At times I feel bad when I read about other women whose struggles seem much tougher than mine. There are women who have lost their child and their husband within months of each other. There are mothers whose husbands have murdered their children. There are women who’ve been raped and women paralysed from the neck down after a freak car accident. My self-indulgent nonsense about my body image and my issues with going to a gym seem so pathetic at times.
Not only do I feel like my struggles are small by comparison but I feel guilty for the happiness in my life. I’ve never been homeless, I’ve never been beaten and I’ve never believed life wasn’t worth waking up for.
In our lives we experience both suffering and joy and all of the grayscale between. Although most of us agree that no-one deserves the bad things that happen to others and to us, we also find ourselves wanting to believe that we need to deserve happiness.
In reality, we don’t deserve any of it. If it’s true that we don’t deserve the pain, then we don’t deserve the good things either. There is no giant balance sheet measuring out how much of each we get to experience. Shit happens — good fortune happens — it’s all a part of the circumstances that make up a well-lived existence.
The things we have no control over – both the good and the bad – give us the opportunity to reveal our true character. We can resist both suffering and joy and feel like nothing is the way it should be. Or we can be grateful for all of it.
I’m grateful I have a man who loves me. I’m grateful suicide destroyed everything I thought I believed.
I don’t deserve any of it. And neither do you.
My pain cannot be measured against yours and neither can my happiness. I’ve been lucky and unlucky.
Because I’ve lived.
Today is a good day, because I’ve smiled, walked, breathed and remembered. I don’t deserve any of it but that won’t stop me being fucking grateful for every single moment I have — good and bad.
I’ll take it all, feel it all and share it all. I’ll reach out my hand to help you when you need it and I’ll let you guide me when I’m lost in the dark.
We’re all in this together and we’re never alone. And I’m thankful for that too.