I go about my life just fine, sunny skies, mountains never too high to climb, then in a second, they appear. They surround me, engulf my thoughts, stop me dead in my tracks.

What do you think you’re doing? they say. You can’t; you won’t. Who do you think you are for wanting something like that?

I’m me, I respond. Me with my dreams, smart, talented, enthusiastic. I can do anything I set my mind to!

Their murmurs drown me out and make my voice quieter. You think you can do what? You want to go where? 

I grow smaller and smaller as they stand in my way, darkening my sun.

No, I gasp. No you’re wrong. I can do this. I can –

The terror grips me, paralyzing and tangible. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I can’t. Maybe I’m destined to be like this forever, to become one of them someday and give up chasing dreams of my own.

That’s right, they say. Stop trying. You don’t need to struggle. You’d hate it anyway. It isn’t worth the effort.

They aren’t right. They never are. I know that now, as I sit here typing, when they’re not trying to pull me under. But sometimes they feel so real.

Sometimes I can’t resist them on my own. So my back-up comes, to whisper in my ear that yes, I can, that it all will be okay. That I shouldn’t give up – that I can never give up. It helps me pick my head up and trudge on, through their sticky black sludge, away from them and toward the light of my dreams.

This is the story of me fighting back, screaming at the top of my lungs, I can, I can I can. Though my voice may be feeble, like a small flame on a windy night that threatens to go out, it’s still there.

They haven’t won yet. I don’t plan on letting them. I know I’m not alone in this struggle, that they bother everyone at one point or another. But they feel so isolating and sad and dark.

So I count today as a victory. Another day and the nay-sayers haven’t succeeded. Each day won is another day stronger. I will achieve my dreams. I will never let them stop me.


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