There are two opposing forces acting on me right now.

One pushes. The other pulls.

And here I am, in equilibrium.

I look back, and I see the me I used to be. She’s confused, anxious about everything and yet so, so blind to the world around her. But she found solace in the people around her, and tried her best to be a rock for them as well. And for a while, she was happy. Deluded, but content. Comfortable. I look back at her, and scream for her to get out. I want to tear off her blinders and make her see things for how they really are. But at the same time, I admire her innocence. I envy her kind, soft heart, and yearn for her sense of determination and patience in the eye of the little hurricane she called her life. She pulls me towards her, but I stay in place.

I look forward, and I see the me I want to be. She’s composed, confident, cool. She has her schoolwork done before it’s even assigned to her, her extracurriculars make uni admissions officers drool and she still manages to get to bed before midnight. But is she alone? Does she have the entourage of highly motivated, straight A report card friends she thinks she deserves? And does she really have the talent she seems so blessed with? She reaches out a hand to me, but it’s dry and cracked. The concealer under her eyes has failed to hide the tiredness in them. I hesitate. I shrink back.

Past me sprints through the rain, laughing and screaming with her hand in someone else’s. She’s cold and shivering, but her smile betrays any signs of discomfort on her body. My past is about late night picnics, staring at the stars and sleepover gossip sessions, wearing onesies and sharing chocolate milkshakes with people who refuse to talk to me the day afterwards. Future me drinks herself to death with someone whose face I can’t quite picture and then falls asleep in his thin arms, to dream of absolutely nothing at all. Then she’ll wake up to a phone buzzing with notifications, a thousand unread emails and a neatly set out to do list. This is what I want, I remind myself every evening.

I float through the nether, and flip a coin. Where am I going? What do I want to do? And who am I going to do this with?

Past me had it all figured out. She had her friends, and her plans, only written out in her dreams. But when her foundations crumbled, she crumbled too, and that was the end of her. Sometimes I wish for her ideals back, but I don’t want to get stuck in a cycle of crushed hopes again. I want a fresh start, but my guilt holds me back. For now, I will hold onto the people I have. Do what I’m meant to be doing. Horrible, relationship destroying, rash decisions will be made at some point, I’m sure.

But I’ll flip that coin when the time comes.