my feet were tired

When I was 12 I thought my world was made out of flowers. My sun was the sunflowers that grew in my backyard and my sky was the bluebells that sang me songs as I feel asleep. My smile was made out of flowerbeds and my laugh was made out of Dragon Snaps, because they looked more like lips that brush you with kisses than fingers that snapped against your palm. My happiness was a crafted flower crown, sitting in the front yard with my grandmother as she tried to teach me to tie it all the way.

When I was 13 I thought my world was made out of my bike. My feet were the tire wheels that took me to far off lands and lead me down towards the path of adventure, resulting in scrapped knees and scratched cheeks. My joy was the wind against my face and the promise of a new horizon over every hill. My dreams were made out of chains and tire pressure.

When I was 14 I thought my world was made out of hormones. My clouds were the boys in my grade seven class, blocking out my sun and clouding my judgement. Their smiles infatuated my mind and compromised my system. Now my smile had become tight and nervous, and the flowers that once made up my world wilted around me. The petals hung loosely against my skin as my happiness was now determined by forces other than the sun, the soil, and water. They were forces out of mine, and natures, control.

When I was 15, I thought my world was made out of I love you’s. The first and only time a boy I liked laughed the words off his tongue like a tune to my favourite song, my wilted smile blossomed into a feeling I didn’t know existed outside of fairy tales. But they were hollow words like an empty promise, and sometimes on my quieter days I can hear them still echoing in the distance. My hands became a word on the tip of your tongue, cold and distant, always searching for the answer that another hand might hold. My ears became microphones, sitting on a stand waiting for the next love to sing.

When I was 16, I thought my world was made out of black and white. Not the okay kind of black and white that makes you reminisce about a simpler time and weep for days that have turned into night, but the black and white that drained all the colour away from life. My heart was the moon, always reflecting off of the sun but never giving off its own heat, and my air was weightless water that engulfed me and filled my lungs, drowning me alive.

When I was 17 I thought my world was made out of second chances. The second time I went to Paris I thought I would be able to live it all over again, and experience my first times anew. It was then when I realized my world wasn’t made out of second chances, but disappointments. Later that year I met a boy who played my heart like a badly tuned piano and broke it like an eggshell. My fingertips were the broom that swept up the pieces and my tears were the glue that put them back together.

When I turned 18, I started to look at flowers again. They seemed smaller now. Fragile. I found it hard to make flower crowns because the stems could break so easily. It was only then that I realized my happiness wasn’t flower crowns anymore. My feet weren’t tire wheels and my hands weren’t always searching for another hand to hold. My dreams weren’t chains and air pressure and my heart wasn’t the moon. My world wasn’t made out of flowers or bicycles, or hormones and second chances and I love you’s. I am not a reflection of the worlds I live in.

I am 18, and my world is not made out of words or things. My palms are possibilities, turned upwards towards the sky. My soul is space, vast and expanding, mysterious and impossible. My voice is power, giving me the tools I need to build my own world, of my own making. I am the creator of my own existence. My happiness is me.

—  The 18 Worlds I’ve Lived In (by daetion)