Sometimes, the fear is overwhelming. Jumping into the world, untethered, reaching for something I’ve wanted for so long. The terrifying brink has kept me away. Confidence used to reign with my name, but I’ve become lost to the impropriety. Sadness has muddied the mind, making a murky smile seem cold, distant.

It’s not the wish I had wished for. To feel a sense of burden to those I care for, those I love, those I would do anything for. Their vision of me – Have I Changed?

Thoughts meander in and around every waking moment, casting a shadow of doubt over every action, every step. The scorched earth beneath my feet does not resemble the world I know, but the path I’ve been lingering on so long that now my only option is to outrun the flames.

Gasping for air, unaware if this aching feeling is from the exhaustion of the chase or smothering smoke from my surroundings. Concentration wanes with each motion, a step, a wave, a blink of my eye. Fear, sadness, it leads a tragic tale, lingering beyond what must be eternity. Sunlight creeps through the fog every passing day, with beautiful laughter and loving faces bouncing off each ray of light. Like strings on the air, tying fragmented feelings together, keeping me whole.

Everlasting love pushes me forward. Taking that leap is frightening, but the scared, timid voice looks for strength in the unknown. Bonds of friendship hold my hands, serving as a lantern in the darkness, a whisper in the silence, courage when grit has stripped away. Despair knows not of those surrounding me as I face the chasm.

Vines rise from the soil, coiling around shoes firmly planted, vivid dreams seen in the distance. Unable to escape, those close bonds let go of my hands, breaking those things that pull my legs into the mire. As the grip loosens, what once was a gaping pit ahead now rests a teetering bridge. An idea forms, as fresh air fills my lungs and mindfulness resumes, an idea grows. This twisted, loosely woven path ahead, has it been here the entire time? Has senses been dulled into loathsomeness?

Stepping forward will break the binds, despite the tension, the anguish, the residual remorse from not doing so sooner. Love will help heal what time cannot, as trust wears no watch and betrayal gets paid by the hour. Kindness soothes the soul. Friendship fills the heart. Love secures the mind.

A journey into the unknown does not mean a directionless path. The unknown only means you get to choose what route to take, what bridge to cross, what stars to follow. And then.