Today, as I sit cozy in my chair typing this post, I do so from a very reflective, and sentimental state of mind. To give you some context… I have to go back in time. So lets travel to my life, 10 years ago.
It was 2008, I was in a pretty bad spot in my life. I was dealing with some pretty severe mental health issues, which had forced me to leave my apartment and move back in my my family. I felt absolutely misunderstood and alone. I gained about 90 lbs in a little over 3 months from the medication… I was utterly miserable. Though I didn’t even really express or release that — I was so glazed over from the medication, that I felt very little except a dull, aching despair.
However, I still did my best to maintain hope. I listened to music and daydreamed a lot… about the things I desired. I first and formost wanted friendship, and to be understood. Also, I deeply wanted to fall in love, and have a truly loving and equal partnership with someone. However, I felt such self loathing at this point, that attempting to be in a relationship ( had anyone been interested) would have been pointless. I dreamed of great adventure, and love, and joy. All the things my life seemed to be lacking at that point.
This fog shrouded my life for about a year and a half — I felt stuck. The one thing at that point that made me feel alive, was listening to music. Music has always had the power to trasnport me to another deminsion, per se. It has stirred my soul, and been my campanion when I felt utterly alone. So, many months were spent curled up with Radiohead albums, and a few other artists who I enjoyed.
Then, one day it happened. My first breakthough… of sorts. It was spring, and I had started taking walks around the family’s farm. I was trying to find a way to shake myself out of this fog, and I thought being in nautre would be a good start.
I wondered up a large hill, with a grouping of apple trees, the trees had vines twisting through their banches. The limbs and vines, twisted in such a way… that they formed a canopy of sorts, and the blossoms from the apple tree had just come into full bloom. For a moment, I was overtaken by the beauty all around me. I noticed the birds, and bees buzzing about… for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace. Though I was “alone” I didn’t feel lonely. I sat under the canopy of flowers, branches, and vines for a bit… then it hit me… all of the saddness and despair that I had been feeling for the last year and a half came rushing through. I wept under the tree for a bit. It was the first time I had been able to FEEL anything, for a long time.
I feel like that moment, under the apple tree, I had my first ‘awakening’ of sorts from the fog. I realized many things. I realized that I would rather feel despair every once and a while, then feel nothing all the time. I realized that I HAD to keep moving forward to creating the life I wanted for myself. Also, I realized that to get there, I had to stop despising myself, and decide that I was indeed worthy of life I desired.
My life didn’t come together all at once, and there are still things I struggle with… but I have an unshakeable gratitude for how my life has transformed.
After that day, I began to love myself… though love may be a strong word for how it started. I began to care for myself, and think myself worthy. I lost most of the weight I had gained, began expressing myself creatively again, and started reaching out to meet new people… no longer isolating from the world.
In 2010, by sheer concidence, circumstance, and serendipity, I met the love of my life. We married that same year, and have been happily married since August of 2011. Together we have taken many great adentures, the very things I had previously thought were futile dreams… such as seeing many of the musicians that kept me hopeful in those days in concert, and actually meeting my favorite.
My life isn’t perfect, but I don’t want it to be. I want my life to be a great adventure, a love story, and a story of personal growth.
How did I come this far? I would say, mostly through perserverance… and never giving up hope.. no matter how bleek things seemed. The biggest catalyst for my change, I believe, was realizing I was worthy of living the life I desired… and aslo realizing I was worthy of love… even at my worst… from others, and ESPECIALLY from myself.
I can’t tell you the exact roadmap to reach your dreams, and live the life you desire. However, I can assure you that if you refuse to give up, cultivate optimism, and self love… you can find the map within yourself. Take some time to reflect on the things you wish for, take small steps daily, and surrender the results.
You don’t always have to know exactly how you are going to get to the place you want to be…but be stubborn that you will get there. Take small daily steps, take time to relish in the simple accomplishments, and the beauty of life all around you.
My hope is that your dreams unfold in front of you, and that when you reach them… you don’t stop there. Continue growing, learning, evolving, and most importantly loving.
Much love to each of you!