Today, I am living


Maya Sneider

A picture of Maya and me this January after a great night with our friends.

January, February, and March are my least favorite months.

Nothing good has ever come of these ninety days, simply hazy skies tainting my skin in a dull gray. I trudge through those months, waiting for the warm and rainy April days to bring me back to life.

As one can gather from the words I have just written, no, I am not living during those dreary months.

Or, at least I wouldn’t describe it as living. Existing, perhaps, is the better verb to encapsulate those ninety days. I am mass, moving from class to class every day and coming home to rest every night.

Slowly but surely, like a loose sheet of paper, I am tearing apart. Every daunting facet of my dreary days loom over me, waiting patiently, until the moment is perfect: they jab at my sides until I can’t stand up straight, until my legs stop working, until I am no longer living.

Back then, I hid in the depths of the cavern and let the darkness blanket over me like a fallacy of hope.

Eventually, I give up and let myself succumb to the constant pain that soon becomes numb. 

As the previous year came to an extravagant close, the only thought residing in my mind was that the next ninety days will be the worst days of the year—again. And, just as I presumed, as the clock struck twelve, I found myself back in the vacant cave that is seemingly impossible to escape.

However, I am not the same person that I was last year.

Back then, I hid in the depths of the cavern and let the darkness blanket over me like a fallacy of hope. This year, I ran straight toward the light, and I didn’t let it slip away from me.

I grasp onto the light and refuse to let it go because if I do, I will lose the only way out of the cave I have been trapped in. It tries to escape, but I hold on tighter. I have never gotten so close to seeing what is outside of the cave.

I pull

and I pull

and I escape.

The other side is so light, so airy, and so perfect. Warmth is radiating off my once-frozen skin as I embrace the freedom I have gained. The fallacies of hope have since shattered and have been replenished with true optimism. I know I will be happy these ninety days.

And while I rejoice in my triumph, I cannot take it for granted. If I allow for my time basking in the light to breeze by quicker than it came, I will return back to the cave next year, even farther away from escaping than before. 

I need to live.

Every day must be better than the last. I can no longer simply be mass moving from class to class during the day and coming home to rest at night with no stories to tell.

I lived yesterday; I will live tomorrow.

Today, I am living.