My storm

My storm

Bart van Stratum

When the tide of the school year retreats back into the ocean of stress, anxiety, and deadlines, my environment turns into a gorgeous, fulfilling summer, and my storm begins to brew. 

When my summer finally arrives, the bundles of pressure gathered within me are soothingly untied and freed all at once. I praise myself for my tedious efforts, and I smile: I made it through another year. 

As my summer proceeds, my days are primarily decorated with dance and ice cream. Days on the beach with my friends are cherished, and I spend any time available bathed in comforting sunlight and engaged in activity with my beloved pup. My skin tans; on the outside I look better, and on the inside I feel better. 

I don’t forget about my storm. It steadily brews as camp weekend encroaches on the present. My storm encourages my body to shut down as it brings chaos in the form of its winds. My body pleads me to stop, desperately attempts to convince me, through expressing its pain, that it cannot take any more. 

I push through, and I survive camp weekend because I somehow always do. Next on my agenda is preparing for the turning of the season—summer to autumn—that represents the turning of the summer season to football. 

As each week of school draws to a close, my gameday practices are put to use. I enthusiastically perform pregame and my first-quarter dance; I do flawlessly what generations of dance teams before me have done. 

And once the tide of the school year kicks into gear again, my storm remains prominent and constantly reminds me of its presence. Its taunting voice attempts to persuade me into submission, and the chills from its cooling winds keep me restless at night. 

With my only relief being granted in the form of winter break, my two-week rest truly represents the calm before the storm. The calm before the heaviest rainfall from my storm.  

I am only guaranteed one last storm. And I might like my storm more than I think I do.”

Preparation for basketball season, competition season, and nationals all jumble into the goals of each of the now-limited practices; consequently, my sanity waivers. With the ground spinning under me, the tide forcing me into the ocean, the storm pouring itself onto me, my only goal is to just stay grounded. 

But, just as soon as it started, my storm settles down. When nationals are concluded, my storm retreats back to wherever it goes for the three months between nationals and auditions. The sun returns again, and I am comforted by its motherly warmth. But, my storm carefully prepares for its return in three months. 

My storm will return. But, this upcoming year is different.

I am only guaranteed one last storm. And I might like my storm more than I think I do.