Updated: Sep 2, 2021
By Lisa Semmler
AUTHORS NOTE: I wrote this stream of consciousness after I moved to a new place. Moving from my hometown to another regional town was a huge change for me after a year of staying put due to COVID regulations. This is how I was feeling during my first week alone here.
In my dream, my teeth fell out
I haven’t felt that feeling for a long time
I know what it means
All along the bottom jaw, one by one, my teeth dropped into my hand
I cannot feel their weight as I sleep
But my heart sinks.
I shiver with something more than fear
I look down to examine the long roots of my teeth I now cradle in a phantom palm
I think to myself
I am no longer held down by what I knew, no longer tied to the comfort
I am starting afresh. A new perception. Inwards and outwards
Who will I be? Who am I now without...?
In my comfort last year, I sought an adventure
A challenge, to feel anew again
In this mindset: the old world I had lived in seemed completed
The new world I chose to pursue, did not
The new world I chose promised an infinity of possibilities
Paths: winding, overgrown and exhilarating
But now time has passed, even when we all thought it wouldn’t
The endless hours of free time ticked away
Now I stand in the new world on the precipice of my fresh path
I look back to the old world behind me
What have I done?
I’ve made a choice
On the surface, my thoughts get rocky and swirl at times
Old anxieties rear their head above the waves
But underneath, the current is strong and steady
Steering I forward I feel a sense of calm on this path
Or is it just too early to say?
Perhaps I will finish writing this in a few months’ time when I know
What I’ve done with my choice
Will I be changed?
Will I shake my head and say
“Too many metaphors and girl...
you don’t know the half of it yet”?
What if the new path is just as treacherous as the old?
At least I will be prepared for it this time
I now know what to do in the face of the unknown
It has been painful but
I have equipped myself with skills I hope I never have to use again
But I must not think like that
So instead, I tell myself
Yes, when I wake from the dream, I will feel a jolt of panic
A familiar surge I’ve become so used to
The memory of my dream fading too slowly as I wake
I will quickly run my tongue along my bottom teeth
I will feel for deep holes and find none
Instead, I will learn to laugh at my fruitless anxieties and doubts
I will remember that in my safety last year
I sought an adventure
It is here unfolding before me now as I walk a new pathway
Not perfect. Never. But alive, fresh and varied
I will be invigorated
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