Inhaling Courage

Sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of her open bedroom window, she exhaled smoke into the cold night air. When this habit had become a routine, she did not know, yet it was now built into her nightly routine without ever making the conscious decision to add it. Sitting there in such a humble position, she enjoyed the moment of peace while gazing out over the dark landscape, only highlighted with the twinkle of far off lights. What her mind really craved however, was to smoke on a roof, but this was the closest she could get to that at this moment. On the roof, her thoughts were free to run wild and expand to their full capacity. The air was more open, and easier to breath, and released a calming effect that spread gradually over her body. Sitting in such an exposed, yet hidden place was freeing. She was both allowing herself to let go, but hiding that free spirit from interacting with anyone else. She sat above the heads of the people walking in the street, completely exposed, yet only aware of herself and the stars above her. With her headphones enveloping her ears, her head turned upwards, she felt as if she were sitting amongst the stars themselves. She could almost feel her body floating into the space where she could dance freely, live lightly, and always keep an eye on the people she loved. She liked to imagine that her father had a place amongst the stars now, similar to Mufasa, and she felt closer to him when she was enveloped by the night.

The stars are her home, and she felt safe whenever she could see them watching over her. It is the piece of home that she can bring with her anywhere. When she ached for home and a familiar face while living in England, she just needed to look up at the night sky and a feeling of security would wash over her. When she spent a month vacationing in Australia, she returned home every evening, smoking and star gazing on the hostel’s roof. When she was lost in her own mind, with thoughts overwhelming her to the point of breaking, she allowed the stars to take over all that she saw and ease her back into a stable place. Although she could not pick out many constellations, and had failed to take an Astronomy class the way she had always wanted, she knew the lights in the sky like the freckles that covered her pale body. They had become a piece of her, and gazing up at them was like looking into a mirror for her soul – they allowed her to see where she stood in that moment, and where she wanted to go. They are ever present, yet when hidden from view by a cloudy night sky, she felt like a piece of her was missing or being hidden.

She craved the exposure, clean night air filling her lungs, and peaceful solitude – she could take or leave the smoking. It was just an excuse to get outside without appearing odd to others. It is what originally inspired her connection with the night sky, but had now become an unnecessary accessory. She wanted to drop the detrimental habit that was decreasing her lung’s ability to inhale that fresh night air, but there was an element of nostalgia that would not let her. She was reluctant to change, and clung onto familiar habits like a life vest. She could control her own habits, but not the happenings of the world around her. Despite knowing that her habit is actively doing her harm, she had become reliant upon it to function and infuse peace into her life. Knowing that there are other ways to find peace, she knew that this habit of smoking would fall by the wayside eventually. She would know when it was time for her to drop it and find a new comfortable habit. But for now, she indulged fully in inspiration found in the hands of disservice. She inhaled the toxic chemicals deeply, and watched as the exhale of smoke danced away in the night sky, highlighted only by the light of the stars above, and found the courage to be at peace with herself.

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