Dear Gratitude

Gratitude is forced upon me by the outside world

By people who want to tell me what my life is and isn’t

By people making assumptions about the way I live

About what I have and what I am lacking

When in reality

Nobody knows anything about others

Nobody knows what happened to you except you

Your gratitude comes from within not from a holiday or a relative

You do not need to be thanking the universe all the time

Simply for being alive

Because that life might be full of despair and anguish

And that’s okay

There will be periods of immense thankfulness

And periods of deep anger at the world

They come and go

They are not controlled by a schedule on a calendar

We cannot control the events or the feelings

We can simply live them all.

Dear Good Day,

I am so grateful to have you. You have been so kind to me today. After so many years with so many bad days, the good days shine so brightly. These are the days I never want to end when it gets dark because I don’t want to face the possibilities of all the things that could go wrong the next day or the next day after that. These days that are filled with laughter and sunshine and peaceful thoughts and love are so few and far between and so valuable. They change the way I see the world. They change the way I see my life and suddenly I want to be here to experience all this beauty over and over again. They show me that joy still exists even after grief and trauma. It is still out there and some days it finds you.

The good days also give me my deepest fears. They make my anxieties come to the surface. I am not comfortable with good days because I am so unused to the feeling of my body letting go. I am so unused to the feeling of something going right, of a stranger smiling at me or of winning a prize. I am used to the fight or flight mode, the disasters, the fighting off each other as it speeds towards me. When the day is good I know it will end eventually. I know something will happen to end the good streak and that something will hurt like hell. It will hurt so much more because of the good day before it. The contrast so sharp that it stabs you. The good days make me think back on the bad days and make me wish for no more days because the thought of the bad days to come in the midst of a beautiful one is so overwhelming. Sometimes on good days I want to quit while I’m ahead. I don’t feel like waiting around for the next tragedy or the next cancelled train or the next illness or the next downpour. I just want to rest in the peacefulness of this good day.

There are always going to be good days and bad days. Good moments and bad moments. Forever. For everyone. I have yet to accept this. In the dark moments I still believe that all my moments will be dark. On the good days I still feel a fleeting euphoria that cannot last. Temporality is part of life. Good and bad will both end and both will come again. No matter what I do or what I think or what I pray. I try to remind myself to hold onto the feelings that the good days bring. They are so much stronger now than before I experienced pain. Therefore, the pain was part of giving me the good. Without it, I would have seen this day as just average, not an amazing gift. As I write this late in the evening I am having a hard time giving this good day away to the night. Knowing that an unpredictable day is coming where anything could happen. It could also be good, I don’t know. I have to let go and just see. Meanwhile, I think it’s pretty clear I don’t take good days for granted anymore. I savor them and sit with them for as long as I can and then I wait for the next one to come around.