Another amazing post from Candice Roe. Missed her first post? Check it out here!
Today, I sat down and thought of all the unfortunate episodes that have played through my life story. Beginning with my teenage years, I made a list of all the things I could remember that were an unpleasant experience in my life and wrote them in chronological order. When I had finished writing, I stared at my list. She died. He died. This happened. He left. I left.
It was a big mess. As I reread the list, I closed my eyes and dedicated a moment to remember each occasion. I found that I actually could not remember as much as I thought I would be able to about these so-called bad things that had happened. Regardless, I searched for a feeling to attach to each bullet-point on my list. I wrote down feelings of sadness, anger, desperation, and even a little regret was noted next to a few points.
At the end of my list, with feelings attached to each occasion, I wanted to write a simple sentence to encapsulate the entire list. I struggled trying to find a way to connect all the events to the person I am today and even though some of the things that happened seemed so foreign and far away, I still needed to let go of everything negative I had experienced. For me, letting it go began with writing it down. In the end, I could only come up with one sentence to put everything into words: I survived.
Seeing the words on the page next to every event in my life that I thought was unfortunate felt freeing. I had thought the words before, but today I read them. I saw them and I read them aloud. I survived all of that. Reading through the list for a third time and seeing those two words at the very end of the page left me feeling free and hopeful for anything else that may come my way.
It was in this moment that I realized all of the things I was thankful for and how much good I had in my life, regardless of my list. Immediately, I made a new list: good things and happy things in my life. Needless to say, the new list was so much more abundant in occasions and feelings than any other list I could compile. My life had so much joy and love in it that my “bad list” could not compare to the length of my “good list” and no event that I had deemed bad could overtake anything that was noted as joyful and pleasant.
Sometimes the stress and anxiety makes me feel like I am being held under water and I just cannot catch my breath, but it is then that I have to think of my good list. I let the feelings that were next to each good point take over my stress and let it all go. I remember that I am loved and that my life is important. Most of all, I remember that no matter what is happening in my life I will be able to look back on it and say, I survived.