Take Your Pain And Ignite It

I know you. I know you’re hurting, and that right now, you think you’re not good for much of anything.

When it feels like your world is crumbling around you, when you feel like everything is falling apart, that’s your cue to stand up and make a change. Stand up tall, don’t back down, and shout from the rooftops if that’s what it takes to be heard. Change isn’t easy; it’s both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Believe me when I say that you don’t have to sit back and watch your life pass by, and you shouldn’t. I know that it’s easier said than done because sometimes nothing feels stable. Our lives are dynamic creatures, shape-shifting and transforming in front of our very eyes before we even have time to stop and breathe.

The unexpected causes warning bells to go off in our minds, drowning out any voice of reason that tries to get through. We have a tendency to break ourselves down before anything, or anyone, has the chance to. Defense mechanisms come in all shapes and sizes, and we’ve become experts at putting up walls. They’re sturdy walls, built on brick foundations that stretch back for years and years, blocking out any trace of hostility. Emotional turmoil isn’t something to be taken lightly. How can we learn to expect the unexpected when all it seems to do is cause pain?

This moment. This moment when you realize just how much time you’ve spent suffering in solitude. It’s the cue you’ve been waiting for.

Take your pain and ignite it.

To ignite is to catch fire, to burst, to combust. This form of beautiful chaos means that something inside you has been dying to get out, and it finally has the chance to. Burn the parts of your past that you don’t need anymore. Leave them miles and miles behind. Something magical happens when you finally let yourself feel. Your sense of happiness, fulfillment, self-esteem — whatever’s been missing longs to break out and finally stretch its wings. It’s always been there, it just needed a conduit. Now it has one. Use everything in you to shape the negative emotions into something positive. Let them burn and burn and burn until they’re unrecognizable. Until they’re finally free.

Free.

I’ve always loved that word. In my mind, I picture a phoenix. It’s crimson red, with eyes that shine. It’s big and beautiful and has the ability to roam wherever it chooses. The phoenix is you. You have the power to change what you do and where you go, and in the middle of this explosive change, others will be watching. We’re drawn to sources of positive energy, to light, to anything that glimmers with hope. The glow that radiates from you is as bright as the sun, and trust me, others will notice. One of the fascinating things about being human is how easily we pick up on the behaviors of others, sometimes without even realizing it. They’ll look on and maybe, just maybe, find the motivation to snap into action too. We naturally gravitate towards what people around us are doing, and in this case, the change has the potential to be astronomical. Think of this if you’re ever feeling small. You affect everything and everybody around you. Every. Single. Day.

Remember that we were built from the ground up, our bodies filled with a fire that burns too brightly for us to back down. We are soldiers. We are fighting the good fight.

Turn negative feelings into a force for good. They’ve worn you down and made you feel powerless, but take these experiences and mold them into something else. Something powerful. You’ve grown even fiercer through all of this, remember that. Focus all of your energy on being the person you wanted when you felt like you had no one. It’s there that you’ll find the rawest and best form of you, the one you’ve been searching for. Take time alone to figure out who you want to be. Who you are now can change in a heartbeat because you’re not static and you never will be. You’ve never been the same as you were yesterday, and you won’t be the same tomorrow. You’re not limited to your own perceptions or the perceptions of others.

My best friend once told me that I looked beautiful because I was in the process of finding myself, that I was glowing. She might not even remember when she told me those words, but I’ve never forgotten. It’s resonated with me even though I still, after all this time, have no idea who I really am. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely whole. I don’t want to be. There’s so much pressure to be perfect, to have your “life together,” whatever the heck that means. Being broken is equated with being weak, but the opposite is true. You’ve been broken and bruised but it only makes you stronger. You’re a survivor.

The good thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. Keep moving forward.

Try. Try and try and try again. Stumble and fall and get right back up off the ground. You don’t have to always know what the plan is. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We’ve no guarantee what tomorrow brings, so make the life you’re living now something to be proud of.

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Astra is a twenty-something madness who likes to write short stories that are, kind of like her, barely there. Her soul is happiest when she is reading, or being around people who lift up her spirits.

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