falls apart, there are many ways to build it up again.
So I go about like this in my daily life. I know that my warmth is welcomed in the spaces I have cultivated but once I withdraw into my own home, the demon comes knocking.