In attempt to preserve my car from becoming a filthy time capsule while I’m away at college, I spent the evening cleaning out the sand and empty water bottles that seem to have become one with my floor boards.
In the dual purpose arm-rest/storage container that sits between the two front passenger seats, I found the remains of typical high school memorabilia: a ticket stub to a Friday night football game the team lost, four No. 2 pencils leftover from a Saturday morning ACT, a pair of headphones, hand sanitizer, and some CDs. (I had the movie-esque high school car aka hand-me-down from my older brother, aux chord-less car.) *que millennials’ gasp*
But in the mix of all this pointless junk I found a stack of these CDs from sophomore year–in the height of my short lived running career- ranging from pre-race Waka Flocka (judge me) to Hillsong United, to my summer country playlists. Those CDs were the background music to my seemingly produced-by-Broderick Johnson (producer of The Blind Side and My Brother’s Keeper) sophomore year. I didn’t even notice it when I was compiling these songs into a CD; what I was feeling was evoked in those 5 playlist of 12 tracks each.
That was year fourteen; full of anxiety attacks, situationally-induced depression, dread of returning home every night to a house more synonymous with Hell, and exhaustion from a heavy school load and three hours of sports practice each night. I dreaded waking up to face another day, meanwhile others kept telling me that “things will get better.”
And suddenly I’m 18.
And I’m packing my belongings into my mom’s car and headed off to the dream school I worked so hard during that sophomore year to get into. I’ve found people that genuinely love me for who I am and those who make an effort to be in my life; cutting out those who make me feel rather worthless and establishing boundaries where needed.
And I’ve finished therapy and found ways to deal with my anxiety-challenging my mind to stop racing, and instead, walk through rising situations. And I’ve found ways to pull myself out of terrible days and to keep fighting those voices in my head.
And I clean out my hand-me-down car one last time, and I find those CDs and listen to them on my last Saturday night in my hometown, bringing me back to those times I wish I didn’t have in my memory, but are inherent regardless. And I look at the looming thunderstorm clouds backlight by the falling sun leaving a single rainbow in the sky.
And finally I’m able to say that things did get better.
And suddenly I’m 18.