August 28th, 2020
I pour my heart into my journal every night. Often, my journal gives back to me in ways unexpected. It reminds me of what I'm grateful for - I am surrounded by loved ones, my life filled with hope and light. I have survived everything life has thrown at me. I am freer than I've ever been.
I have 10,000 raisons d'etre (reasons to live), 10,000 reasons to get out of bed in the morning. This is a huge step forward for me. Although I'm not quite ready to write about it in full, (I will eventually), the past year I have struggled with mental health in a way that, quite honestly, felt like hell on earth. To be completely frank, there were times I had no reason to live, at least in my head. I didn't want to be here anymore. But things are different now. In the past three or four months I've experienced so much growth, so much hope. I went from being submerged in darkness to a world crackling with brilliant light. A heart like a firecracker and endless energy, boundless optimism. Now that I know what true sadness feels like I treasure true happiness even more.
I still struggle with anxious thoughts but every day I take another step towards conquering the anxiety that I've lived with since third grade, or maybe before. My journal helped with that, too. You could say I had an epiphany of sorts. My whole life I've been terrified of death, and being inexperienced in terms of grief, I have no idea what to expect. Nearly every day the terror would grip me: what if today's the last day you have with ______ (mother, sister, father, friend)?
Then I realized. Mother, sister, father and friend will all die eventually. We all know how life works, even if we wish it wasn't that way. When I spend time pre-emptively mourning, that's time I could be enjoying with the people I love. My aunt once told me that worry is just interest paid on trouble before it's due. Or, in the words of Rubeus Hagrid, what is coming will come, and we'll meet it when it does. In short, I'll cross those bridges when I come to them. Until then, I'll be thankful for my life on dry land.
Counting my blessings - 1, 2, 3, 4. Mario Kart with sisters, coffee with friends, days in the sunshine, a bird on my shoulder. 5, 6, 7, 8. Continued safety from COVID-19. Picking up the violin after nearly two years of it collecting dust. Practicing my French. Dark chocolate from IKEA. 8, 9, 10. Having my family to lean on during the pandemic - what would I do without them? Living next to a park. Writing and reading anything and everything.
I have 10,000 things to be grateful for. I have 10,000 reasons to live.
And so do you.
Even if you are in that dark place right now, you have 10,000 reasons to stay on this earth. I promise you that. If you have fallen further than you ever thought you would... well, you're not alone. And there is hope for you. I promise someday you'll wake up and life will feel okay again.
Today I visited one of my favorite local coffee shops, Overflow. Every time I visit, I get a Bible camp song stuck in my head on loop. "Fill up my cup and let it overflow...fill up my cup and let it overflow...fill up my cup and let it overflow, let it overflow with love." That's what I feel like right now. At this moment, my cup IS overflowing with love. I couldn't be happier.
Not only did I visit Overflow for a lavender latte, I visited it for conversation, for companionship. As their sign at the front door says, "Coffee and conversation - we need a lot of both right now."
Because I went with one of my best friends and we had the best time. We talked about everything and nothing at once. We enjoyed just being together. That's what friendship is to me. It doesn't matter what you do. It just matters who you're with.
Because as much as I appreciate a good cappuccino, that's not what I'm in this for.
I'm in this for the memories. I'm in it for the people. I'm in it for long car drives and caffeinated ramblings and laughter that bubbles over like a pot left to boil for too long. Laughter that spills over the edges of our neat and tidy lives and leaves us messy, imperfect, real.
Laughter that reminds me I am more than my Instagram suggests. More than filters and stories and happy hip hop songs and hashtags. I am more.
I am messy. I am raw. I am imperfect. I am flawed. I am unfiltered.
I am real.
I think we forget that sometimes. That we're real. I hold myself to an impossible standard. My life has to be perfect, productive, and public. Anything not crafted for public consumption isn't real. If I'm the only one who sees it, hears it, or reads it, does it even matter? So I forget that...
I'm overflowing with faults and failures but also hope and love. My cup runneth over with mistakes. But my cup runneth over with blessings too.
This is an untraditional #KCoffeeChallenge post, I know. But hey, I made the challenge, I made the rules. To me, Overflow is about community. To me, it is about reminding ourselves what overflows in our own lives. And right now, to me, it is love.