I watch the flame flicker and the shadows on the walls move around me.  I sit and stare at the flame as it burns, ever so slowly, down the wick. I watch the wax melt, pooling around the wick, sending off the slightest scent. The flame dances, slowly, then flickering as my breath stirs the fire. Watching the flame, I brace my self for the inevitable – that flame will die, the light will be extinguished, the scent will eventually disappear. The wax will set and the wick will cool, almost, if not for the blackened remains, as if it had been untouched. Similar to a secret, one that’s been kept for so long & is finally brought to light. Finally acknowledged and accepted, and the hope that that secret will no longer need to be kept is the light from the flame, the freedom of the flame’s dance. The wax, slowly spreading as it melts is the truth that is being unveiled, piece by excruciating piece. Yet, after the initial furore that surrounds such an emotional revelation, comes the darkness. The cold that washes over you when you feel like the truth will spread no further. The wax has set, the secret will be once again kept within that small circle.

My candle, once again alight, was cold and dark for such a long time. The secret so big that the heat that emanated from the flame would be too overwhelming, too hot, for me to handle. No longer is this that case, I’m stronger, bigger, wiser. I’m in control of the flame, of my candle. The secret, the wick, is mine and I choose when it is to be extinguished, I choose who gets to put boundaries on how far I spread the truth. I’m  in control of my life now and the light and warmth from the flame, the shadows dancing on the walls are exciting, almost enticing. I want to see where this may lead, if I’m open and honest, if  stop running from my past, stop hiding and protecting the things that happened and talk about them, work from them and grow because of them. Will that change the person I am, better the person I could be?

Holding on to a secret is so tiring, pretending and hiding from the truth takes up so much of my energy. The effort that goes into pretending is no longer justified. Speaking, first to my doctor, psychologist and best friend and then to my family about my depression, eating issues and anxiety that are results of years and years of bullying and sexual assault, among other things has been somewhat liberating. Like lighting the candle once again, watching as the flame slowly takes hold of the wick, eventually consuming it’s entire being, then growing and dancing as it feeds from the oxygen around it. I feel like I, myself, am feeding from those around me, my psychologist, GP and youth worker, my incredible friends and family. I feel like as I redirect my feelings to the areas that it’s justified rather than containing them within myself has set me free to breath in all that oxygen and grow, so much. Each time I let go of something that I’ve been keeping inside me for so long and set it out into the universe, share it, speak it, cry about it, let someone else acknowledge my hurt, I realise that even though I feel slightly overwhelmed by the heat from the flame, it’s not impossible to handle, I’m strong enough to withstand the heat.

I’m not keeping secrets any more. I’m not pretending, I’m not hiding. I am lighting the candle to a better, brighter and happier life. Embracing the warmth like a hug from a friend, I smile in the knowledge that even though things are still a little dark and scary and heavy around the edges, the flame will grow and the light from the candle will spread further. The flame will probably be extinguished a few times in before it gets there, but it’s important that I persist, keep relighting that candle and protecting that flame from dark days so that I can allow it to illuminate the way out.


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