Thoughts begin to accumulate, feelings slowly build and rise inside, a whisper of a forsaken past and memories from Before. Nostalgia sweeps in like a suffocating embrace, blurring the hopes for Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow with the ever constant pressure from Now. Achievements always in comparison, never enough, a hopeless fire of rage and doubt and depression, of self-destruction and the inescapable burn out.

By twenty-two, you should have succeeded. By twenty-five, you should have a lover, a home, children to nourish and raise and love unconditionally. Otherwise just stop trying. What’s the point?

Society’s timeline revolves around progression by a certain time with everything; education, success, marriage and the (nonexistent) happily ever after. If happily ever after existed, what happens after? Is that when death is supposed to take your hand and gently pull you toward its boat leading into oblivion, where we await judgement? When does it end?

If success is measured by a time period, what happens after achieving those goals? If, after attaining it all, getting everything you’ve ever wanted, that’s the everything you’re meant to have—what are you meant to do following that success?

The fears of the unknown and the ignored or rejected emails stand out above the achievements: the two poetry books, a good (but not great) grade despite the personal hurdles and the choking terror of loss, a reignited belief in what I thought I’d never find again, a newfound family and friendships to outlast the storms of life. Where the bad seemingly outweighs the good, the good is still always present, always within reach, a journey of self-love and acceptance encompassing the negativity.

But with the looming adulthood and a new book arriving with turning twenty-two in 9 days, there is a tidal wave of darkness creeping back, a dark blankness shrouding the glittering pastels, eclipsing every moment of laughter, of hope, of bliss. “Comparison is the thief of joy“, but it’s hard to stop comparing when others have reached their goals and dreams at a younger age or are in continuous state of getting it all. Progress, even at a slow and steady pace, is still progress.

But having never taken a step back or a social media break, perhaps it’s time to do just that. A break. A pause. A moment of solitude and quiet and peace, to recognise every lapse in judgement and stupid mistakes, to be able to refocus, regroup, recuperate and reinvent.

Focusing is hard when your mind is plagued by thoughts of never being enough in every aspect of your life. Comparing, success and perfection in careers, goals, milestones, bodies, is so toxic, draining, damaging, detrimental. When words begin to fail and you find yourself lifting it away and altering it to fit as yours, it turns into a big question of your character, a criticism of credibility, reliability and authenticity. So to regain sanity and a better mental health, this is a temporary goodbye.

See you again soon.

XOXO

Sumaiya

Posted by:Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed is a student, poet and freelance features journalist, aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture, and bringing marginalised topics to light. She is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Poised.

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