Kudos to Kelly Clarkson’s songs for inspiring me.
There were so many things that I wanted to blog about this week. Yes, I’m that kind of person who can’t go anywhere without a notebook (or Evernote, if I must be parted from my beloved Moleskine for some reason).
No, I did not close my eyes and point to a topic on my ever-growing list of topics before churning out a blog post (although I am debating doing that at some point).
But I decided to combine a few topics and put them under an umbrella, and talk about gratitude again.
Chiara De Blasio’s recent article on XO Jane really got the cogs turning for me. Because I was in her shoes. On my bad days, I would say that I still am.
I had everything that so many people wish for. Clean water, clothes, food, a bed at night, an education. And I was taking it for granted. I was selfish. I was ungrateful.
I couldn’t recognize how rich I was, how fortunate I was.
I’m in a better place now, but that doesn’t mean that I never have bad days; everyone does.
Even when some friends catch me on a bad day, they don’t really believe that I still deal with many of the issues that I tell them that I dealt with. In their minds, it’s been over a decade. A decade should be plenty of time right? Get up, dust yourself off, move on.
In the past, people have called me selfish, thought that I was seeking attention.
I’m here to give them a big (hopefully very loud) wake up call.
These conditions are not picky. It’s not like someone decides, “This person is going to get X, this person is going to get Y, and this person is going to Z.”
People who have these conditions are not selfish. Our brains just work differently. Sometimes we go to these dark places because it’s the only way we know how to cope with the world. It’s hard to be grateful for what we have, to even see what we have when we feel like the world is out to get us.
The world can feel very unsafe for us sometimes. I know that as a victim of bullying, I felt unsafe in school. It didn’t matter if I was eating lunch, in class, laughing with friends. I still felt unsafe.
I don’t think people who deal with mental illness are selfish. They’re warriors. They’re dealing with life the best way they can, with the tools they have, just like the next person. Sure, the tools may be a little different, a little unorthodox, but they’re still trying to live, trying to survive.
Some would say that they’re just not seeing the big picture. I was told thousands of times that I wasn’t seeing the big picture, that being detail-oriented was a bad thing, that I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.
Were they right?
But sometimes what you say to someone doesn’t register. The things you say to them aren’t interpreted the way you intend them to. Sometimes we need events to remind ourselves not to take things for granted.
It’s sad to know that it takes the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls or a local fire to remind us to be grateful, to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have the most basic of things. But this is the world we live in.
The best part is, we can change it.
We can help turn this world into a place where girls from all over the world are given the gift of an education. We can work to make this society a place where human trafficking victims’ stories can be heard, a place where the stigma of mental illness is no longer taboo.
What are you grateful for? What sorts of changes would you like to see in the world?
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