This post may be a bit more tangental and rambly than my usual, which is saying something... but here it is:
There's something very common to survivors. A few things, really, and these thoughts came to me while I was reminiscing about tales past and possibilities to come. Survivors tend to be tough sons of bitches in many regards, yet still carry a good variety of flaws and scars. They have empathy for miles, as they know what suffering and overcoming are, but they are also quick (at times too quick) to slam shut doors. Most importantly, survivors tend to put hope aside, they focus on breathing, they focus on walking, they hit the monsters in their heads and in their hearts with sticks, and the just focus on getting through the day.
Surviving becomes the mode du jour. It is not easy to get kicked into survival mode, but it is even harder to get out of it. I've only recently come to realize that while, for the most part, I've been pretty happy lately that I still have a ton of distance left to go. I spend most of my days smiling, or at least with a neutral expression while I work, instead of bearing a faint scowl or eyes mildly fattened from tears the night before. I've sat around contemplating this while doing my zen mudding techniques, and I've determined that the reason is that I'm starting to recognize once again that I'm worth being happy about. I'm a pretty damn cool guy. I've done some damn cool things. I know some damn cool people. I've saved friends lives, I've stitched up wounds, I've danced in snow, and rain, and sunshine. I've taken 8 hour road trips that have changed my life, and I've gotten lost in inner city forest parks. I've lived in more states than most south of the bible belt can easily name, and I am ceaselessly amazed by the new things I discover in a place even when I've lived there for years.
At some point I started to believe again, and not just breathe. I think it happened for no attached reason. It was at New Years, and I was surrounded by a ton of cool people I didn't know, and the two people that had invited me over. I was sitting in a crowd of geeks, feeling mildly alienated and out of sorts, when I looked up into one of the most beatific smiles I've seen, and I realized that it didn't matter how I felt inside to the person who wore that smile... she was simply happy that I was there, and by being there, I was making her night better. I started to believe not that I would be happy again, but that I was worth being happy about... and that's an important distinction. If you believe you'll be happy again, well, honestly, what's the point? Of course you'll be happy again. At some point someone will tell a joke that will make you laugh. BOOM, happy. Great. Woohoo. What now? Oh crap, life is still life. Do you give up believing? Do you make it in to a Journey song and decide not to stop? Does that moment of happy diminish your self worth because you expected more, or for it to last, or something twisted like that? Believing you will be happy again is, in my opinion, kind of fucked up and demeaning to yourself.
However, believing that you're worth being happy about. Now there's some potential. You're awesome, I don't give a fuck who you are, you've done some cool shit. Even some of the people who have injured me the worst in my life are still people worth understanding, if only to truly understand why they did what they did. Everyone in life should understand that they are worth being happy about. Everyone should have an essential understanding in their core that they, on some level, can improve someone else's life or bring someone else joy simply by being there and letting themselves be understood, and by doing that they would help alleviate some of the ever present pain and fucked uppedness of the world.
Anyway, I'm doing good. I hope you are too. You deserve it... no matter who you are, or what you're doing, or why you're reading this, I hope you're doing good, and that you're smiling.