When I was younger, just a kid really, my whole extended family used to take trips to the beach. They’d rent a couple of condos for a week and stick all the kids in one and all the adults in the other. One cousin in particular and I would get up every morning and rush out to the beach to watch the sun rise. When we were older, my aunt took a picture of us sitting and watching the sun rise on our final morning in the Bahamas.
There was something magical to me about waiting to watch the sun peek up over the water. Slowly all of the water would start to blush with the light and the colors painted as the world woke up were stunning. I loved how the darkness receded in front of the coming sun.
I feel like a kid again watching the sun rise. Only this time, it’s in my heart and soul and not physically on the earth. I’ve been in some dark places this last, long while. And while dawn is breaking, I’m still dodging the shadows to get into the sunlight. I feel as if those fleeing shadows had dragged me back, deeper into the recesses of dark, but I’m clawing my way out now.
It hasn’t been easy. There have been days when I’ve had to choose to make myself smile. There have been days when I couldn’t even make that choice. But smiling is coming easier now. I can actually get up and clean or take the dog for a walk instead of just thinking about it.
There are plenty of theories in my head about what brought this on. The most prevalent two being my birth control and culture shock. All I know is that I have to beat it, and on my own. While I would have no problems seeing someone and taking medication if that were required, it complicates things as a military dependent. Fair or not, if you need regular medical treatment outside of birth control you get listed as an “exceptional” family member and it is harder to get approval to go to remote stations.
So in my head I have a reason to blame and a cause to fight. It’s helped. So has just knowing that this isn’t me. I’m the sunshine girl, not the rain child. I’m the one with smiles and a laugh that cajoles you to join in. I’ve been lost in the dark, stumbling around, not being me.
There’s a part of me that is worried about the damage I’ve done. I’m not sure where to find the me who laughed easier than she cried. I’m sad for the lost time and the hardship I’ve put my husband through. He went from dating a girl who always laughed to having a wife who couldn’t stop crying.
But I can’t afford to think about that. Because that opens the door back to the shadows. Right now I have to choose to laugh, choose to smile, choose happy. But at least I’ve found where I can choose it again.
I make you no promises that everything will be sunshine and roses from here on out. That wouldn’t be genuine. However, I am making it a goal of mine to focus on the good in life and meditate on the beauty to be found. Dwelling in darkness and shadows has brought me no solace. Now I want to look for it in the light.
It’s been a long, hard journey in the night. But a new dawn is breaking.