The insignificant notes on my teabags held significance within my hands

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My ice-cold hand dipped the chai tea bag in and out of the steaming water. The clear liquid became muddled with color; the steam that arose from it smelt of cinnamon and fall. My fingers twirled the string around my chewed nail, eventually dropping the herb-filled pouch into my forest green mug.

A small paper, wrinkled from me excessively folding it and attached to the end of the thin thread tied to the bag, was inscribed with small burnt-orange letters.

“Be loving”

This simple phrase left me dazed and silently thinking as I held the mug tightly, my legs draped across my blanketed armchair. After a stressful, lonely, and long week, with multiple days sat crying in front of my homework-filled desk, words like these were what I craved. 

Cornered within the walls of my room, days behind me left my body drained and shelled in a bad mood. But a simple reminder, a simple teabag, has me reflecting on my actions.

“Be loving” applies to being kind to others and being thoughtful to myself.

I have come to realize—sat in my silent room with dried tears frozen to my cheeks—that it’s okay to be sad and overwhelmed. Life isn’t about dragging one foot in front of the other but savoring my journey and rewarding myself breaks when life gets too much. 

Sometimes my list of homework seems to never end, my room is left piled with disregarded clothing, and my mind is racing with insecure thoughts. As these lists of things I need to complete continue to pile upon one another, my tea becomes disregarded at the edge of my desk.

One day, I pushed my computer back to clear the surface for various chemistry pages, and my teacup fell over, its contents soaking the wooden table and carpet below.

Another day, I rushed to reach my Zoom class, my forest green mug with a single tea bag hanging over the edge was left sitting on my kitchen counter. My hand never clutched its handle until the next day.

Others sit struggling to endure this demanding life as emotions pulse through their bodies. Anxiety-ridden hands scribble work to be finished, and hot drinks are left to cool.

Days passed in a blur; however, the scorching ceramic mug was encompassed by my anxiety-shaken hands today. My eyes fluttered shut, my head slouched closer to the leather seat, and a long sigh escaped my lips.

“Be loving” played through my head as I drifted from my insecure thoughts and the school-created havoc inside my mind. My tea was my comfort; its little note reminding me to slow down, be kind to myself, and to consider I’m not the only one feeling this way.