Boston: Dancing Down an Empty Hallway

“This must be what confetti feels like all the time!!!”

Today, I woke up with Nimbus snoring away on the pillow next to me. She usually sleeps at the bottom corner of the bed, but occasionally she likes to shake things up a bit. I’m convinced she only does this after falling asleep at the window after putting in very long hours as the neighborhood watch. Anyway, my eyes opened to see her snoozing next to me, rainbows being casted all over my bedroom walls, and the sound of leaves rustling in the wind outside. I spent an hour in bed taking in all the mundane aspects of the morning as extraordinary life events worthy of celebration. The daily light show of rainbows was more vibrant than usual. Sharing a pillow with Nimbus brought a level of contentment I hadn’t felt before. The sounds of the leaves evoked a sense of connection with the world around me that I‘ve been neglecting for far too long.

The last four (and a half) years have been relatively calm in comparison to my younger 20’s. I haven’t found myself hitchhiking through the Balkans. Not a single mosquito bite has led to dengue fever. The only journey my backpack has been on was a whole whopping three blocks (from when I moved around the corner). I’ve adopted a cat who likes to take naps on my chest. Last week, I whispered “hibiscus tea? Too exciting” to myself before opting for a cup of chamomile at 9:30pm.

Sometimes I catch myself being extra critical because of how different my life looks nowadays. I’m thankful for my transient years, but I’m also fully aware of my reasons for never settling. I’d love to go back in time just to hug younger me, I think that’s really all she needed. We’re always our own worst critics, and I’m very familiar with navigating my ongoing battle with dichotomous thinking. I’ve been more intentional about catching myself before descending into the ALL BAD//ALL GOOD mindset. I started to keep a running list of moments that made me smile to celebrate all the little shimmers of joy and contentment felt throughout my days. I’ve had this “Delight of the Day!” notebook resting on my windowsill since November. Being able to flip through pages of delights is a wonderful reminder that there is so much joy to be felt, especially within the seemingly ordinary aspects of daily life.

Between work, school, and ya know… life stuff, the last four years have been really stressful. I’m still healing, but I suppose we’re always healing in our own ways. Regardless of where you are in that journey, it’s important to recognize the progress made in rewiring those destructive thought patterns and cognitive pathways… the same ones that I’ve spent countless hours studying ever since opening my first psych 101 textbook.

My heart feels full in a way that I’ve never experienced. I’ve settled into my body and I’ve learned how to feel at home in whatever space I find myself in. I don’t want to escape from it anymore. I feel whole because I no longer see my body as being a separate entity. It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point, but there’s just so much joy in using it as an expression of my happiness. Dancing has never come naturally to me for a myriad of different reasons, but recently I’ve been dancing way more than ever.

Yesterday, I was on campus typing away at my final paper in an office with a friend. During every break, we would close our laptops to move around the office and chat about anything non-school related. At one point, I was belly down in a bean bag while Leila was sitting backwards on a chair with her back on the wall and her legs resting on the back of the chair. We spent three days working side by side on final projects and at 5:30, we made a pact to have everything submitted by 6:30.

Before sitting down for the final stretch, I decided to take a quick loop around the fourth floor when suddenly, Spotify decided to throw “delicate” at me — I don’t know what came over me, but the hallway became a stage and I was the main character. I was twirling through doorways, frolicking by open office doors, and just bopping around the same hallway I’ve walked through countless times over the last two years. My theatrical journey down the hallway brought me such an extraordinary amount of delight, but it wasn’t until journaling about it later on that I recognized the moment as being so much more. My awkward dancing down an empty hallway was more than a moment of delight — it was pure and unabashedly joyful.

So, I continued dancing until I reached the office where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

At 6:30pm, I submitted my independent study project.

At 6:30pm, I threw my hands in the air and yelled I’M DONE

At 6:30pm, I officially became the first in my family to finish college.

At 6:30pm, it hit me that everything I’ve worked for over the last four years paid off.

At 6:30pm, I went into the office fridge to eat a spoonful of peanut butter before saying “what the heck do I do now.”

At 6:30pm, I felt like the human embodiment of confetti.

At 6:30am, I rolled over to see my cat snoring, rainbows casted all over my bedroom walls, and the sound of leaves rustling in the window.

My heart feels full with the prospects of a life yet to blossom.

I did it, y’all!


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