After the Storm: Holding on to What Matters the Most.

Have you ever noticed how movies and T.V. shows set in the future are always super bright? They show white spaces with bright lights and lots of plants—minimalist chic.

There are no chunky, hand carved headboards hanging above colorful hand sewn quilts. There are no antique clocks at the ends of the hallways.

People wear white turtle necks without coffee stains on them.

All air and no dirt.

But if there are plants, there must be dirt.

I walked through Osaka Castle Park yesterday after Typhoon Jebi hit our area. Trees were uprooted on both sides of the street. Everything from underneath the earth was now above ground. Roots where fully dislodged from the soil. The oblong shrubs that line the walkway to the castle looked like they were mid-surgery on the operating table.

Osaka Castle Park

The park shed another layer. It will recover.

“The things that make you happy will always make you happy. Everything else is just an overlay.” ~Sharon Salzberg

Recently, one of my friends described her life to me in sections. She said her teenage years were one whole person. Her twenties were another person. And her thirties are the person that she is now.

Three separate people.

As I reel through old scenarios of the two other people that I’ve been in my life, my shoulders pull tightly to my ears. I try to imagine what it would be like if I invited my younger self into this room right now. Would I want to be friends with me?

If the girl that I used to be walked into this room, I think I would desperately want her to leave. I would watch her pace back and forth like a tiger across the carpet. I would want her to sit down. I would want her to drink tea with me and to listen. But she would never sit down with tea. She would never listen. She would never know how to be here really.

The clothes that I wore, the people that I let down and the people who laughed at me—none of that really matters now. So what is left once all of the surface washes away?

Three separate people. Three cities built on top of each other.

I raise my head from the laptop to stare at my reflection in the mirror above my writing desk for a minute. What makes this third person any different or the same from the other two?

I have broken apart so many times, and yet, here I am. So many things that I thought I could not go on without are now gone. Somehow what needs to go will go if the wind is strong enough. It might feel like a limb being severed from your body, but it is only a layer—nothing more.

Storms come through and force things from your arms. Sometimes we get to choose what stays and what goes, other times we don’t. At the end of the day, what will still be here no matter what? What stands here without all of the excess?

Well—I think to myself as I stare further into my reflection—I am still Jacqui. But now I am holding a lot less. I am a lot less concerned with whether they like me or not. In fact, I know I do not need anyone to love me back to love myself.

I drop my chin from the mirror after what feels like thirty seconds—it is actually five minutes.

One minute of holding a yoga pose vs. one minute of telling your life story.

One hour to a six year old with only 2,191 days on the planet vs. one hour to a thirty year old with 10, 957 days on the planet.

An hour seems so much shorter now. I could gobble it up with two strokes of my pen. An hour is daydreaming on an idea. An hour is a short conversation with lemon water and a sandwich. An hour felt like an entire lifetime at one point.


“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

As I begin my thirties, I hold the necessary weight of what I’ve experienced. The important parts are the ones that we cannot lose. There is no possible way to lose what matters the most.

The older I get the easier it is to get upset with all that I’ve lost. Because if I lay it out on the table, it is a lot. But with everything that is taken from me, something greater and more beneficial to the woman that I am becoming comes along.

There is nothing so terrible in this life that we cannot walk right through it. Before it becomes bright, clean and full of plants, it will start with dirt. It will start with darkness.

It will ask you to draw more blood from your own arm than you thought you had to spare. Somehow you will spare it. It will bring you to your knees and you will not be sure of what happens next. But you will get there. We get up again. We keep going.

What matters the most will always be there for us. ❤

For more on the sobriety journey, follow The OAM on Instagram @the_oam, and check out The OAM facebook page (click here). 


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