When I was a kid, I used to romanticize the idea of being an artist. I was very creative, but I didn't seem to suffer the cliche afflictions that artists were 'supposed' to inherit. Music was my refuge from a troubled childhood. I didn't know I wasn't happy. I didn't know I was scared. I didn't know I was running, I thought I was winning. Retrospectively, that suited me. As I've gotten older, the world has expanded, and my memories have caught up to me. The fear that I was ruled by and raised on as a child has been brought forward by the most strange and contradictory of experiences: love. My heart has been in chains and maybe it was me who put it there. Maybe I thought that is what would keep it safe. I thought I was protecting myself, but I was just doing what I was taught to do: fear. I've been reacting to the world in ways an earlier me never would have believed. Anxiety makes you fight for your mind, your body, your soul. It makes you fight for your freedom - and that is the irony of it. It tries to make you think that you're protecting yourself from everything else, when really the fear itself is the only real threat to your being. It closes you off, shuts you down. It keeps you safe by killing you. I thought it was romantic as a child. As an adult, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I'm telling you this because a friend of mine recently lost this battle. I'm telling you this because I have a moment of respite and my mind is full of stories and music. I'm telling you this because I am afraid to tell you this, but maybe you need to hear it. I need to hear it. You can cut the chains. You can be safe here. You don't have to stop functioning in order to protect yourself. Every day is a fight to move forward. But while you're fighting, try not to miss that pastel blue sky, that brilliant sun with its light in your eyes. Try not to miss the smiles of your friends and the love in their eyes. Try not to miss the truth that this place is as beautiful as it is terrifying, and part of what makes it so is the light that you carry around inside of you. Don't hide it. I'll try not to, either. RIP my dear and loving friend.