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Imagine this: 


The space in which you hold your power and knowledge of recovery resides inside your thorax. This cavity consists of muscles and tendons and bones that act as protection, like a barrier, between your lungs and heart and the rest of your body. You may have your recovery stored away here, whatever that may be. You might choose to place this recovery somewhere, let’s say a metal box. You lock and tuck away that box here in your cavity. Only you can have access to this box and its contents. However, something else also resides in this cavity. It isn’t in the box of course, but it lives alongside it with your lungs and heart.

The thing is, you like to have it there. That box was built in its presence. You may have not noticed, but it saw the box being built and saw the box get locked away and it even helped you throughout your process. The metal of the box could so easily cool your entire thorax, sending chills through the rest of your body. But this presence keeps it warm, keeps it isolated. You continue to grow and change and create many other tiny boxes throughout this cavity. And as your body planted new seeds that grew into beautiful flowers, trees that sprouted taller, and rivers clearer than ever, the presence remained still. It never got buried among this growth, nor was it ignored. It was there to keep the yellow warmth radiating from the tip of your toes to the tip of your nose. Your thorax got so used to its company, that without it, it would feel bare. 

And then it disappeared. You were left without its presence, and suddenly that icy metal chilled your bones, and your flowers and trees were left alone in the breeze. The contents of your metal box no longer seemed locked away. They slowly escaped, contaminating your lush thorax as they aimlessly wandered around. You felt like something was missing, but you couldn’t quite place a finger on what that something was. But then you realized that it was the presence that was missing, the presence that the box was built next to. 

What you needed to hear though, was that the contents of the box, your recovery, was a completely separate entity than the presence. And although the presence started to drift, that metal box could remain locked away. That recovery was still concrete and grounded even without the company and reassurance of the presence. What you needed to remember was incredibly important. Your recovery is your own, it’s not anyone or anything else’s. It does not become less or more valid depending on what is or isn’t surrounding it. That presence helped grow the new forest that weaves through your thorax; it helped make the metal box feel more safe and secure. But it did not create the box, you did.

Olivia Tonietto

Augustana '21

Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Augustana College, studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. Olivia writes for Her Campus with the hope to add to this amazing culture in a unique way by spreading positivity and a different perspective on this beautiful world we live in!
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