Eight years ago I had the worst night of my life. This time of year I celebrate my birthday and then the milestone of another year without my mom. That night I joined the survivors club. Not by my choice but by my mom’s inability to continue on. Why she lost her battle that day, I’ll never know. The only thing I know to be true is that my life was forever changed. Whatever my future might have held took a turn in another direction and the person I was ceased to exist. Finding myself has been hard, learning to carry on even harder but at the end of the day I have to be here to prove her loss can mean something other than pain.
I got my love of books, knowledge and learning from her. The gap between my teeth and hump on my neck as well. I act a fool and my filter is more chicken wire than window screen but I make no excuses for who I am. Oh, and my sailor mouth too. Much like mom, people seem to think I’m fun and happy; until she died. After that, I opened the door to my soul and I share my ugliness like it’s a priceless masterpiece. Instead of hiding it, I wave my crazy banner. I do it not for attention but salvation. I’ve often said I’ve felt like a chameleon; trying to be perfect and composed while on the inside I was broken and displaced. There is freedom in opening the door and there is also heartache. Using my issues as a source of education on the many faces of depression gives me purpose but it also leaves me vulnerable and afraid. Acceptance by others is tricky but acceptance of myself is far more difficult. It’s funny though, the more open I am, the more I accept myself and the more I’m able to see my impact. Even if it’s someone saying I’m a fruit loop, that’s ok. People are still learning from me and a dialog about mental illness has started. So poke fun at me, I don’t mind. I may feel sad or afraid sometimes but I’m proving that good things can happen from the worst things. I am finding myself in the rubble of my former life and day by day I’m accepting me.
So on the eve of the day my life changed forever, I will celebrate what my mom gave me; a gap toothed smile, a Quasimodo neck, a sense of humor and an ability to cuss in ways that can make a sailor blush but most importantly she gave me the the gift of life. Suicide sucks.
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