I booked my tickets to Iceland when I was crawling through miles of emotional turmoil, self-doubt, and sheer hatred for everything and everyone around me. I needed to go somewhere alone, get lost in the veins of the world, be reminded again of why we're here, stand at the foot of something so large I cannot see the end of.
As I travelled along the outskirts of the mountains, hiked up the gentle slopes leading to a glacier covered in volcanic dust, and stroked the surface of a hot spring, I wanted to feel small and insignificant like I didn't matter; like none of my problems mattered, like nothing in the world could be so important we start to hurt the people around us. In a way, it was a form of self-discovery, something I had never been so brave to explore. But it felt as though by looking outward I found something much deeper within.
Standing at the mouth of a river, overlooking this vast expanse before me, I thought: everything that has happened to me in life has prepared me for this exact moment. Every heartbreak, every beating, every curse, every betrayal, every time someone told me I will never amount to anything, every rejection, every broken promise, every bitter memory, every lie, every spit in the face, every stab to the heart, every every every every every every every. I took a deep, long breath, and held it in. I gathered all the 'every's in my tiny lungs like picking up a hundred marbles strewn over the ground until I had them all in my hands.
Then very slowly, I exhaled.