so much of the time, we persistently cling to what is still broken, what is still empty, what is still wrong. so much of the time, as days become nights that become days once more, our vision is reduced to the holes in our souls that still tremble in anguish. so much of the time, we reside in a place of grief within ourselves, because we forget to peer backwards towards the boundless stretch of path that we have already walked, already conquered, already left behind in this search for more.
so much of the time, we fail to notice all that has changed. all the places we have grown, we have become, and we are fighting for this life.
no matter how much we remain aching, we have undoubtedly overcome more despair, more grief, more pain, and more emptiness that we had ever believed we could possibly survive. so right here, right now, we are going to remember. remember the darkness, only so that we may finally comprehend that everything beautiful in our lives was manifested by none but ourselves.
oh, how beautifully terrifying and terrifyingly beautiful it is, that these lives are truly in our own two shaking hands. and if we have patience, more patience than we think it could ever possibly take, we can indeed create lives we could have never envisioned.
the truth is, i struggle each and every day to feel full. sometimes, every breath i take feels like the inhale of a stranger, as i watch this existence pass by with a heart that feels perpetually void, forsaken, and desolate. and yet, as i was sitting on a street curb this morning, with the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees above landing softly on my face, as i was speaking on the phone with a soul i hold so so deeply in my heart, i realized that i am the least empty i have ever been. i may still feel empty beyond measure, but my god, i do hold so many fragments of life that i never could have held before. and though it’s not the end, for i am nowhere near complete, i am so much on the way.
so now comes the space for the words of remembrance. i remember, i hold the empty bones, then i move forward, and paint my world.
at the age of fourteen, i slashed my arms with the key to my own bedroom. it’s all i had in the hospital. i swallowed far too many pills and spoke far too few words. no therapist, no doctor, not a soul could even begin to scale my walls. i was a child, a child who could not see herself alive for much longer.
here and now, i am a soul adorned with scars, tattoos, and more scars. but nevertheless, i am a soul who knows wholeheartedly that i will be alive in this world long after those wounds fade, long after the tangible remnants of that old hopelessness vanish. i am a soul now covered in clay and paint, hope and creation.
at the age of sixteen, i spent my birthday bound to a feeding tube, too ashamed to even see the faces of my parents who had flown seven hundred and sixty eight miles to remind me of their love. a shattered disgrace. i was more than ready to embrace my shallow grave.
here and now, i turn twenty years old in less than a month, and i am a part of this world. i’m set to travel two thousand two hundred and ninety six miles with my father to see my favorite poet preform live. her words are magic. this poet has seen kites fly in gray skies and they were real close to looking like the sunrise, and sometime it takes the most wounded wings, the most broken things to notice how strong the breeze is, how precious the flight.
at the age of eighteen, i was labeled chronic and severe in my anorexia by my insurance company and more doctors than i could ever care to count, and was referred to long-term custodial care. i have never been so hopeless. i have never cried so hard. the realization that i could not be saved, that i would never be saved, felt like the death of my soul. i was sure my tears would engulf me. i did not belief i could ever rise again.
here and now, i am wildly alive. i am more than i ever thought i could be. i make pottery. i buy canvases and acrylics just for the hell of it. i write. i eat ice cream and i lick the swirls of caramel off of my favorite wooden spoon. i talk on the phone for what feels like hours (and sometimes is), as i sit on the floor with friendship ringing in my ears and harmony resounding in my heart. i volunteer to help feed over five hundred meals to the homeless population living in my city, and i even show up so often that i’ve been gifted with the official shirt. i walk by the ocean. i have a body strong enough to withstand the beauty of yoga. i have lived outside of a residential treatment center for four hundred and eighty six days. i’m learning hindi. my ukulele is named suzy lee, my car is named mary louise, and my god there is more inside of me than the disorder that i thought would end my life.
i laugh. i cry. i love. my god, i even sing in the car now.
sometimes, when i think like this, i don’t even recognize myself. but, this is the truth. this is me. i am not all ache, i am not all pain, and i cannot forget that. i am no longer the shell of a body, nor the shell of a mind, nor the shell of a soul. i am becoming. i am learning, living, becoming.
so, gather your bones. mourn them, and then build yourself into something more glorious than you have ever known. this is your only life, your present moment, your only self. breathe in your old darkness, and breathe out color.
so, loves. even amidst your sorrow, your afflictions, your suffering, i urge you to recall all that has already changed. i urge you to recall all the one degree shifts you have already made, all the courageous feats you have already undertaken. you are not hopeless. with perseverance, there will be more to you tomorrow than there is today, and there is already so much more to you today than there was yesterday.
now here is your chance; what pieces of your life, without your noticing, have become even just the smallest bit more whole?
where in your soul have you grown, and can you, over and over and over again, praise your courage with the recognition that it deserves?
can you, for just one single moment, remember that you have already come so, so far?
can you, for just one single moment, remember that you are never quite as lost as you may, time and time again, deem yourself to be?