April 24, 20176 min read

There came a point in my life where I was tired of feeling tired — the weight of a million responsibilities far too heavy to carry, and the loosening grip on my faith and everything I thought I knew slowly but surely erasing any hopes of a second chance. The journey of rediscovering life is something sacred to each individual. My story is about how I reclaimed my faith, and in essence, the beauty and miracle of being alive. 


Part I: Echoes

Fleeting visions of a world long passed

Remembered only when the last drop of liquid scorches our tongues

In between blurred outlines of faces and bodies and stars

And a ringing drowning out the beat uniting us all

Do we remember

Happiness. The sand between our toes as our hands brought dreams to life, sculpting castles and kingdoms

Our mother’s laugh before she knelt to place a tender kiss upon our forehead: joy before we even knew what joy meant

The golden sun engulfing us in its wake, our faces turned toward the sky, eyes closed in silent contemplation

Love. Endless, breathless nights spent entwined; a mess of limbs and soft whispers

Fingers and foreheads touching, promises left unsaid but understood

Brilliant emerald eyes reflecting the sun and the stars and the moon and the ocean;

everything, all at once

Freedom. Hearts devoid of pain, as light as the feather of a hummingbird

A breeze caressing our chins with the gentleness of a mother embracing her child

The blue sky beckoning to us, claiming that we too belong among the clouds


We exist without existing

Numbness and exhaustion creeping up our every bone and crevice

Surrounded by humans, we search for distractions and comfort

But find no humanity

We survive on bottles of champagne

And nights spent gazing up at the stars, connecting constellations and wondering when we’ll be a part of them

We were once mountains, untouchable and free

But we remain rocks, for the world to do with us as it pleases

…We remain echoes,

Forever cursed to live our lives chasing time

Losing ourselves in the memories of who we once were and what our life once was, clutching to them with a grip so tight, too tight

Waiting and waiting for the inevitable to take us by the hand and free us of this devastation

And all we have left of the world that was stripped from us

A world of certainty, possibility, hope and peace…

Are echoes.

Part II: Shipwrecked 

I had lain awake countless nights wondering why my heart felt numb.

Why the four walls of my room suffocated me; why I could not bear to look at myself in the mirror too long without my stomach clenching and my throat tightening — pain that was impossible to swallow, pain I could not hide. Why my happiness was only short lived before exhaustion crept its way in, snuffing out the last of the golden embers.

I became an expert in pretending to be okay; while the walls inside me crumbled, leaving an open gateway for the ashes drifting into my home.

I could barely recognize that place anymore. My safe haven became a torture chamber, and my silent cries drowned out the rest of the world.

I am lost. For the first time I let myself believe it. I let my unshed tears fall freely as I cupped my hands together and raised them towards You.

And I spoke. With everything I had left in me, I spoke to You. I have nothing. I put all my faith in this world and now I am drowning. 

I stood at Your door broken and battered for the thousandth time, the guilt of one too many second chances circling around me like a terrible storm. And yet. And yet you opened it.

I am lost. I have been lost for longer than I am afraid to say. I have been wandering this shipwreck searching for my freedom, but the ruins all look the same and the exits lead nowhere. Save me. Save me. Save me.

. . .

At last, my limbs began to move. I thrust against the current and fought to make it to shore. That first breath of air became my salvation.

I no longer stood with my hands on my knees, bent before a false throne; but before Yours. And You planted a garden in my heart. In the place of thorns and weeds grew wildflowers.

I came to You a broken servant, having failed you a thousand times…

but Your Mercy sent me home cleansed of my scars and purged of my darkness.


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Simra Mariam

Intersectional feminist, human rights activist, and full-time coffee lover. Simra, an 18-year-old aspiring writer from Pennsylvania, hopes to major in journalism and political science and inspire positivity & ingenuity through her work.