The familiar and welcoming smell of chalk and boiled cabbage in the crisp, Maine air is all but a memory now. The taste of fresh, sweet blueberries is all but a remnant upon her thin chapped lips. Chapped by the constant, dry, soul sucking air of purgatory. She gazes outside of her window, yearning for more. Yearning for contentedness. Yearning for a sense of belonging in a community where she feels like a square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole. She gazes at Paradise desperately hoping to become inspired. Inspired by the beauty before her. Inspired by those who came before her and made a name for themselves. She gazes at Paradise in a desperate attempt to spark a fire within herself. Desperate to light the fire within her soul that once burned brighter than magnesium.

She sits by the radiator to feel the warmth that she wishes she could feel within her soul. A soul that has been damaged by this place. This place of pressure and expectations. She listens to the ticking of the clock. “Tick, tock. Tick, tock.” She watches the pendulum move from side to side. She wishes she was that pendulum. It never has any ups and downs. It sways from side to side. Never having anything get in its way. Nothing gets in its way of progress. It has momentum. It never questions its motivations. It knows what’s coming next in a sequence of event. It lives a simple existence, in its case, being nurtured and cared for. Its caretakers ever so careful to nurture it because they see its value. She wants to be that pendulum.

She hears the ticking of the clock. Instead of the pleasant, reassuring tick and tock she hopes to hear, she now hears echoes of her own self-criticism. The clock says “the time for change is now. Break the pattern, make them proud, bring home the bacon.” She listens to the clock but remains silent. Too scared to speak up. Too scared to express what it feels like to be her in a world that hates the person she has become. She hates the person she has become. She stares at the clock. The comfort it brought her yesterday no longer brings joy. It brings tears and memories of what life was like before the conflicts. Wanting to sleep but being unable to. Wanting to practice self-care and compassion but feeling too guilty. She wants to feel deserving of happiness and the inherent wellness that she possesses in the depths of her soul.

Tick tock, tick tock goes the clock. She listens until the can listen no more. She confronts the clock. Questions why its existence is any more valuable than hers. She asks why a perfect life is so perfect. She chooses to no longer sit idly. She shatters it. It breaks free from its sheltered existence in a perfectly maintained world. She changes her mind. She doesn’t want to be the clock. She wants to see more than just the box she has put herself in. She wants more for herself than a safe existence. No longer will she stand by and see others take advantage of the world around her. She took a risk. She breaks one of the few things that allows her to remain comfortable. That allows her to move day to day knowing she’ll be safe. She takes this leap and the world opens up to her. Her self-criticism is gone. It is now just an occasional irritant. She’s at peace with her decision to cease the tick and tock of the clock. She is now the person she should be. A woman excited to start her day. A woman who sees the good in people. A woman who is content with the state of her life. She now longer allows other’s hopes and dreams for her cloud her own judgment.

She knows what she wants. A life of contentment. A contemplative life. A life of peace. She is well on her way to the life she desires. No more are her feet fettered to the expectations of the outside world. Gone are the days of demands and unmet expectations. She ushers in a new era of acceptance and understanding of herself. This is the life she’s been working toward. She’ll get what she wants. A life where self-care is valued and expected. A life where the present is most important. No more looking at the past to wonder what could have been or what things should be in the future. She has found the spark that’s been missing. She is alive again and eager for the joys of tomorrow.