Friday, March 22, 2013


I by no means have gratitude all figured out, nor am I necessarily good at it.  But a lot of things have become clear related to it that I never really understood before, and it has been life-changing.

Years ago I had zero gratitude.  I was too angry at the world and all the people who had hurt me for that.  I would get angry at anyone that would suggest I should be grateful, and instead felt like the world owed me for how broken I was.

Learning to be grateful started slow for me, but then suddenly it clicked.  As I came out of my big breakdown and started to feel a little better, I started to be able to appreciate the little things.  I remember one day in particular that I was soooooo stressed out at school.  I was on my way to take a test but I had a few extra minutes first so I found a nice spot and laid down in the grass and let the sun shine down on me.  That sun felt better than anything had felt for a long time.  For that moment I didn't have to stress, I just got to enjoy the sunshine.  Soon I could write a super long gratitude list in a matter of seconds, because I realized that I'm grateful for grass and sun and mountains and my car and my home and my dishwasher and...well you get the idea.  We talked about gratitude in one of my treatment groups back then and one of the women there got so mad that I had so much to write about and she had nothing to be grateful for.  It made me chuckle a bit inside because I was still in a pretty shitty place then...but it was cool to show her my list.  She thought about it for a sec and said, "yeah I guess I'm grateful for those things too.  I didn't think of doing it like THAT!" lol  

Gratitude is all about perspective, and one of the things I'm most grateful for is my perspective.  As you probably know since you're reading this...I came from a pretty ugly past.  Back then I thought that gave me reason not to be grateful for anything because damnit the world was an ugly place and no one could ever understand my pain.  But now it's different.  The ugliness I lived through allows me to see the beauty in the little things around me.  Anyone can say they appreciate the little things...those little moments of peace/happiness in the world...and maybe they do...but I feel like I appreciate them on a deeper level because I truly know how bad it can be.  It's just like the example I've used before on here...You can appreciate having food to eat, but you can't really and truly appreciate it to your core until you've had to go hungry.  The more you've been without, the more having even a little bit means.  It's like after you've been out sick for a week, how suddenly just being able to stand up and go for a short walk without coughing/sneezing/puking is the absolute best thing ever...when before your sickness you probably never gave it much thought.  

I had a hockey game tonight.  It was the first game of our big final tournament.  We lost by 9, and a lot of my team was really frustrated and pissed off, but I couldn't stop smiling.  After this last week, with emotional pain beyond anything I've ever experienced before, I was so happy to be out on the ice and free just to let loose and play.  In that moment hockey was the absolute greatest gift that could've been given to me.  I didn't care what the score was, or even that we were losing.  I couldn't explain my emotional week to my teammates but it was genuinely weird to see some of them so upset when I felt so good.  So I'm grateful for hockey and grateful for my perspective.  :)  And grateful that the intense emotional pain seems to be lifting and I'm catching glimpses of the rainbow after the storm.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I am strong

Tonight I went to work out at the gym.  Now my gym is made up almost entirely of unbelievably hard group workouts.  They don't do the solo run on a treadmill thing or anything.  I am generally the most out of shape person there, so these workouts are extra hard for me.  Tonight's workout ended with 50 pushups.  Pushups are hard enough (even doing them on my knees!) but having done a bunch of other exhausting stuff first it was just that much harder.    I got to about 5 and was already really feeling it.  But I'm a stubborn lil monkey.  I just kept doing what I could, and went in to this almost trance-like place.  There was chaos all around me because our tiny little gym was WAY overly packed and there were people all around doing the workout, shouting/cheering, music blasting, etc.  But all of that went away and it was just me, the space right around me, and those damn pushups.  I was literally dripping with sweat.  In that moment, nothing else mattered.  As I tried to push myself up with my arms shaking and painful underneath me I thought, "Fuck you pushups, I've been through way worse than this."  I got a burst of energy and finished every single one of those pushups...still just a few at a time but 3-5 at a time rather than 1-2.

As I finished I realized something.  Many people in my position wouldn't have done those push-ups.  They would've quit when it got too hard or when others around them were finishing (being the last one to finish with everyone watching does kinda suck, though ppl are supportive).  Even more people would've never made it in the door of the gym.  But I showed up, and I did the pushups.  And I realized that I am strong.  And I'm not just strong at the gym, it goes for life too.

Others who have been through what I have don't make it as far as I have now.  Some never recover from addition, from abuse, from whatever else.  But I show up, I do the pushups, and I show my strength.  I've had A LOT of help to get to where I am today, but I realized tonight that some of it really is me.  I've fought through a lot and I keep fighting.  I've had people tell me that they're jealous of the healing progress I've made.  But the truth is, it didn't just happen.  I showed up and did the pushups, and I still continue to.  I can see it now.  I have a strong spirit that keeps me going and gets me through. I don't know that I was alwas wrong...but my life made me that way, and now I can halde a lot.  I can do a lot.