Last weekend, as Dan and I took ourselves out for lunch at Panera bread, there was a woman sitting at the table beside us. She was on her own, drinking a big foamy latte and slowly munching away at a big, delicious, sugary muffin. She was reading some sort of self-learning book. She was just sitting there. Enjoying herself. Relaxing. Reading. Completely on her own in the mid afternoon.
A couple days later, I was walking on the treadmill. Up stepped a young woman onto the machine beside me. She set herself up at a leisurely walking pace, put in her ear phones, and began to dance. Well, walk and dance I suppose. Walk, dance AND rap away to her heart’s content. Arms flailing. Voice free. Eyes closed. Every lyric memorized. Everything around her just disappeared. She didn’t care. She was there for herself and was doing what made her happy.
And then this morning, about 9 AM, I saw a middle aged woman sitting outside on a picnic table with a take out coffee. By herself. Slowly sipping and writing in a notebook, a slight smile on her face. It was the first day in months where we’ve had nice enough weather to even consider doing this. And she was taking full advantage of it. Coat wrapped tight, but enjoying every moment of the near-spring like feeling in the air.
Tonight, Dan and I were texting and somehow got on the subject of childhood cereals (and how neither of us were fans, except for maybe a specific few). I suddenly then remembered how, in the hospital, we would have cereal every Wednesday. And how I always asked for Corn Pops. I loved corn pops.
I love corn pops.
It’s been almost precisely three years since I left that hospital. Three years since I was discharged, and three and a half years since I first entered. I lived there for six months. I still can’t really believe that.
And now, here I am, almost graduated from a theatre program I never thought I’d be in, and I have an audition in one week for my ultimate dream.
My mental illness is still with me each day. I still have to fight. I still have many things to learn and change. But I know this for certain…
I am not that girl who stood out in the dark hospital hallway at 6 in the morning, before the rest of the ward awoke, and waited quietly for another patient to finish using the communal shower. I’m not the girl who only got to see my parents when they got buzzed in through the 6th floor doors, and sat supportedly in my hospital bedroom.
I may still be the same girl that loves corn pops, but it’s crazy to think how far that girl has come.
So to the woman taking herself out for a latte and muffin… to the girl dancing like nobody’s watching… to the woman relishing each solitary sip of coffee in the near spring air…. and to me…. I say
You go girl.
Do your thing.
Know how far you’ve come.
And keep seeing the beautiful things in each day.
Like all the women who walked in the Womens’ March last week showed us.
I wrote this post tonight because I simply got the urge to sit down and write (a little Thinking Out Loud with Amanda, perhaps?). It wasn’t until I had finished that I realized today was #BellLet’sTalk day. Wow. Now I think that’s what we call synchronicity (speaking of beautiful things…).
To anyone struggling with mental illness…
I don’t think it matters where you’ve been. I think all that matters is where you are fighting to be.Be you. Be proud. See the beautiful things. Live the beautiful moments. #BellLetsTalk #happiness… Click To Tweet
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