For a long time I didn't believe I was entitled to happiness. Life was too hard, confusing, unfair, devastating and simply tragic. While I was too sick to work or care for myself at the fresh age of twenty-nine, life was going on all around me. I became estranged from my friends and family because their reality, normal life, was nowhere on my radar. The ambitions and dreams I was taught to aspire for, work toward and achieve became nothing more than a sick joke I was utterly incapable of accomplishing. There wasn't a place in the world I fit in as the components of my former existence hurled away from me like dark matter expanding the compactness of space.
So I changed EVERYTHING about my life, and here I sit feeling old and worn out from the endless toil at the weary age of thirty-seven. People remind me how young I am but I don't feel young. I feel wise, trampled, bitch-slapped and raw, but not young. The friends I grew up with all have kids and mortgages. I have canine babies and live in a one bedroom apartment because that's what I can keep clean. I used to get promotions and paid time and a half to work overtime. Now I am learning how to derive true pride from being a housewife and caring for my family. Not much of the girl who lived in this body before survived, and for this I am outrageously grateful.
The fat pill of acceptance was hard to choke down. It sat stuck in my throat for a long time, tainting my life with a sour, bitter flavor. I couldn't re-frame my expectations for success for the life of me, and spent years beating myself up for not being who I was supposed to be. Progress is funny, you don't usually see it until it's already happened. A fundamental shift in my thinking has finally taken shape. I realize how much potential my life's journey has prepared me for. Happiness is not only something I deserve, it is something I can achieve. Things didn't suddenly get easy. The same insurmountable challenges before me haven't changed. But the way I think, what I expect and what I believe...has.
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