My Life

Backyard Dreaming

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She climbed, because she needed to be reminded that she was alive. She used the rope for assistance, and laughed when she saw that even the rope that kept her from falling was hanging on by just a thread. She settled herself against the trunk of a tree and looked up. She noticed the trees, still naked from the winter that was slowly ending. She noticed the sky and the way the clouds made the blue look almost grey. But most of all, she noticed her heart beating heavily in her chest. And it made her smile, because it meant that she was truly alive.

When I was little, the backyard was my favorite place. It was where I laughed and thought and explored and dreamed. I loved being out there by myself, because that meant that I could be whatever I wanted to be. It meant that I was free.

But something happened, and suddenly the backyard didn’t seem so safe and free anymore. That something was my older brother filming my singing and dancing and talking to myself, simply because he thought it was funny, in a cute little kid kind of way. He didn’t mean any harm, and the rest of my family loved watching the video.

But little Jayla didn’t know that she was being watched, let alone being filmed. Little Jayla felt as if all of her secrets had been stolen from her, her safety ripped out from beneath her feet. And so the backyard became a place only for calculated play, because you never know who might be watching.

I have been really struggling with anxiety today, so I decided to go outside, because honestly, I needed to be reminded that I am alive and that there is a world outside the four walls of my bedroom. I originally intended to just sit out there and journal, but as I walked out the back door, I saw the hill extending up in front of me, and I knew I had to climb. So, journal in hand and flip flops on my feet, I started to climb the hill.

I took off my shoes and allowed the earth to soothe me, smiling at the thought that all the earth praises the God that I love so much. And then I remembered. I remembered that time when “backyard” was synonymous with “freedom”. I longed for that time.

But instead of longing for the past, I decided that I would turn my now into a place where, once again, backyards are for dancing and singing and creating. I decided to return to the place of freedom, where dreams are just a breath away.

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