Something has changed. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, I cannot pinpoint the exact moment, and I wish that I could. I have started to believe that I have a future. I have started to accept that I will go on living, despite everything that has happened to me.
Things kept going wrong, people kept letting me down and hurting me, but no one managed to make me give up totally. I remember thinking at one point, "Is that all you got? Sure that hurt, but I've survived worse, and I will probably have to survive worse again. But I will still survive."
Survival is my superpower. It really is. Maybe I can start actually living, instead of merely surviving. I think that is a dramatic first step.
I have hopes for the future. I finished the first draft of the book I was writing. I'm going to go to a writer's conference and try and find an agent. I'm going to try to be a whole person again. I can imagine a future where I'm happy. I can imagine myself as a person of real value. I can see that I still have good qualities about myself, instead of being blinded by shame and guilt.
I feel like I've spent years in some dark tunnel wandering alone, and suddenly I've turned a corner and see a light in the distance. I'm crying happy tears right now.
I know that I still have many struggles that will need to be overcome, and some symptoms I may never be able to cure. I'm okay with that. I've never had an easy life, and I am used to struggle. It won't kill me. It won't break me. I'll be okay. I'll be more than okay, because these bad feelings are never going to overwhelm me completely. I've proven to myself that I can fight through anything. I'm not afraid of my fear anymore, I feel like I have overcome many of my fears.
I'm grateful to the people who really believed in me, and didn't give up on me. There were a few people who really did just give up. I survived that too. I still have quite a lot of anger that I need to deal with. I'm still a little afraid of that anger, but that also will not break me. I'm not afraid to fight the fights that I still have ahead of me. I don't feel the need to continue fighting the same fight over and over again.
I'm considering whether or not I want to go back to college or just commit myself to being a full-time writer. I want to just write. I'm not sure if I need to go back to college to be what I want to be. I don't know if I want to be around all those shiny young faces who haven't earned the scars I have earned through years of fighting. My scars made me stronger. My scars made me better.
I have other hopes and dreams. I know it's not too late for me to make those dreams come true. I have a lot of work to do, but that's okay.
It's strange, but the things that I thought were so important turned out to be far less valuable to me than things I thought were just incidental to my life. I used to think it was so important to me to be able to do everything on my own. Being too alone is not good for me, and it's a dangerous trap to give in to that desire to do everything alone. There are some things I do need to relearn how to do, but I just need to practice.
It's more important that I value the people I can trust to be in my life. It's important not to get so wrapped up in myself, that I forget to stop every now and then and share what is going on in my head with the people who matter. Being this wounded for this long has made me a very selfish person. I had to be selfish in order to survive. I learned the hard way that I had to put myself first, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the other positive people in my life. Learning to put myself first meant that I had to learn to cut out the toxic influences in my life. This is a good skill to have, but it doesn't mean that I can treat everyone like they are disposable. I have to learn to still trust and care for the people who have earned my trust and caring. I'm not so afraid to get hurt that I feel like I have to put a steel fence around my heart. I've been hurt, and it sucks, but putting up that fence ultimately means being alone. It's a delicate balance. I have to value myself. I have to trust others. I have to put myself first, but I have to include the people I love. I have to be willing to say "I won't let you poison my life anymore. So good-bye." to the people who aren't good for me.
Many of these things felt contradictory to me for a long time. If I had to keep negative people out of my life, I should just keep everyone out of my life, because everyone has the potential to be a negative. If I had trust others, I had to risk getting hurt and that was not taking good care of myself.
I was forced to be heavily dependent on others, and I hated that. I resented it. I resented myself instead of being compassionate. I punished myself for my symptoms instead of treating my symptoms. I resented everyone around me, because of my own limitations. I was jealous that they could drive a car and I couldn't. I was jealous that they could go for a walk in the sunshine and I couldn't. It hurt. It hurt me very deeply. Nobody could give me the ability to do those things, nobody had a magic wand, and it was childish of me to expect someone else to magically fix everything for me.
I didn't think I could do it, so I just stopped trying after a while. It was easier than dealing with the constant little failures. When I realized that I had stopped trying, I would punish myself, instead of trying to convince myself to try again.
Then some really bad things happened that forced me to do things in order to survive, that I hadn't done in years. I had to drive a car. Nothing bad happened when I drove a car. It scared the shit out of me, but I did it. So now, some days, I feel like I could drive a little. I had to be really alone, for the first time in years, with no one to help me. I managed to get myself to a safe place. I survived it. Now I know I can, if I have to. It might suck, but I could survive on my own. That makes it easier to do all sorts of things. Things still scare me. I have a lot of fear left. But I don't always want to give in to that fear and hide. If I take care of myself, then I can deal with those fears a little better. So I have to take care of myself. I'm making myself the promise that I will take care of myself, and not hide from all those petty fears.