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Say What You Need To Say

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On a brisk, Norwegian morning, our group began our challenge for the day: to climb a mountain. Now, I am not the athletic type, so I felt a tinge of nervousness pierce my stomach as I glanced up in the direction of the mountain and reflected on the tremendous task at hand. Tasting the salty fjord winds slap upon my face, I trampled along the dirt road and kicked up gravel while hearing all of the others chatting quietly in a language I did not yet understand. Ascending over the moss-covered ground that sheltered the earth from the harsh, Norwegian winters, I sang to myself the song Say by John Mayer: Walking like a one man army/ Fighting with the shadows in your head/ Living out the same old moment/ Knowing you’d be better off instead/ If you could only/ Say what you need to say.
I wonder if anyone notices or cares about me, I thought to myself, feeling like a soldier too cowardly to go to battle. After all, I’m just the American exchange student.
Upwards we continued. I meandered alone, still, weaving in and out of the different hiking groups that had formed.
I can’t take it. Say what you need to say: I remembered the lyrics to John Mayer’s song.
Daring, I walked up to two girls who were giggling, their faces huddled together. I mumbled out some incomprehensible Norwegian to the dark haired one, who wore two lines of thick black eyeliner too far beneath her eyes.
“I’m Jenny,” she replied back. Her response shocked me, for I was completely unaware that she spoke any English. Pleased with myself that I had gathered up enough courage to make, at least, an acquaintance in this foreign country, I smiled to myself and trotted along.
After a few hours of what I call ‘extreme physical exertion,’ we reached the summit. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I spun slowly with my arms outstretched, taking in as much of the autumn beauty as my senses could handle.
A fishing boat, followed by a trail of white seagulls, powered its way through the rich blue waters down below. I swallowed in the moist, fall air and observed the small town of Svolvær, all of the buildings so ordinary and obsolete, yet incredibly picturesque. Surrounding the town, reflections of the humble mountains in the fjord waters intensified the already overwhelming majesty of this, nature’s abode. Leaves, colored red like fire, danced vigorously in the wind around me, as the Svolvær goat sat proudly in the distance upon its rocky throne. The noon sun, slightly to the south, set me in the spotlight while I enjoyed the simplicity and glory of nature, unaltered by human fingers. In those few short minutes I spent on the top of the mountain, I felt a relief and peace that is found only when all standards of society, all prejudices, and all responsibilities are forgotten.
Trust yourself, have no fear, I repeated in my head.
I screamed letting out all the fear and anxieties that hid bottled up inside of me.
The reverberations of my voice electrified my soul with a burning passion as I understood for the first time in that moment that in nature, I would always belong.





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