I got a text from someone very dear to me, today of all days..... and I hope she won't mind me sharing it.... that read - Just wanted to let you know how very proud I am to have seen you become the confident expressive mature loving person I sat with last night. Thinking back to the quiet expressionless girl I first knew but liked and wanted to get to know. You are a gift.
Cue the weepy eyes. I cannot begin to tell you and I certainly didn't adequately tell her what a gift those words were to my soul. If you had told the Shannon she's talking about that this is the Shannon she would become, well she probably would have laughed in your face. It would have seemed impossible. Insurmountable. I am one of the lucky ones. Somehow I got here, teeny tiny step by teeny tiny step. I wish I could say that I did this, this one thing and everything magically fell into place, but doesn't work like that. It was a million little things.
It was finding the right people at the right time. It was learning to say no, if that was the best thing for me and not yes because it might be the best thing for someone else. It was discovering that fine line between empathy and being a sucker. It was really listening to people tell me who they were. It was learning to value my own opinion. It was finding my voice and not being afraid to use it. It was learning to disagree with grace. It was learning to let go of the things that didn't bring peace, love or happiness. It was becoming a Mom. It was being a partner. A sister. A friend. It was learning to listen. It was deciding to be happy. It was a million more things both known and unknown.
I making it sound far easier than it is, I think. This is a marathon, not a sprint and it's fluid. I can see it even in my youngest. Things are better as well as different with her. Triggers change, but she works hard not to let the worries win. We talk a lot, her and I. It helps us both I think. Putting tools to cope and manage in her hands only benefits us both. I am ridiculously proud of that kid's grit. I wish I'd had half as much when I was her age.
For those who are struggling, in any measure, I wish you peace and understanding.