You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. – We Bought A Zoo
Today is an important anniversary for me. I don’t really want to go into the details of what it is because it’s not entirely relevant and may completely detract from my point. But it’s a big deal.
13 years ago today, I mustered all of my courage so that my future, and my family’s future could be brighter. So that other people could be safe. I was only 12 years old and although everyone told me that I was being brave, I just felt I was doing what I absolutely had to- no debate, no bravery, just getting it over and done with because there was no other option.
In retrospect, I was incredibly brave and strong. I was one amazing little kid. I’m really proud of who I was and how strong willed my 12 year old soul was.
When I did what I did, I was pretty sure that I didn’t have much of a future ahead of me. I was pretty sure I was either going to be miserable for my whole life or die young. I was very, very depressed and I had no idea. I didn’t think I could ever possibly be happy again. I’d accepted my fate and was okay with it, as long as I got this thing done. I’m sorry I’m being cryptic.
The thing is, it really did just take about an hour (I think) of bravery. I just had to sit, and talk honestly for an hour. And I knew this was the case. I knew I could always get through the next five minutes so I did it. It took crazy amounts of unfathomable bravery but once it was done, I didn’t need to be brave any more. And I was so relieved. The little mantra of ‘just the next five minutes’ is something I’ve carried since and even spoken about on here.
It’s been 13 years and in that time, I have struggled with mental health issues, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot and I have made SO MANY bad decisions that weren’t particularly brave or intelligent and some of them were due to youth, some due to self destructing.
What I’ve also done is build a home with someone who loves me, and has always loved me for who I am. I’ve carved a life for myself in a city that I now very happily call home. I’ve carved a career for myself. I’ve got a solid, a really solid group of friends and I have two beautiful cats. I don’t go on wild excursions, I don’t travel the world. I see my friends a few times a week, I see my boyfriend at every chance I get and I work full time. I have an average life and man, I am so grateful for my little life.
I’m so grateful that I’m around to be with the kind of friends I always hoped I’d have, that I stuck around to meet Gavin, that my life didn’t get cut short as I expected and that I have, despite everything, EVERYTHING, a heart full of love. Full to the brim. I have a life full of love. And music. And art. And humour. And in-jokes.
I’m so grateful that 12 year old me took those brave steps so that I could live this wonderful life. I’m so grateful that I’ve carried the same strength through my whole life and drawn strength from such a traumatic experience.
This week, I’ve complained about my job a lot but having today highlighted to me gave me an incredible amount of perspective. Life really gets better, right before your eyes. You just have to stick around to see it happen, even if it takes a little bravery here and there.