You wake up one morning and realise that you’re waist deep in a pool of sticky dark dirt brown mud. You try to waddle your feet around but they are pulled down by the weight of the unforgiving mud. You try to push the mud away with your hands, but nothing happens. You’re still stuck.

You bite your lower lip to stop the tremble, one that you know very well. The one that leads you to anxiety and panic. You try to breathe and force your brain to click back on. Think, Cheryl. Think.

You close your eyes and thoughts begin flirting with you.

Maybe if I shut myself out enough, I’ll realise that this is just a dream. I’m really safe in bed right now. Maybe.

Actually, it’s not that bad being stuck here. No one loves me anyway. No one cares about me. I’m completely worthless. A miserable being in this almost perfect world. The entire world, everyone, is better off without me.

No. That’s not reality. I need to survive this. I have so much more to give and I really want to live a worthwhile life. I need to figure a way out.

Really? You think too highly of yourself. You are nothing.

No. I am something. I am me. And I am worthy of love. Love from me, from family, friends, and even you. I am loved.

You open your eyes. And you look around you. You see a thick branch hanging off a tree. It’s sturdy and it’s almost reaching out to you. You know that you’d have to do the hard, tedious work of taking baby steps in this heavy mud to get there.

Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Yes. You’re getting closer. Left. Right. Left. Right. Breathe. You can do this. Left. Right. Left. Right.


You understand why campus boarding in the climb gyms are so important. Your chaturangas and arm balances are going to work to your advantage now. You use your finger strength and grip onto the tree branch. You can do this. You slowly climb up the trunk with your arms and you are slowly being lifted off the mud. Your arms are getting tired but you need to continue to the end. You give it your all. Finally you’re up to your knees. You wiggle your right leg free and heel hook the branch. And BAM. You are out of the mud pool.

You sit on the branch. And look down and around you. You breathe. You smile. You did it. Out of sheer power, strength and determination. Physically, mentally and emotionally. You made it out alive.

Now, go make magic.