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A World That Could Be

By Nōn Wels

The year is 2022.

Brightly colored billboards stand tall like depraved giants, telling vague tales of magical potions that will make all of our dreams come true.

We look up as we speed past in our car, and a heaviness takes root in our chests, but we can’t discern why.

On our favorite podcast, an advertisement suggests we can drink all the nutrients our bodies need to achieve a more efficient and productive future, and that chewing is for idiots anyways.

We press the 15-second skip button a few times.

When needing a distraction from the traffic, we call a friend to commiserate about the workday. They eagerly tell us about a new healthy lifestyle program they just started that’s all about macros and micros and even a free bonus spreadsheet template if we sign up today through their affiliate link.

We nod along for a while, then tell them we have to go; we’re almost home.

Pulling onto our street, we breathe in as deep as we possibly can, all the air we can muster, and yet it still feels like it’s not enough.

We open the door to our apartment, drop our bags inside the doorway, hang our keys on the hook, and make our way to the couch to lie down—these are patterns run ragged, like dusty clockwork.

Inside of our pants pocket, we feel a familiar buzz, and we resist the urge to look by closing our eyes and taking another deep breath.

Again, our pocket buzzes.

We pull our phone out to mute the irritating sound, but we can’t escape the Instagram notification about Aunt Suzie’s latest post, seafoam-hued background in elegant gold script, reminding us to choose happy.

Happiness has been elusive for us these past years, as though it’s forgotten what it is. Or maybe it’s us who have forgotten.

Just as we’re getting ready to transition into our nightly routine, we see something in the corner of our living room, something we’ve never noticed before:

A tiny door.

Startled and confused, we rub our eyes enough to make our sockets ache and look again. It’s still there. We pinch our arm to wake ourselves from the dream and squint our eyes. The oddity remains.

A tiny door in the corner of our living room, as if made for a mouse.

We get up from the couch to look closer, wondering if a friend has played a prank on us. Laying out on our stomach, our face inches from the opening, we see the tiny door is made of wood, and carved on its surface in barely legible writing, it says:

“What could be.”

Reaching out our hand, we pry the tiny door open with our fingers, and then everything goes dark.

***

In what feels like an instant, darkness transforms to shining light, and we open our eyes to see that we’re in our car again, driving home on the same route from work like we do every weekday.

But it’s not like every day because the billboard on Wilshire that’s perpetually advertising the Super Extreme Slimming Liposuction Patch for $499 is not there anymore, and in its place is a message that tells us that, in no uncertain terms, We Are Enough.

In a world that thrives on blurring and diminishing our enough-ness, we know that, in that very moment, in all our beautiful and fallible wholeness, we are enough.

Our heart beams, and we hit play on the latest episode of our favorite podcast. An advertisement at the top reminds us that our worth isn’t made up of achieving, checking boxes or doing. But instead, our worth is in our being.

And, for goodness’ sake, we’re going to eat our food, in all its sultry glory, because we deserve to.

A few minutes later, feeling lighter, our best friend calls us on the phone. They tell us about the hard day they had at work, and we listen, stay present, and share our love for them.

We are not there to fix or to bypass their pain. We are there to witness their whole humanity in all of its beauty. And we both end the call feeling cared for.

Our lungs and chest fill with a restorative inhale of breath, a deep expanse of solemnity and connection.

We reach home, park our car, and step inside our apartment feeling better than we have in a long time.

On Instagram, we're no longer targeted by diet ads because we've set clear boundaries by blocking them.

We sit down on the couch and reflect on the day—a day like nothing we’ve experienced before.

This is the world that could be.

A world rooted in the belief that we are enough.

A world where we honor our wholeness, every mushy bit of it.

A world in which we recognize that healing is non-linear.

A world where recovery is possible.

A world grounded in the knowledge that we are worthy of nourishment.

A world of wonder and possibility.

A world led by our hearts.

A world made better through curiosity, nuance, and the liminal spaces between the rigidity of binary attachments.

A world where our feelings are felt.

A world where we go inward so we can go outward.

A world in which our intersectionality is the foundation of deeper experience, intentionality, and community.

A world where vulnerability and sensitivity are our superpowers.

A world full of hard things, and those hard things made less hard through empathy—for each other and ourselves.

This is the world that could be.

A world for you, a world for me.

Written by

Nōn Wels

Nōn Wels is a mental health advocate, writer, doggo lover, runner, empath and feely human who resides in Southern California. In his late teens and early twenties, he nearly died from a mixture of…

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