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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Augustana chapter.

I have a jar sitting in my pink bedroom.  It’s made of glass that reflects a rainbow onto the wall whenever the rays hit just at the right angle.  A rose is imprinted onto the jar, with twenty petals sprouting at the top of the stem, five drifting to the ground, and ten lay in peace at the bottom of the jar.  I think there are 7 stems, but I haven’t counted them yet.  Inside the jar is my collection of words.  Words I don’t want to have but I do and I don’t know what the hell to do with them.  So I keep them in a jar, collecting them and stuffing them inside like I’m a toddler with pennies and a piggy bank.  And they sit there, silent, but they say so much.  They don’t move but I feel their presence floating around me like a ghost.

My boy asked me what my jar is yesterday.  I was always good at providing descriptions, but to simply fit the jar into words felt like an impossible task.  It was better to show the jar to him, so he could roll it around in his palms, let the light reflected off of it bounce into his eyes, and count every thorn on the outside so I didn’t have to.  I grabbed it off the dresser next to my bed and handed it to him.  My boy stared beyond the glass and right into the hearts of my words.  He stared for three seconds before he threw it at my window.  Both pieces of glass shattered on the spot, and my words flew out into the world.

”Promise me you’ll never collect words like that again.  You have to stop letting them define you.”  And my boy walks out my door.

The funny thing about words is that they’re boomerangs.  We throw them away from us, but they always return when we’re not ready to catch them.  So my words came fluttering back to me while the glass shattered my skin.  I can’t control words and clean up a mess at the same time, so my collection floats around my bedroom as I shove a broken jar and window into a trash bag.  I still don’t know how many thorns were in that jar, and I never will, because the amount of pieces that pierce like thorns is uncountable.

Reader, this text so far is a metaphor.  There is no jar with a rose, no “my boy”, or words that can fly.  What there is, however, is how people mishandle emotions.  You see, we would rather snatch all of our negative feelings, shove them into a drawer, and then throw that drawer out the window, just like what my boy did with the jar.  But no matter how physical we get, our emotions always return to us, like how my words returned to me.  Now we have an unnecessary mess to clean up and the same old emotions we feel everyday.

We are so quick to label feelings as right or wrong that emotions are treated more like pop quizzes than what they actually are.  All of the good ones can stay present every day, and all of the negative ones should be burned in a fire.  But you can’t burn an emotion, throw it out of a window, or shove it into a jar you ignore.  There’s only one way to deal with a bad feeling: you feel it.

You face it head on.  You let it wrap its arms around your frail body and squeeze you until you almost choke.  You become nauseous from the sadness, tired from the anger, and lost from the fear.  And right when you think you can’t take it anymore, the emotion fades away.

You faced it, felt it, and let it go.  That’s how you let go of an emotion.  That’s how I should have let go of my words that my boy said didn’t describe me.  They called me worthless, hopeless, useless, and everything else that they thought could destroy me.  My depression and words intertwined into one big beast I had to fight with a pocketknife.  No matter what I did to get rid of this beast, it would always return.  So I faced it. 

Within a few days I bought a new window.  Sometimes when the light hits it at just the right angle, it makes a rainbow on my wall.  I never replaced the jar with the rose on it.  The thorns remain uncounted, but I made peace with that fact.  My boy is no longer mine.  His leaving shattered me at first, and another beast of words and feelings formed, but I had an easier time facing this one.  Most of my words remained in my room until they faded away.  I always made sure to greet them every day, until nothing was left of them but the air I breathed when the collection first formed.

Don’t be ashamed to feel.  Don’t shove your feelings in a drawer hoping they’ll just go away.  Your emotions are valid and it’s okay to be injured in the battle you face with them.  To feel pleasant all the time is inhuman.  We all feel mentally drained, and rather than flee our feelings, we can hold hands and face them together.  I’ll face your demons with you.  I’m armed with nothing but a pocket knife, but we are already one step closer to victory by choosing to face our emotions.

Olivia Fleming

Augustana '23

Hi! My name is Olivia, and I am a freshman at Augustana college. I am studying Psychology, English, and Creative Writing. With the hope of becoming a clinical or forensic psychologist. This is my first year writing for HerCampus and I specialize in poetry and fictional writing. Some of my hobbies include writing (obviously), traveling, passing time with friends, and playing the cello. At college, I am a part of the literary magazine, psychology club, NAMI, the orchestra, and some leadership and service clubs. One fun fact about me is that I have traveled out of the country five times!