Staring at the screen of this computer someone is lending me indefinitely, trying to write a post for the new website another friend made me, in a bed that someone else gave me, in a house that Doug and I are welcome to stay in rent-free, I can’t help but be grateful.

There are people that think we aren’t worth very much.

But for every one person who has left us feeling beaten up and disappointed, there emerge several more that think we’re pretty great.

In the last few years I have learned what it is like to be loved sacrificially.
People give up time, things, money, space, even talent, all in the name of helping me. Donations to my fundraiser have come from unexpected places.
As much as it feels like my world is crashing down around me this week, I am grateful for the help that I have.
There are people cheering me on, wishing me well, believing in me, and acting out of the deep love that they point in my direction.

It has been the difference between life and death in my story.

I couldn’t count the amount of times I thought of how to take my own life, I tried more than once.
I used to hold my breath underwater in the bathtub, hoping that I could master the reflex to get air and fade peacefully away. I practiced and practiced.

People have kept me alive.

For as much as people have hurt me, used me, and abandoned me, they have also saved me, fed me, housed me, and loved me.

I can’t ever forget, when someone unexpected caused a lot of damage in my life, my friend Margie said something that she has since repeated when it came to someone else:

“I feel bad for them. Because, now they don’t get to be friends with you anymore.”

Am I really that special? That it’s worth feeling sorry for someone else because they don’t get to be around me? Maybe. Margie certainly thinks so.
My adopted  mother and father are pleased that I “picked them back”. I had to remind my mom that, I asked them first to be my parents. She’d forgotten. It was as if part of her wanted me to be her daughter all along and my asking just made her wish complete.
I like to say that my dad treats me like a princess, because he does.
He is over the moon with my infantile attempts at Spanish, he loves to listen to my singing voice, and he worries about me. He tells me how beautiful and talented I am. It’s like he’s on the edge of his seat waiting for the world to see me like he does.

I have so much to be thankful for that I often end up feeling like I am ungrateful. When someone treats me poorly or something goes wrong, I get down on myself, then I feel ashamed for not being thankful for what I have.
Yesterday, I downed a cup of cloudy, gross tap water because, “some people have to walk miles to get water that is worse than this”.

Where does this voice come from?

Years of being told that I wasn’t grateful? Years now of having more than I ever have had and feeling guilty about it?

How do we rejoice in the blessings of our life and balance the frustrations of the set-backs?

I feel as if I’m constantly falling flat on my face or walking on air. I’m content with what I have or feel as if everything is wrong.

I read all these motivational posts and know rationally that there is no way to be happy all the time. But I feel pressured to be. I feel like a failure when I’m not. I feel ungrateful when I can’t see the positive in everything. Why?

If every cloud has it’s silver lining, why can’t I look at the gray bits for a little while before someone tells me, “It will all work out”?

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing that I should look up, be happy, and see what happens next.

Thank you for the sentiment, but I can’t hear it right now. Just cheer me on by bringing me food, sharing a funny picture on my Facebook wall, or buying me a drink. You can support me without squishing my feelings.

I’m not ungrateful for the good things in my life because I’m swamped with bad things at the moment. Give me a paddle, not a cat poster. I’ll be happy again. But happy isn’t a state of being, it’s a feeling.

Next time someone you know is drowning in their circumstances, jump in and tread water next to them. All they need is for you to be there. If you do choose to open your mouth, “Sorry this sucks”  is all they need to hear.

A cat poster would just melt in the rain.


abuse, adoption, advice, anxiety, Blessings, Boundaries, C-PTSD, comfort, complex trauma, courage, depression, Faith, family, friends, healing, invisible illness, mental illness, PTSD, recovery, suffering, truth, woundedness