By Natallie St Onge
There was fog on the freeway that day. It stained the clouds with hints of hesitation, pierced the bridge that covered the rotting yellow lines with a shade of melancholy and dissipated into the sights of the brave who had the will to look. The sun was little to no presence, its rays commuting to other sources of life that needed it’s color to live, like the sea whom depended upon the warmth to guide the waves. Relevant and dense, hard to see through, easy to know who it is, the fog on the freeway was there that day.
Some may say that age, is definitely, just a number. I have been 18 years old for one week and I can tell you that it is not filled with tattoos and piercings without consent, freedom and growing up. If anything, my week of 18 has already taught me that life isn’t made out of the joy and the glee that we’ve all once dreamed of it being. If anything, turning 18 is more than just a number, just another year. Being 18, is being a woman and being a woman is so many things, so many emotions and feelings, days piling into years.
Sentiment one: confidence.
The way the orange sets into the night, right after the setting of the sun mingling with the stars and covering the land in the distance, that’s confidence. The way the rain falls in that certain rhythm that makes rainy days the best days to stay in and take a nap, to watch movies or snuggle in all the comfort, that’s confidence. Coffee smoldering the air in that favorite cafe, capable of making any day the best, that sweater hugging you in all the right places, that dew that blankets the grass in the morning, are all confidence. Similar to how a woman dominates in her heels, wears that jacket like she’s conquering the world, shares her feelings in fear of no tomorrow and holds onto love until every crevice in her heart is filled. Confidence is the glitter in her eyes, the smile on her face, the stance of a leader, of a motivator, of a woman. She is a woman with confidence.
Sentiment two: fear.
The cold sweat from the ache in your stomach as you see something cruel start to unravel. The harsh text before it is about to be sent, your thumb hovering over that tiny button that earned the potential of being everything. The words that decide to linger in the air longer than expected. The feelings that decide to sting longer than wanted and the voices that will always tell you that everything is never enough. The boy who makes you feel like his world to quickly realize he has an entire galaxy. The girl whom you trusted all along with a whisper decides to yell. Falling in love with the wrong person at the right time. Knowing who you love is the right person at the wrong time. The stranger of a man who decided to stare for too long, feeling like you should not have worn your favorite dress or the sweater that everyone complimented you on, or even the most comfortable of pants that may reveal too much. The girls pouncing on revenge, flourishing in your humiliation and mistakes, ravishing in all the glory that you just can’t find anymore. Social media posts, likes, hearts, thoughts and words, stares and looks, clothes and makeup, opinions and truths, competitiveness and better than’s. This is fear.
Suddenly, there’s no amount of confidence.
This is not okay.
Because like the wind, fear blows all around; comes on a rainy day, present on the sunniest of better hours.
Fear, is always there.
Sentiment three: destruction.
Destruction is similar to the seasons changing. You know it’s coming, you know it by the swirl of new weather, by the constructive pattern of the leaves and of the crispness of the blue in the sky. But, no matter what, you’re never prepared. You can’t, not when the snow falls and it wasn’t on the radar, not when the sun doesn’t shine when it promised it would. Destruction is like the seasons and the seasons are the change that you need, are the changes that define who you are. There’s a reason why summer is still with calmness, with beaches and waves, that proclaim itself to be the staple of relaxation. Summer is there to remind you who you are and that everything will be okay, that life is moving, people are coming and going, the good conquers the bad and the negativity will be gone soon. There’s a reason why summer heats and why the sun stays, because its showing you that the great, the good and the wellness, will shine through. There’s a reason why autumn offers new colors; there’s a high speed chase of catapulting feelings for everyone to hear. There’s a reason there are oranges and reds, yellows and browns; it’s okay to feel. There’s a reason why winter is white, why the snow falls at night and why in the morning it is over; winter offers a clean, blank slate for you to develop, to determine who you want to be, where you want to go, and what colors you want to keep, who you want to be. And there’s a reason that spring buds with growth; it’s time to grow into a well being and recover from everything you’ve been through; through the waves and the color explosions, the blank slate that offers you to be someone you want, the person you’ve always wanted to be. Destruction, is the seasons and the seasons are building you down to only build you up higher than before.
Sometimes, I say too much. And sometimes, I feel too much and I write too long but fall is here, autumn has arrived. My colors are igniting and I need to concrete into the universe that I am who I am and I am scared, I am afraid, I fear for the worse but I am confident. I am confident that at 18 years old, I can share everything I want everyone to hear. I love my hair, I think my nose is weird, my jeans fit me just right, the color white is everyone’s color, everyone deserves to have honesty and trust, my eyes are the best shade of blue, a woman CAN become president, locker room banter isn’t actually a thing, the sun is the best when it’s waking up and the moon sparkles when the life of the stars are in full view. Yet at 18 years old, I am not the sun that crests the earth with morning, creates the rhythm with shy droplets of rain, coffee that swells with vanilla or a girl who decided to put on heels and a dress to make herself feel good. I am a woman.
And women are fog on a freeway, in the middle of the day, huddled next to the bridge, afraid of the yellow line pushing and pulsing through, overbearing and over analyzing every move made. Because the yellow is prominent, told the fog that it itself was far more important than anything else. But the fog stayed and showed what it was worth; the fog was prominent that day, dominating the world and overcoming the struggles, the hardships, the fears and the constructions. Summer, fall and winter, they’ve all come and gone. But then spring came, uplifted the fog into the sky and turned the dread and the dismay into something more than a measly yellow line.
The fog, turned into the yellow sun.
Women are not to be trifled with.