There’s Always Sunshine After Rain by Amanda Spain

The sound of Malia’s favorite song blared through her headphones as she waited for her order at the coffee shop.  Malia loved the smell of coffee, but despises the taste. She’s more of a tea or hot chocolate with whipped cream drinker. Today was a really good day for her, so she decided to treat herself by making a stop at her local coffee shop. She looked around, wondering if any of the customers were staring at her.  She also wondered if any of them could tell that she wasn’t “normal”, as if she had the words “I’m not normal” tattooed on her forehead. She wondered if they knew that she couldn’t hang around large crowds of people, without feeling as if she was trapped and that all eyes were on her. That she would feel sick to her stomach when trying to do normal day to day activities outside her room.  That it took all of her energy to try and be “normal”. Once her order was ready, Malia took her cup of hot chocolate from the barista and headed out the door before walking home.

Even though her home was her safe haven, it was slowly becoming another place where she felt judged. She was tired of that feeling. She was tired of her own parents not understanding her. They would always tell her that there was nothing wrong with her; she was just trying to get attention, which was far from the truth. Attention was the last thing she wanted.  Attention is what caused her breathing to quicken to the point that she was hypervenatiling. Attention was what caused her to break out in a cold sweat. After she would have an attack, she was drained so much that all she wanted to do was sleep. She just wanted to be normal, not her normal. However, what did it mean to be normal? Most people would probably say that normal doesn’t exist because everyone is different, so how can there be a “norm”. Malia, on the other hand, would simply say being normal was being able to just go out and be free. To do things that everyone else is able to do. She wanted to be able to do the simple things in life, like having friends and just doing anything that she wanted. She just wanted to experience life. Something she wasn’t able to do.

She would often wonder what her life would be like if she didn’t have anxiety. Would she be able to accomplish all of her aspirations that she had for herself? Would her entire life that she knows now, be all that different?  When she thought about all the things she wanted to experience in her lifetime, but couldn’t because her anxiety was holding her back, she became depressed and angry. Depressed because she wasn’t happy anywhere besides her room and that she would most likely waste her life away because she couldn’t do “normal” things. Angry at the fact that she had no one to talk to, no one that understood how she felt or would even try to understand. She just wanted one person. That was all she needed, but alas there was not one single person in her life that would be there for her. No one in her life even tried to help her or understand what she was going through. No one cared enough about her to even try. She was alone. She was completely alone.

When Malia arrived home, both of her parent’s cars were gone. They were either at work or out to dinner, something they always did. She wasn’t quite hungry yet, once she walked through the front door of her home, so she walked right up to her room and shut the door. This, this was her happy place, her true safe haven, her sanctuary. Being in her room was when she forgot about everything. She was able to just be her, something she had a hard time being anywhere else. She didn’t have to worry about having panic attacks or having strangers judge her. She was just happy, something she hardly ever was. It started raining outside when she looked out the window. A smile crept along her face as she walked over to open the window a bit, just enough to bring in the smell and the sound of the rain. Most people enjoyed the sunshine, while she enjoyed the rain. The rain reminded her of her. It was hard to explain, really, but it just seemed to fit.

Malia went to bed that night, to the sounds of the rain falling from the night sky. She slept well, better then usual, which surprised her when she woke up to the sound of her alarm clock and the fact that the sun was shining through her open window. She had forgotten that she had left it open the night before in order to hear the rain. She thought how it was so strange how it can go from sunshine to cloudy sky and rain back to sunshine again. For every rainy day or rainy moment, it always ended with sunshine and even sometimes a beautiful rainbow. No matter how much it rained, the sun would always reappear, eventually. Maybe that was what she need. She needed to end her rainy days with a little sunshine. Maybe what she thought that she needed all this time, she already had. That person that she wanted to help her get through her “rain storms” was always there; they were just hidden behind the clouds. Her sunshine, or that person, was herself.  What she needed was within her all along. She was her own sunshine and one day, one day she would break through her own cloud of darkness, shine her light and live her life the way that she wanted. She would live happy.

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