This is who I am.
She cannot be killed. She refuses to be killed. Every day is a struggle to protect this part of me.
I am thankful for the strength I have found over my life to keep protecting that joyous inner person, that dramatic obsessive spirit who trucks in fantasy and wish-fulfillment, dreams and art, not as an escape, but as a valid way to pass my time on this planet. Survival is the only thing that matters.
I’ve got excellent survival skills. I have depressive tendencies, but I also have firm boundaries. I know what is helpful, and I know what is harmful. I rarely mistake one for the other.
I have many things to be thankful for. I have an awesome family, great friends, and my career is taking off. But today I am thankful that I have had the strength and the gumption to make it my business, my only business, to protect that which is beautiful in me, that which is joyous, free, and hopeful. It has not been easy and I have not always been successful. But I will never lose that fight in an end-game way. I will never be submerged completely in the wave of evidence pushing me to drown in loss, regret, grief. Not now. Not ever.
Because that girl on the hill, by herself, in her Hi-top sneakers and corduroys, throwing her arms in the air, living out her fantasy of being Maria von Trapp (that isn’t a cow field near my house, those are the Alps, don’t you know), is me. There is no difference between that picture then and who I am now. I have more miles on me, sure. I have had to fight harder to stay in the dream, to “keep swimming” (thank you, Kerry). But she – that little girl up there – she’s the only person I have to honor, ultimately, the only person I owe loyalty to. Make her happy, make her proud, don’t let her down.