On this day, 11 years ago, I started my journey into the light after years of horrific, consuming, debilitating darkness. No over-exaggeration. What I went through, I should not have lived through. The fact that I am here today, alive and well, parenting my children as a single mom, living a fulfilling life I’m proud of, and achieving any measure of success is nothing short of a miracle. Not a moment passes that I’m not grateful for that. The demons of my past kill people every minute of every day, both inside and out. And though it took years of falling down and getting back up, time after time, I finally made it out for good, and I made it out for a reason.
A few years ago, I couldn’t even care for my children the way mothers should. I wasn’t mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally capable of doing so. But today, in the eyes of my children, I’m a hero. And now, I can use my own hero’s journey experiences to bear witness to others: you can make it out, too. If you want it bad enough, and you’re willing to go to any lengths to get it, the light will come.
Each of us has a different path to travel, yet we all go through darkness at one time or another. It’s up to us to share our light with each other, because we never know what sorts of darkness and demons others around us are battling. The light I share today is through my stories. In them, I offer love through loss, joy through heartbreak, perseverance, redemption, growth from grief, overcoming, friendship, unlikely families, and so many other sparks in the dark that we all need to (and most will) experience at some time in our lives. And though sometimes I think maybe I shouldn’t “brag” about my accomplishments because someone else might resent me if they are struggling with a lack of success in their own lives, the truth is, I have every right to be proud. Being proud isn’t the same as bragging. Being proud is loving myself and being my friend. And dammit, for so many years I was my worst enemy, so I deserve to be my friend today, to be proud.
Same as you.
So if you are going through darkness, don’t give up the search for the light. It’s there. Love is the key. And I’ve found that my dark journey has only helped me to see the beauty of the light that much clearer. I’m stronger, having been through what I needed to go through to find myself, and I stand before you now, offering whatever hope I can to get you one step closer to your own light. Don’t give up. You can do this. Don’t you ever give up. ❤