llbbooks ([personal profile] llbbooks) wrote2011-10-09 06:33 pm
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(Originally posted at Facebook on June 22nd, 2011.)

Whenever someone told me that I would one day have a license, a car, an apartment- things I have wanted longer than I can remember, I smiled and nodded and generally thought they were wrong but well-meaning. I never believed I could get that for myself, but I certainly wouldn't say so to someone who seemed to believe I could.

I spent a lot of time despairing, a lot of time lonely, loneliest when in groups of friends. I'm not a religious person, and I'm squarely in the minority. Most people seem to believe things that happen are part of some overarching plan, and that comforts them. I don't. It bothered me, therefore, that everything I saw, everything I lived through, everything everyone managed to survive, was essentially for nothing.

Today marks my 4th anniversary with my employer. All day I've been thinking about all the differences between this day and that one, thinking about what I've learned and how I got here.

I now have all the things former iterations of self thought impossible. I got my license on July 21st, 2011, got my car about an hour later. Last month, I got my apartment.

How? I worked my ass off for them, first and foremost. They weren't given to me, I earned them. In addition, I have a lot of really good and smart friends to point me in the right direction, people who eventually convinced me I really could have them and what they symbolize and that it was okay to reach for them.

Along the way, I learned a lot. Some things were fun, some things were vital to success, some things I would've been happy never knowing. I learned I would never be happy if I remained distant in the present while focusing on some undefined future, to stay in moments important to or good for me and to cherish them. I learned (remembered) that sometimes you get one shot at what will make your future, and you have to go for it or you'll regret not having done so forever. I learned my tastes are still changing, and that trying things I had once disliked might be a good idea once in awhile. I learned to love a good musical. I learned to never ever jump into a pool, even if you can see the bottom.

I learned that the truth is not static but dynamic and fluid based on who you ask, and that there's generally more to the situation than you'll ever know. I learned that nothing stays the same, to cherish the moment now because after it ends it will never be the same. I learned not to become complacent because the second I did, the riptide pulled me under. I learned that someone you loved and trusted, someone you were willing to take a bullet for, will stab you in the back and leave you just alive enough to know you'll never be the same and wish they had just finished the job. I learned that sometimes you have no clue what is truth and what is illusion but you have to carry on as though you did. I learned that people and animals you love and depend on get sick, die, change beyond recognition, and you have to go out and live the rest of your live in a world you don't recognize when no one else seems to notice anything changed. I learned that that never stops happening.

I learned that the only one with you your whole life is you. I learned that I have to put myself first, and that I better make it good because I'll remember and regret it if I don't. I learned that manners and grace go a long way, and that they will save your ass when nothing else will. I learned to champion my own causes, save my own bacon.

I learned to live for myself.

I learned to treat my past not as minefields to be avoided at all costs, but as things that shaped me as I made it through. I learned to hold my head up and occupy my space. I learned to be proud.

It took 4 years to get here. The distance between then and now seems unfathomable, but the distance between now and the next 4 seem unimaginable.