Today I read a memoir piece in my writing workshop that wasn’t about living with depression (surprise!). It was about – undoubtedly a likely contributor to my depression – my father and growing up in his scary, drunken shadow. It was yet another example of my life the shit show.
After the workshop was over and I was leaving, Spike said to me, “I’m sorry your life was so shitty,” because most of what I write and read is super depressing, whether it’s from my adulthood or my childhood. (What can I say, that’s what I have to work with). I laughed and said that I actually have lots of happy events in my life, although I never seem to reference them in workshop.
While I was driving home, I thought more about what Spike said to me. I came to the conclusion that while I wouldn’t wish many of the experiences that I’ve had on anyone, I am grateful that these experiences are mine, and I own them, because If I hadn’t lived through all this life shit show, through the really tough stuff, I would not be who I am now. I wouldn’t be in a writing workshop. I wouldn’t have this blog. I would be married to a wonderful man and have three amazing kids. I wouldn’t be challenged to be stronger, healthier, and resilient.
My life is what it is right now, because I endured the shit show that came before. I made it through to the other side, though many times I didn’t want to and many times it seemed like I might not. I have thus far endured the challenges life has given me, and the challenges that I’ve created through my own poor choices, and here I am. A better person. A more evolved person. A changed person.
I liken making it through the life shit show to running marathons. The hardest one, my most recent marathon in Asheville, was the one I am most proud of. My time was slow, I was sick afterward for an entire day (thanks, Mommy, for going to the CVS to buy me Pedialyte), but I did not give up. I didn’t stop to walk. I didn’t say, “Enough, I quit,” although it did enter my mind on occasion. I kept going. I kept putting one foot forward in front of the other, as slow and painful as it was in the moment, through snow then rain then slush then mud, and I finished that race.
And that is how the life shit show is. It throws these hardballs at you. Some of us are lucky to only be hit once or twice in our lives. But most of us get hit several times. And then, there are people like me who, it seems, take a real beating.
The hardballs knock you off your feet. While you nurse your wounds, you wonder, will I ever get better? Will I ever recover from this?
The short answer is yes. You will get better. And the life shit show will eventually get better. If you persevere, you will either grow in the broken places or you will have scars to remind you of all that you lived through.
My life has been a shit show, it’s true. But I wouldn’t change it, because I found strength I didn’t know I had, and I carried on.