Summer

When I was younger, my parents used to take my sisters and I to get-togethers at their friends' houses, where the adults would congregate in the living room and discuss important matters such as current events in the Motherland, and the children would be segregated downstairs in the basement to watch TV. In the summertime, everyone would gather outside to enjoy the warm weather and revel in the darkness. I remember watching the other kids try to catch fireflies in their palms, the glow just beyond their reach, laughter and squeals heard aloud when one was successfully caught.

I never partook in the fun.

Thinking back now, there are so many things I never did anything about, mostly because I was scared. When mean girls bullied me in grade school, I sat quiet and cried at home. I once spent years dating the wrong person because the act of breaking up, no matter how toxic the relationship, was to me, akin to defeat. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I waited 2 hours in line at Universal Studios to get on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, only to bail and wait on the sidelines because I have a general affliction towards rollercoasters. Turns out that it wasn't even a legitimate stomach-dropping saga but rather an opportunity to fly through Hogwarts Castle and experience it in the most realistic way possible. Apparently, this is the best part of the entire theme park. Way to go, Jessilyn.

All kidding aside, when you think about things like this, you seriously wonder sometimes what happened to you. Instead of living in the moment, you wish for a repeat of past events so that you could relive them and react differently. You think of the perfect response after the fact, except it's too late now to speak up so you spend countless hours in your head wondering if you did the right thing or tried your best. It never stops, even when you sleep. The lines between being awake and dreaming get blurred, and this entire ordeal gets really old fast.

When I get into one of my spirals, I reach out to any stimuli that is comforting and relaxing as a means to calm down. Yume Cyan's dreamy photographs of fireflies taken in the forests of Nagoya City, Japan remind me of those past hot nights in my first story, except I am fully present and involved because it's different this time. The long exposure renders the dancing bugs in an almost rain-like quality, and the overall effect is a beautiful snapshot of a single, still second. The picture looks busy and you feel as if there should be background noise, but I bet that when Yume took this photo, he heard nothing but the sound of his shutter. He felt peace.

The same peace is what I strive for inside. I don't want to let fear win anymore.