This morning I returned from a weekend where eighteen family members (three adopted family members) came to one house to celebrate being together. We ate and ate, practiced some old family traditions (Scol!) and slept anywhere we could that wasn't too damp or lumpy (though this usually changes by morning). It was a beautifully sunny weekend and I felt so much love between all of us as we sat around the fire, enjoyed homemade pies or feasted on paella.
When I got home this afternoon I realized it was once again time to work on the book (which now has a publisher!!) so I left my bag by the door and got to work. I find it important to note that I travel around the country speaking publicly about my story. I share it all the time to audiences of 700+, but I haven't read it in a while. In a little over a year and a half in fact. And I will tell you what, it is hard. Really really hard. And painful.
It is hard to remember, no, let me rephrase, it is hard to read your exact thoughts when you are dealing with the pain of suicidal ideation or the pain of losing friends because of your depression. It is one thing to work through it everyday, which I have gotten much better at doing, but another thing to return to your exact transcripts from the moment of pain.
I remember when we first started playing with thoughts about the book, people would ask us why we would want to revisit so much pain. And I always knew why, I want to teach the people who don't understand and let the ones who do understand know that they are not alone. I knew it would be hard. But I suppose, after a year and a half of not reading it I forgot.
I suppose the thing I am here to say is, I am glad that I spent the weekend with my family. I'm glad that they could remind me of the happiness and joy in my life even when I'm forced to remember the pain. I'm glad to know that when I was in the most painful spots, those points in the book that made me start crying even reading them today, those moments when I never thought anything would ever get better, when I never thought I could enjoy another family event, I'm glad to remember and know that I can be happy. It is possible.
In years past I never thought I would be able to be happy again (happy happy, not manic). And I guess having been relatively stable for so long I must have eased into happiness, because today, having juxtaposed Kirkwood-stravaganza with the really difficult passages from the book I realize that I have the ability to be happy. It's not broken. And I think maybe that is what I'm here to tell you all. Eventually happiness comes back. When you get to the deepest most painful place, the place where people are telling you things will get better and you just want to spit in their face because you know it's a lie, listen.
It takes a long time for all the pieces to settle when your life has been a tornado, but eventually, just as everyone told me it would, it did all come back together. I am happy. I am whole.