Elisha (P) returns to her poetry-prose installment, Notes on Regaining Autonomy.
Take a moment to reflect on where you were a year ago;
how vastly different your life is now,
how vastly different you are now,
how immense the gulf between then and now seems.
Remember how you felt as though you would surely drown in that gulf before you got to this point?
And maybe, some days, you still feel like you might drown,
but the difference is that you keep moving.
And for the days when the struggle makes you question your ability to keep your head above the water,
There will be days when you realise how empowering the struggle you’ve overcome can be.
Remember how it felt to be drowning without moving at all?
Stagnation is far more asphyxiating than struggling against a current.
Embrace how, truly, overwhelming that concept is.
Allow yourself to be overwhelmed and unashamed.
It has been emblazoned into our psyches that being overwhelmed is coupled with inadequacy, but it’s a feeling we’ve all had.
It’s a place where we’ve all found ourselves.
And it’s likely we’ll all find ourselves there again,
In some way or another,
At some indeterminable point in our lives.
Be gentle with yourself.
Realise that progress is comprised of places like this,
Because just as time and experience are not linear, neither is progress.
It is like a web weaved of Plan A, Plan B, and everything in between.
Take comfort in knowing that no matter how many times your plans change,
No matter how many new threads are formed in this web,
The web is yours, and yours alone.
Reflect, on the idea that you are now actively building an infrastructure for your life, that is completely of your own doing.
Know that though there are people in your life who care enough to help ensure you have what you need to build this, nobody can build it for you.
And you don’t need them to do it, but be grateful for the help when it comes.
Though there are days when doing it alone feels like an insurmountable task, remember that you have gotten this far, and you’ll continue to go further.
Remind yourself, often, of your resilience.
And if one day, you forget this,
If one day the gulf between your past and future seems too difficult to traverse,
Ask yourself again, “Who am I?”
Remember how it felt to take that first relieving breath of air
After emerging from a depth that you thought would be the end of you,
But instead was a beginning.
Remember how it felt to take those first steps,
Which you have since turned into miles.
And don’t stop.