My Yellow Illusion

Insecurity plasters the inside of my brain like some worn-out wallpaper masking the beauty of a freshly painted room. At first glance, my mind’s eye refuses to acknowledge all that is hidden underneath. Instead, she focuses on the hideous Yellow Wallpaper. Her eyes trace the design over and over again, unable to stop the thoughts from racing across the surface of all four walls. They gallop in an endless loop, surrounding her, moving in closer and closer until she feels as if she must breathe softly in order to conserve the air that is ever so scarcely present. Her chest tightens as they wrap around her abdomen, her arms, her thighs and squeeze tightly, giving her an ungodly awareness of what’s already there. She tries to shut them out, shut them up, quiet the noise. But it doesn’t stop. A helplessness rushes throughout her body. And all she can try to do as she stares mindlessly at her own reflection — tracing every inch of her body and committing the way her stomach protrudes to memory — is attempt to redirect her gaze back up to her own eyes.

Then, and only then, does the air go still.

And, for the first time in what feels like forever, she remembers the forgotten windows that peer back at her. She runs up to the windowsill, breaking through the grasp of every negative, self-deprecating thought that has ever lurked in the inner corners of her mind, and pushes the windows open with an unexpected force that she forgot existed. The light that floods in, filling the entirety of the room, is unbearable, and her immediate reaction is to shield her stinging eyes. But, as her eyes begin to focus and she lowers her arm, she stands in the middle of the room in awe as the heat coming from outside melts the glue of the wallpaper. The hues of yellow crumble all around her, falling like the first leaves of autumn, dancing around her like children on a playground, and brushing up on her skin like the kiss of a thousand butterflies.

She is free, and the wallpaper is no more.