In eighth grade, I was swallowed up by the sky. On a church trip to the hill country, I dragged a rocking chair into a clearing and sat in it upside down. I devoted my attention to the milky way and it wrapped me in its arms. It wasn’t like my experiences of movies and media about space. In those moments, space felt icy and vacant, uncaring. On that night, I got lost in the stars and the night sky fixated my energy on something larger. It felt like being swept up in a crowd, a surging mass where smallness is not insignificance. I was tumbling through the first of many depressive episodes and the invasive vine of dark thoughts that crept up my neck and settled in my brain was convincing me of my lack of worth. In a gesture that can only be described as masochism, I chose to look up at the stars, expecting the cold weight of confirmation that I did not matter. Instead, they held me tight and whispered that I was made of stardust and that this too shall pass; that if their light could reach me over light years of space, maybe even after their death, that I too could find a place to shine.
- Sophie Asakura, 2020