Trigger Warning: Brief Mentions of Abuse, Death, and Suicidal Thoughts
My life so far has been marked by things that hurt me; by things that broke my heart and shattered my soul and crushed my spirit; by things that made me doubt who I was. Things that made me doubt my own worth and value and importance.
I was seventeen before I found my voice and learned to say no. I was seventeen before I understood that I was a human being with the right to my own body and my own voice and my own life. I was seventeen before I understood that there was a reason I was so emotional and messed up. I was seventeen before I realized that I was allowed to grieve. I was seventeen before I began the metamorphosis that has brought me to where I am today, a tall, confident, radiant woman with a mind and voice of her own.
I was seventeen when I agreed to try this thing called life again – to give it another shot. At least this time I knew I might get hurt. I walked into it with my eyes wide open.
When I was little, no one told me that it wasn’t my fault. No one told me that it was okay to be angry. No one told me that it was okay to disagree with the things I was taught when I was little and that it was okay to learn things for myself and that it was okay to grow up and be my own person. It took one incredible woman with an bottomless tissue box and a stuffed bear perfect for hugging to death while sobbing violently; three years of fighting; and hundreds upon hundreds of cups of tea before I reached the point I am at now.
Panic attacks were regular. Migraines, induced by stress, were a weekly thing that I just had to learn to cope with. Ocular migraines were a new and exquisite form of torture. I went through a fairly horrifying weight gain when I was a teen. I reached the end of my rope and I was ready to just stop living, because for me, living meant loving – and loving hurt too much. Everything hurt too much, I was drowning in all the things that had happened, all the things I had done wrong, all the things that hurt. That was all I could see and it hurt too much. I was never at risk of taking my own life but there were times when I wished some disaster would fall on me and I would get space, I would get free from the hell in my head. I never went that far to make it happen myself because there was someone in my life who was too damn stubborn to let go of me. I wouldn’t – couldn’t – hurt him and he was too stubborn to back off and distance himself from the nuclear time bomb that was me.
I had to decide.
Was I going to love, even though it would mean risking getting hurt again? Was I going to be open and free and bright, or was I going to spend the rest of my life squished into a miserable little cocoon that was never designed to be a permanent residence, only a temporary shelter in very rough storms?
I chose to love.
I’ve chosen it every time.
And now I can find the high points in my life too. I can remember dancing with my adopted brother, being held in his arms and swung in circles until we were both dizzy. I can remember curling up and snuggling with my friend and watching movies for hours. I can remember singing to my childhood friend, who was confined to a wheelchair with some disability that I don’t remember the name of because I was six when she died. I can remember her laugh and I remember the soft halo of curls all around her head. I don’t only remember her death, anymore. I can remember her life and her love. And I can remember all the love I gave and all the love that was given to me, and I can remember the warmth of my grandmother’s breath in my ear as she leaned over me to put a puzzle piece in. I can remember throwing snowballs at my brothers and I can remember leaving my plastic spider on the sink in the bathroom for my mother to find (she hates spiders and I adore them). I can remember standing in the back yard and laughing because there was absolutely nothing else that could be done but that.
Things are balanced now. I can see light and darkness, I can see white and black, I can see grey and rainbows. I can hear bird songs and thunder. I can be angry and be so full of love that I’ll explode if I don’t yell something to the four corners of the earth. I can see death and weep while rejoicing that there was a life there to be lost.
I don’t know what you’re going through, but I can tell you this: it’s all going to be worth it.
I know this. Because my someday is here. It is worth it to get up every morning and it is worth it to love, because man alive – I get to love like nobody’s business. I throw love around like it’s glitter and going out of style.
I didn’t get here overnight. It took me three years of blood, sweat, tears, tears, and a few more tears just for good measure, before I got here. It was slow. It was gradual. It was step after step after step. It was hard and sometimes I wanted to give up.
But I didn’t.
I went through my metamorphosis and I emerged from my cocoon and I’m here, spreading my wings. I have arrived at a definitive point of my life and it.is.so.good. The journey isn’t over but I’ve made it to here and here is good.
If you get one thing from my words, I want it to be the thing that I wish I had been told more often when I was younger:
You are loved.
You are radiant.
You are worthy of adoration.
You may be screwed up worse than my dad’s drawers of nails and screws and bolts, but that does not change the fact that you are a human being and that as such you have priceless worth.
That does not change the fact that you are loved.
That’s the thing about love – it’s really big. There’s a lot of it, and it’s all over the place.
You are loved.
~Love, Butterfly Emergent~