So, today is my first day outside the gratitude challenge genre for a while. Well, it’s not really a genre, but then, this is my blog, so I guess it’s good enough. In any case, my entry for tonight is one that has been on my mind for the last few days; I almost mentioned it last night in my epilogue, but I felt it would be better suited for tonight.
I was thinking of a quote the other day, and when I looked it up, it turns out to have been a quote by Ernest Hemingway. Now, I’ve never been an Ernest Hemingway fan; I’m much more interested in medieval literature. But I do like some of his ideas, particularly the one espoused in this quote. It is from A Farewell to Arms, and it is as follows: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
I know that I have been broken. Depression broke me on its wheel at least twice. I didn’t learn enough from the first time, and those lessons unlearned led to the second. But, as terrible, and painful, as those experiences were, they did not kill me – and they could have, easily. They could have broken those around me, as well, because I never gave enough thought to what my actions meant for them – I was too caught up in my own nightmare to see theirs.
But like the quote says, afterwards many are strong in the broken places. Depression was what broke me, and over the last six months, through pain and heartbreak, guilt and anger, repression and remorse (and a metric f***-ton of treatment), I have become a stronger person. If you had asked me in February if I thought I would be living in Houston, looking for a job, living on my own for the first time in my life, I… well, I wouldn’t have laughed in your face, but I would have given you one of these:
The idea that I would be doing such a thing was so far from my mind, such a foreign idea, that it would never have occurred to me. I didn’t think I was capable of living on my own, let alone moving to another place I didn’t know. I never would have considered Houston – it’s such a hot, humid place, and I am such a creature of polar climes, that I would have thought it crazy.
And yet, I have formed my own kind of community here. Well, not mine so much as one I am a part of. I have friends that I love and care about here, more than I ever would have thought possible. I have a support network of like-minded people, people with similar problems, and people willing to help me deal with the problems I have. It’s still a new and intimidating place to live, certainly; I dread learning to drive around here, and an apartment of my own will be a challenge.
I guess what I am trying to say is that life hurts. It can pull you inside out at times, especially if you aren’t paying attention to what is going on inside your head. It can break you, and it can kill you; there has been at least one case of that since I arrived at the step-down. But if you break, that isn’t the end. Even if you’re broken, you can be put back together – hell, you can put yourself back together – and become stronger than you were. You just can’t give up. Life will, eventually, kill us all; nobody gets out alive, after all. But we have some choice as to how and when we leave it. Don’t give up hope if you’re broken. Broken isn’t dead, and hope can save your life.
Hell, it saved mine.
(Don’t worry if you’re crying, I am, too.)