Every so often I like to take a moment to stop and take everything in. Mentally, that is – I live in New York City and if you stop in the middle of the street you will get trampled by tourists and commuters. Also you are an asshole. And there’s a strong chance that where you’re standing smells like garbage or pee.
Anyway, yesterday I caught my reflection in the one of the Macy’s windows and I couldn’t help but laugh. No I didn’t look like a homeless person (that’s only on the weekends…or after aggressive happy hours). I looked…like an adult. A NEW YORKER adult!
I looked at my non-ancient iPhone I was texting my FIANCÉ (ah!) with about planning our engagement party. I looked at the incredibly beautiful and thoughtful engagement ring on my finger. I looked at the designer sunglasses on my face, the designer bag on my shoulder, and the pricey headphones on my head. I’m not trying to sound like an asshole – I was just in awe of myself. Not that long ago I could barely get out of bed, let alone get out the apartment and go to work. I could barely pay rent, let alone buy myself a purse (my mom had to insist I throw out my old purse because it had too many holes in it), and I was convinced I would die alone surrounded by cats.
Designer clothes and expensive “adult toys” aren’t what matter to me; it’s the fact that I now have the ability and capability to get them. I bought that purse after I got my start date at my new job because I got a huge raise. My dad bought me those sunglasses for Christmas because he’s no longer swamped by my medical bills. My amazing fiancé bought me those headphone because they’re noise canceling and he knows how sensitive I am to sound.
I’m able to have all of this because I fought to get my life back. Mental illness was taking my life away from me and after a long, grueling battle I finally did. For a while I let it win because it was too hard to fight back. I didn’t realize how many resources I needed to fight and a lot of the time it didn’t seem worth it. I didn’t know that I could have a life like this. I didn’t know that I could have a successful career, a loving partner, and a comfortable lifestyle that I earned. My mental illness told me that I couldn’t. It told me that I was confined to my bed, wearing the same dirty sweatshirt for weeks, isolated and alone because that’s all I deserved.
But something inside me told me that wasn’t true. Even when 99% of your mind is polluted by darkness there is still that 1%, maybe even 0.01% that holds on. If you don’t think that you have it, trust me you do – if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be sitting here reading this.
You can have the life you dream, in fact you can one that’s even better than you could ever imagine. But you have to fight for it. Even if you don’t have a mental illness holding you back, there’s plenty of other things that plague our minds and lives and convince us that we don’t deserve the lives that we want. Don’t listen to that voice. Believe that you’re worthy and capable of love and happiness and eventually it will find it’s way to you.
For many years I didn’t think I deserved love or happiness but here I am, sitting in my office writing this post with a diamond ring on my finger.
Keep fighting the good fight.