At 24, I’m Realizing My Struggle Is A Gift


“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ―Mary Oliver

It’s taken me 24 years to notice I have sweaty palms and frizzy hair. That I talk too much. That often, I interrupt people by accident. Strangers make me bold, while social situations make me nervous.

Some days I can talk for hours about metaphysics and fine art and others I struggle to concisely indicate where one sentence begins and the other ends. My confidence devours itself alive before those who think they know me best, switching on again like a light switch before those who I presume value it most.

It’s taken 24 years for me to learn how to do my makeup like a grown woman. To have true passion for the work I do. To finally stand my ground against abusers and toxic loved ones.

To want to learn self-love in order to love others from a place of spiritual goodness.

I never really noticed the way ideas jump in and out of my head like a popcorn machine bubbling over, just waiting to be caught before they vanish into thin air forever.

I never really noticed the cancer that anxiety had become in my life.

It’s taken me 24 years to even begin to understand who I truly am as a woman, but also as a human. Let alone the anxiety and depression I have struggled with since I was too young to understand it.

It’s taken this long for me to realize that sometimes the things we shy away from are what catalyze our healing the most. And sometimes a little self awareness with a gentle heart is the most beautiful damn thing you’ll ever have.

I never wanted you to see this side of me, you see. Perhaps, that’s why I keep more acquaintances than friends, coasting in conversation — avoiding small talk unless the room is left without a voice.

I am not interested in wasting time on relationships that lack depth. My state of mind is not one armored for the faint of heart, despite desperate efforts to hone a gentler touch and a softer mind, convincing myself day after day that I’m not hard to love.

It’s not something I can turn off like a switch.

My mental illness is not a score of shame. My survival is a battle scar.

Prolific. Courageous. Perfectly imperfect.

Flowers with distorted petals are often most precious to a seasoned eye.

It’s taken me 24 years to realize that my struggle is a gift. And my voice is its vessel.

Sometimes our more painful memories can be the most gorgeous sources of light, radiating exactly what we needed all along.