April 27th, 2003.
It has been 18 years since and every year that passes, I feel further removed from the significance this day holds for me. The gravity of this day has now been filled with deep gratitude and self-reflection. 18 years ago, as a young teenager, I made a decision. Now, as an adult with imposter syndrome, I am grateful that someone saw through my pain and truly looked at me and paid attention. “Are you okay?” A simple question changed every facet of my life.
18 years later, the answer remains the same: I am not okay.
I have unraveled and put myself back together 5,467 times and well, it never gets easier; just more tolerable.
The reality is I’ve learned how to manage my pain and work with the darkness (Carl) – which I can slip into if I’m not careful enough. My management plan feels like one of those spider web obstacle courses where if you hit one of the ropes you have to start from the beginning. For a long time, I chose to not begin at all and was hell-bent on self-destruction. I don’t recall the moment I stopped fighting myself. I think I have just adapted to living in the world around me and grew tired of viewing life through a pessimistic lens. When you break a cycle, you end up being presented with infinite choices.
The best choice I can make: To say I am not okay and still find the beauty in being honest with myself. To say I am not okay and still welcome the good things into my life. To say I am not okay and still fall in love, belly laugh over stories with friends, find the best matcha latte in the city and most importantly, continue to show up authentically every day.
A reminder to me, from me: You are not alone in this uncertain place. You are far more capable at handling the muck than you give yourself credit for and stop trying to convince yourself to get bangs – it’s never going to happen. Let that be enough.