It’s interesting, isn’t it? How teachers often tell us that any question is a bright question, and a good question’s only job is to be asked. But kindergarten was sixteen years ago, and my teachers don’t say this anymore. We stopped talking about questions a long time ago.
Story Embers Publication Manager & Staff Writer
Cindy Green is a forest-wandering, poetry-scribbling stargazer with messy notebooks and messy thoughts. Despite her love for all of God’s creation, sunflowers and stars in particular have a way of sneaking into both her writing and her heart (but you won’t hear her complaining about it). She is an amateur sword-wielder with a Highland-dancing warrior spirit who also writes letters to the moon and considers the sky her best friend. While Cindy enjoys a wide range of smile-inducing activities such as camping, downhill skiing, and reading, her favorites include listening to the whispering of the wind and singing along to every word at a Skillet concert (resulting in the temporary misplacement of her voice). A focused daydreamer, organized pack rat, and oblivious observer, she is a self-professing ambivert (or a living contradiction) who deeply feels both the beauty and fallen state of the world. Through her words, she hopes to describe the indescribable and form personal connections with people while reflecting a love for her Savior and a passion for everything she touches.
I don’t remember living without this doubt. Confidence was suspicious, like the shadows of dark streets that I never dared wander. Certainty was the friend I watched others get to know, wondering if she would happen to notice me by accident. I don’t remember living without walls around my bedroom and thoughts.
Yesterday was an ordinary day. I don’t mean that I spent it marching through the mundane, looking for glimpses of something new to steer me off my road of routine. I mean that I never lifted my head to check. I don’t mean that the rhythm of my steps was in ticking time with my cadent pulse. I mean that some moments I couldn’t feel my heart beating at all.
I have to give a speech this term—and, frankly, I’m afraid. It’s not my form of fun, and now I’m speaking for a grade. I have to give a speech this term and share my thoughts aloud. They say it’s just like writing, but the difference is a crowd.
I straighten my back, and shoulder blades take on a new meaning. Tension stretches its hands around my neck and claws my skin at the same time—like twisted thorns clinging to the seams in my shirt. I laugh sometimes
that I can’t tell if the creaking is from my bed or my back, but while people are responding with “Work on better posture” or “You’re too young to feel like this,” I’m nodding my head with the strength of my last coffee.
To the girl I knew six Octobers ago, it hurts to see the way your sweater matches your eyes, because I know they turn gray sometimes like the storm cloud you zip up over your shoulders. You haven’t found the right language yet, so you speak in knotted strings and layered sleeves, but that’s okay. I wish I could tell you that you are heard, but there’s a steadiness in my voice you wouldn’t recognize.
Do you remember it? The day I first said I’m weak—it took a week to say it all; I misspeak about the thoughts in my mind, and I had to rewind when the wheels would squeak. I’m not derailed, just a bit misaligned. I know my head should unwind, but I’m afraid of critique.
Are you my friend? You have always cared for me, caught my tears, catered to every color I tried to dye my hair. You didn’t mind the dirt when I dug spaces in the garden, and I smiled at how gently you guided flowers to fill them.
Why does heaven feel closer in the woods? I ask that as if I do not know the answer. Maybe I simply want to tell myself why. The sky is closer up here in this tree, and the forest is where I pour myself out, always hoping, always asking to be filled back up—but not with what I had before. Never what I had before.
I learned to bury myself in exams and exhaustion, in pink highlighters and black thoughts, in study guides and late nights, in straight As and tangled headphones. I learned everything I was supposed to be, and everything I wasn’t; I learned that I could live my best life and still see pieces of my worst.