When I was at work yesterday, I was talking to one of my co-workers who had just read my blog the night before. She told me that she really liked it, that I wrote well, and then added, “I feel so bad for you.”
Sure, I’ve lived through some difficulties, but who hasn’t? Yes, my head is pretty messed up at the moment, but it could be so much worse. I have a good job, I have family and friends that love me. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have my spirituality, and my connection to a higher power.
I’m not saying that I’ve never wallowed in pity and despair before. There have been times when life seemed dark and overwhelming and I had no idea how I would make it through. But I did. The truth is that I’ve barely scratched the surface of describing my inner demons and the various challenges I’ve faced. But I’ve survived all of them. There’s no reason to feel bad for me; that’s certainly not the response I’m hoping to get from readers.
I have a friend who has been through more than I can possibly imagine; yet she continues to push forward. We were talking one day, and she expressed frustration about the way people interacted with her. She said many people felt bad about ever expressing unhappiness or complaining about their situation because they felt like they had no right to be upset about their pains because they were nothing compared to the pain she herself has endured. She then went on to say one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard. She essentially said that just because others may have been through “worse,” it doesn’t mean that your own despair isn’t valid or justified.
Over the years, my father has often apologized to me for being wrapped up in a battle with his addictions through a large portion of my childhood. I always tell him that an apology isn’t necessary. I am who I am now because of where I’ve been. And the truth is that I like who I am. I recognize where I have room to grow, but I realize that life overall is pretty good. Faith Evans sums it up perfectly in her song Again:
“If I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t take away the rain ’cause I know it made me who I am.”