Tonight, when I found out some potentially disappointing news and you told me to believe, I felt you had my back.
Tonight, when I was about to break down into a full out adult-meltdown right in front of the kid, you told me that you wanted to help me.
Tonight, when I felt like my depression was starting to surface and I was going to break apart, you held me close and told me that you’re right here for me. Always.
Tonight, when I starting going down the slope of negativity, you told me to trust in myself.
Tonight, when I started losing faith in myself, you told me to trust in my abilities.
Tonight, when I started feeling like I will never amount to anything, you told me that I’m special, educated, and passionate.
It can be so difficult for me to keep faith in myself; to believe in myself.
It can be equally as easy for me to compare myself to others and convince myself that I’m not good enough, or strong enough, or clever enough.
But you, for you, it’s so easy to believe in me. It’s so easy for you to know my worth. It’s so easy for you to love me completely and entirely.
I envy your ability to see things through your eyes – realistically and pragmatically. I’m so sensitive and easily brought down. But not you. You have a strength I only wish I had; the same strength that you see in me, but that I often fail to notice.
When my depression starts to creep its way through, you’re right there, making sure I know I can come to you when I need to. When my depression tries to knock me down, you remind me how much you love me and how important I am to you and this family. When I start to cry, you remind me that it’s okay to feel the way I’m feeling; that it’s only a minor set back and that I just need time.
You take the picture I need you to take. You read the words I need to write. You listen to the silence I need to have.
I’m a few months into being forty and I’m feeling good about it. I like saying I’m forty. I like being forty. I’m all around liking forty.
You may be wondering, what is this woman’s obsession with being forty? Well, I’ll tell you.
There once was a time when I didn’t think I’d make it to eighteen, let alone forty. There was a time in my life when I wrote in my diary that I was determined to take my own life before my eighteenth birthday.
I was in a very bad place, and eighteen – the official start of adulthood – seemed even more unmanageable than the teen years. My anxiety and depression ran haywire and I had little to no idea of how to manage them properly. My body image and self-esteem were deeply buried under tons of dirt and negative self-talk.
However, thanks to therapy, the idea was set aside and a plan was never made.
But then, as if the stars above heard my thoughts, I coincidentally got into a bad car accident four days before my eighteenth birthday, which resulted in having my head fly through a side-door car window. I lost consciousness and have no recollection, to this day, of what happened that dreadful night. Was I being taught a lesson? Were the stars trying to tell me something?
Whatever the reasoning was for what happened when it did, that was my wake-up call. I did not want to die, nor was I ready to.
Fast forward 22 years and I’m still here. I’m still going. I’m still pushing through, resisting my anxiety and depression’s attempts in taking me down. I’m fighting the negative self-talk and body shaming.
I’m a survivor. A warrior. A damn strong woman no matter how many times I tell myself I’m weak.
I won’t lie and say that I didn’t make some very bad choices after that incident, because I did. In all honesty, I would go through another ten years or so more of making harmful and self-destructive choices that would eventually spit me out on the other side, to this moment right here.
Since that time when I thought eighteen would never happen, I’ve graduated college and university. I’ve traveled. I’ve lived and worked abroad. I’ve met my soul-mate and married him, bought a house, and had a child. I’m not just living life. I’m thriving.
Being forty may not seem like a big deal to many. In fact, turning forty may even be a hard spot for some. But for me, it reminds me how strong I am. It keeps me in check, pointing out how far I’ve come from being that young woman writing terrible things about herself in her diary. I’ve made it an additional 22 years since my supposed end-of-the-line date.
Aging can be difficult and hard. But it can also be amazing and interesting. It can be beautiful and adventurous.
Well, at forty, I feel beautiful. I feel worth it. I feel free.
Life wasn’t – and isn’t – always simple for me living with crowded voices in my head trying to beat me down. But as I age – each and every year since turning eighteen – I appreciate the second chance I’ve been given.
Cheers to forty!!