It’s hard not to feel trapped. Expectations and goals are constantly lingering on my mind. The idea of being free, without consequences is almost inconceivable. There is a constant pressure pushing down on my shoulders, and to counteract it, I keep my shoulders lifted and tense.

In the moments that the mere idea of life feels too intense, the pressure holding me down escalates. More tension is built, like a rubber band looped around my shoulders to the ground is stretched one hundred times more taught. Standing is a challenge because an invisible force is pulling me toward the ground. I am only comfortable when laying down, parallel to the ground.

Sometimes the pressure feels like it is condensing my mass. My stature feels like it is being scrunched like a piece of junk mail after being opened and rejected. Crumbled and unwanted. In these moments, I need my physical being to match the feeling. I contract, and I rearrange, until the pieces feel lined up- until the puzzle is complete.

Gravity is not my friend. To some, it is a reliable means of keeping everything grounded, but to me, it is a restriction. It ties me to the ground. It is holding me back. Sometimes it is so restricting that the only comfort is laying down. Standing tall is too daunting of a task. Gravity feels like it will flatten me as thin as a pancake. If it let up, I would feel light. If it lessened, my shoulders would not feel weighed down.

When I regain a calm front, I need to rebuild. It is important to make sure that the fortress is rebuilt. I want to be perceived as perfect. I try my best to act the part. I want perfect grades, to look put together and the be the best. It is an impossible task, but it is essential to try to be my best- to be perfect. No one must see my distress. I must not let people see the imperfections. If they see it, they could think less of me. If they see it, they could use it to ruin me.

In short moments, the weight lightens. My body feels as light as a feather. The steady breath being drawn in through my nose feels like the most precious action in the universe. Nothing else matters but the moment. These are the rare moments, but they make the daunting task of living a bit more reasonable.