My whole life I have dreamed of creating something beautiful.
I was always told that I had potential. I heard it from my teachers when my grades were lower than limbo. I heard it from my peers when I didn’t run for the ball and stood still instead. I heard it from my parents as they watched me climb out of the lows from the highs that I constantly created for myself.
At the time, those words seemed like torture, for the problem wasn’t that I didn’t realize that I was unique. The problem became amplified by the fact I was acutely aware of it. I felt so different, so foreign to almost any activity that I tried, and because of that I chose always to back out of the spotlight and fail quietly in the shadows by never beginning, never investing, and certainly never winning.
A year ago today I typed my first words onto a blank screen and sent them out into the abyss of the worldwide web. Though it would be some time before I would choose to advertise my new hobby, something about it felt alright. When I created this blog, it was mostly as a means of speaking up over the voices that I could not seem to overpower in real life. It was a way for me to feel light and funny when in reality I had been rotting from the inside out. I was sick and I was desperate. I kept thinking, in case this doesn’t get better, in case I go, I want the truth to be known. I want someone to know the girl I’ve kept locked beneath my skin, and even if nobody reads it, I want to know that I had the guts to say it.
I didn’t expect any of you to find me, and I definitely didn’t expect the overwhelming support, praise and unwavering love from both the blogging community and my own community. I didn’t expect anybody to read paragraph after paragraph of what I had thought was merely rambling. I didn’t expect you to laugh, to cry, to cheer me on or push me forward. I didn’t expect all of you to launch me into reaching my full potential. But you have.
I expected to bleed, to cry, to scream. (Which is a damn good thing since there was plenty of that shit involved.) I did NOT expect to adapt, to heal. But I did. A year ago I was losing entire days to the white ceiling above my bed and entire nights to the insanity that beckoned to me to join it every moment. A year ago I was unhappy with my life, my body, and my lack of contribution to the world. A year ago, I didn’t expect to see today. But it’s here.
Not only has keeping this blog created friendships and rekindled old connections, given me perspective and strength, it also allowed me to see the changes in myself firsthand. It is a permanent reminder of my progress and the pain it took to arrive there. It showed me that for everything I missed out on, for every time I thought I had nothing to give, there was a time when I was present, there’d been a time when I’d had a victory, no matter how small it seemed.
I’m still unemployed and still occasionally feel like a useless drain to those around me, but here’s what accomplished while I was busy convincing myself that I was a useless drain:
– I quit smoking.
– I joined a kickboxing class, something I had never attempted before, in a room full of noise. I look forward to that class 2 days a week.
– I exposed my true, naked self, the one I feared and kept hidden. I love her.
– I shed 25 lbs and the vicious, self-loathing thoughts with it.
– I apologized, and I forgave.
– I committed to, and have been training my ass off for a Tough Mudder event.
I know there will still be dark days, and darker posts. I know that I will battle this condition for the rest of my life. I know these things, and yet I am fine with them. I am glad for them. The truth is, I wouldn’t be able to write what I do without the burden and the blessing of my experiences. I have grown to see beauty and wisdom beneath the cloak of pain, and I’m grateful for every moment I spend on this planet, even if those moments beat me black and blue. I’m grateful for every one of you who believed in me enough to follow, to share your own heartache, to comfort me in my own. You have all had a hand in giving me something to work for, to live for, to fight for.
Oh, and here’s the best thing about this year! I’ve finally done it. I’ve created something. And I think it’s pretty damn beautiful.