…It's funny. The things you try to forget are the things that stay with you the longest. All those memories that make you hate yourself, all those embarrassing moments that can still make you nauseous years later, all those phrases you wish had never left your mouth in a moment of pure rage, and of course all the heartache. You struggle to push those thoughts away as they gradually, almost lovingly, wrap themselves around your hippocampus. Searching for that firm hold, then once they have it infiltrating every corner and seeping through every crack. Corrupting whatever inspiration of happiness that you held dear that they can find and trying as hard as they can to bring every single fiber of you crashing to the ground. Using your own experiences against you in an attempt to make you give up. Some people do give up. I won't lie, I almost gave up. I had my dark thoughts. But I am nothing if not fucking resilient. You see I've had my hopes and desires torn from me. I've had my heart broken time and time again. I've dealt with pain. Oh yes. I've seen evil at the molecular level in cancer and watched it slowly steal the life of someone I love until there was nothing left. I've been there. I used to try to shake those thoughts loose. I used to force myself into pretending to have fun with friends as a distraction. I used to get through my days by grabbing those memories by the fucking throat and holding them under a sea of alcohol until they faded into nothingness. My sole purpose became to drink and fuck my way through every party into that inevitable/better tomorrow. If I couldn't feel good about myself and my life emotionally I at least knew how to make myself feel good physically…and fuck if I wasn't good at it. Didn't matter though. They were temporary measures. Some people act like you can stay intoxicated 24/7 to escape your problems, that you can fuck and moan and cum repeatedly until that pain magically floats away but that moment of clarity will find you and when it finally does, dragging all that baggage along with it, you will feel lost all over again. I promise you that. You can only run away for so long no matter how far you choose to fall down that particular rabbit hole. Understand that. My point though is that the damage felt like it was done. The things I tried to occupy my time with stopped helping. I remember sitting up in bed at 4 in the morning unable to fall asleep. I was next to this girl who absolutely adored me and she just looked completely content in her rest. I remember that she had smiled at me before she fell asleep. She was honestly just happy at the fact that she had made it into my bed that night. She took comfort in the fact that I hadn't ended up with someone else like I did from time to time or decided to push her away because I needed to be alone. I knew that I had nothing left emotionally to offer her what she really wanted and I knew that even though I had told her that explicitly before hand that she still might get hurt as a result of my actions. I didn't like the way that felt. I didn't like thinking that my inability to move past my trials and tribulations could bring pain to others. Yes I had lost. Yes others had hurt me. But what did that have to do with anyone else? It couldn't be my destiny to take in pain and then spread it out accordingly to those I met. This pain could not be endless. I grabbed my cigarettes and lit my last one, crumbling the pack and tossing it to the side. Sitting there in silence, twirling my addiction in my right hand, and thinking about my life, I knew things had to change. I was meant for more than this. I steeled my gaze, took one last big puff, exhaled, and put my cigarette out. As I laid back down and watched the smoke dance above me I had this thought that it almost felt like I exhaled everything negative in me along with it. I had to change. I couldn't let my life become constant numbness or misery. What kind of fucking options are those anyway? No. No more. Fuck pain. Whatever. So I couldn't forget what happened? I couldn't push it away? I couldn't mask it any longer with alcohol, drugs, or sex? I couldn't hop in a goddamn DeLorean and stop this shit from tearing apart my life? Fine. That was fine. You want me to face it? You got it. I decided to take all that shit that made me hurt in and incorporate it into myself. I recalled every moment of pain and loss and I faced it head on. I couldn't reshape my life into what I wanted but I could get past all the shit that continued to bring me down. I could be thankful for the love that my family and friends showered me with daily. I could appreciate the things in my life that I still had. No more blacking out on unnecessary amounts of alcohol. No more one night stands for the sake of distraction. No more guarding myself from life in an attempt to prevent further hurt. I had to be better and I knew I could be. I fell asleep and for the first time in forever it was peaceful. I woke up with a smile ready to fully participate in life again. Yes, I knew I would be hurt again in some way somehow down the line, life tends to stick it to you that way, but I refused to let myself dwell on that. Life is full of pain but that's not all there is to it, there is so much good in the world and life can still be beautiful if you allow that beauty into your heart. My heart is open.