It means a lot to me that I am genuinely looking forward to my birthday this year because it was only a few short months ago that I deeply and sincerely hoped I would not be around to see my 40th. Not because of the number but because I was in such deep pain that I wanted life to remove me from its equation so that I could finally be free of it. And if life wouldn't do it, I felt quite willing to do it myself.
I have spoken and written candidly about my experience with depression and suicidal thoughts over the years but I didn't want another round of living through these things. I couldn't stand the thought of going through another day, let alone another year, or heaven forbid - another decade or more - of the inner anguish that has driven me to the brink far too many times. I was tired of the ups and the downs. I simply wanted off the ride.
I was not at peace. I was not happy. I wanted out so badly. I felt like a failure and had lost hope that I'd ever truly succeed in my own eyes and on my own terms. And for me, 40 was the cut off point. If life hadn't drastically changed by then, I was out.
Little did I know that life wasn't the problem - my inner landscape was. That's what I needed changed by 40 or else I couldn't go on. I really needed some vision correction ASAP and thankfully, I got it. Praise Allah and The Flying Spaghetti Monster!
November 6th was that marker day for me (read why here) and I do split my life into two parts. Life before that awakening and life after it. Although a million other awakenings have been part of my journey (most of which I've written about), that one really stood out for me and I just don't feel like the Mandy I was before that day.
The darkness lifted. I saw myself correctly. I still see myself correctly.
It's not that everything is perfect (well, it's always as it should be and that in itself is perfection), but I am on my own side now and that's made all the difference in how I move through each day. I still go through challenges but I always have me and I always have immense love and support surrounding me as well.
Life is a much different experience when you no longer feel inadequate, unworthy, unattractive, or unsuccessful. Life is a much richer experience when you embrace your true worth, your ultimate value and your inherent beauty.
I'm in tears at the moment and it's not from sadness. It's pure gratitude that I am still here and that I am glad to still be here. Gratitude that I made it through last year and all the years prior.
I survived myself and that was not easy. I survived all those moments of inner hell and that was not easy. I learned to love and accept myself and that was not easy.
Here I am loving myself more and more each day when I was certain I would not even be alive by this point in my life. Here I am after a super challenging week still feeling proud and amazing for the way I live my life, express my heart and honour myself and others.
Here I am. Still.
Turning 40 is going to mean the world to me.
All my love,
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