*I wrote this on February 13th, the same date two years ago. I just got sidetracked and forgot to publish it. Welcome to my world!*

It was exactly 2 years ago I posted about rage. Or rather, giving ourselves permission to have it. Acknowledge it. Use it. This is significant because I had a similar mind set today as I started this new post. And I like signs. I look for signs. I think this is a sign. Or not. Either way, I’m pushing forward because I’m tenacious that way. Some might call it stubborn but I prefer the word tenacious. it sounds better.

But really, folks, let’s get real for one hot minute. I am at the point in my life where I finally feel worthy of trying to live my life on my own terms (which are still to be determined due to my indecisiveness). I am feeling confident enough to fight for my own version of happiness, regardless of how skewed and different it may seem to others. My happiness is mine to fuck with. Or up. Likely they’re one and the same in my world.

My friends, I gotta confess: My heart has been so fucking tired. My tattered, threadbare soul is exhausted and my mind continues to fight a battle that’s been rigged from the start. I just want a reprieve from the Never Ending Shit Show that is my life. So, so many of us have been living these past two years in a state of constant confusion, apprehension and stress. And so many more have been surviving so much worse in an already fragile existence. Globally, nationally, locally. Fucking personally. Everyone is suffering; no one is more entitled to, or less deserving of compassion and understanding. We all need a fucking break.

I’m not going to lie, these couple of years have been a rough road for me and after a few too many pot holes and roadblocks I felt myself going to my familiar place. My blanket fort of darkness, so welcoming and recognizable with its despair and self-loathing. The new chapter was so promising and I let myself believe in the shiny baubles and hazy promises it dangled on the first few pages. I was willing to lie to myself for the sake of ‘thinking positive’. I knew it would be difficult and the challenges would test me in ways I never dreamed of. But I didn’t see those fucking grenades coming; they were weapons from an inside job. My body still carries the shrapnel with care. I didn’t even close my eyes for fear of what truths I would have to see. And I knew that the implosion of my world on a very personal level was just a bee sting compared to what so many have been dealing with.

Perspective baby.

I lost so many parts of myself that I felt naked and fragmented. But I began to find my missing pieces, battered and broken but still mine. Then I dropped some along the way. I just kept dropping them like they were useless pocket lint. I’ve been fighting a battle that is hiding another battle within it and forgive me, but I haven’t had the time or the energy to continue the search for those missing parts. For these past two years I clung to what would keep me away from the ledge while learning how to thrive in a foreign world (figuratively and literally).

I have simple dreams. I don’t think I ask for much. My wishes are not the stuff of shooting stars or unicorns and fairytales. I just want to laugh so hard my insides ache. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the comfort of a touch that is pure in its kindness. I want to find the freedom that comes with being myself in all of my flawed glory, knowing I can still be loved. I wish for the patience to overcome my demons and the courage to keep them close enough to remind me of where I’ve been and and what I’ve overcome. I hope to never lose my compassion and trust in others even when they show me the ugly side of human nature. I wish for the courage to forgive myself when it all feels so futile and I dream of the day I can let go and trust my vulnerability to take the lead.

Above all, I wish for the day I can breathe deep and not feel broken and insignificant. And I want to blow that wish out into the atmosphere so that it touches others who also feel alone with their private battles within themselves. I ask for the power to let them know they are not alone, they are not damaged beyond repair. They are worthy of love and acceptance.

I guess, so am I.

I’ve never really known anything other than resistance to who I am. More times than not, my life has been a fight in one way or another and I have fought for so long that when a battle recedes all I feel is panic. I’m learning that I can walk away from some of those battles and my world won’t crumble beneath me. I am also learning to accept that a victory in one battle does not mean the war is won and the longer I stagger on the battle field waiting to attack my war, the closer I come to my own demise.

Even if I win.

I have been taught that I do not have to explain myself to everyone even if it’s expected. People will choose to believe what they will, and growth cannot happen if you’re constantly stopping to defend or explain yourself to others. Its hard,but I’m learning to accept that some peoples ‘ worry’ and ‘concern’ are just as toxic as apathy or codependency. And letting that shit go is a course in humility that I have yet to master.

I am also slowly learning that forgiving yourself doesn’t mean you’re trying to relinquish any responsibility for your past (or recent) mistakes and it doesn’t mean you’re selfish. Forgiveness is part of the process. Maybe the hardest part, but it’s were the magic is. Learning to forgive has allowed me to open up to the warmth of happiness, no matter how fleeting it may be. I am able to grasp its tendrils and enjoy the beauty of a moment or feeling for what it is, even when surrounded by chaos and pain. We are all capable and worthy of grabbing and holding these moments of joy. Because what I have really discovered is that there is no ‘one or the other’ when it comes to emotions or feelings. There is no precedent for finding and feeling happiness. Its Okay if you live with your sadness while you bask in the light of happy moments that come your way. We don’t all get to be perfectly happy all of the time. And we also ride different waves of sadness and despair during the course of our lives. Every one of us.

Now more than ever we need to recognize those moments in time that transcend all forms of human nature. We need to let out the rage and release the venom that keeps us paralyzed by our fears and feelings of hopelessness. But we also need to recognize the difference between letting it out to let it go and releasing it over and over again, letting the rage take power over us and our ability to see the magic of happiness in all its simplicity. Because even in our darkest hours, pieces of happiness are all around us, waiting to be touched, seen or felt. Those moments still exist despite the rage. In fact, one will always walk alongside the other; its up to us which one we grab hold of. And there is no wrong choice, here. There’s just choice. It’ll look different every time.

If these last two years has taught us anything it’s that humans, when stripped down to their very core, are made up of a mass of energy and emotions,all trying to exist together. No one emotion is ever permanent. Be civilized and let them take turns. We are all fighting something even when we are smiling. Because we’re cool like that.