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The virtue of struggle

Truth be told, I have had a pretty shitty life experience for many of my years on this planet. Far more than I’ve ever really admitted to anyone. It’s not that really terrible things happened to me, although I got myself into some shitty situations for sure. But it’s more that I simply didn’t know how to be. Living was a perpetual struggle for me. Much more, I have learned, than it was for other people.

If life is a sheer cliff face we need to climb, I was there with my clogs and an armful of tennis balls trying to shimmy my way up without dropping anything. I was doing it wrong.

I fucked myself over so many fucking times. I sabotaged my dreams. I gave up on the things that mattered to pursue the things that did not. I cared more about what people would think of me than about what I thought of myself. I remained in toxic situations because I was too scared to leave. I ignored my inner wisdom. I forsook my desires. I hid in places I didn’t belong. And, more times that not, I refused to learn my fucking lesson.

Looking back on it all, as much as I wish I could have struggled better, and saved myself from much unnecessary suffering, I am grateful. The struggle has been integral to my journey of becoming. Learning the skill of struggling has shaped me fundamentally. And as much as I have hurt myself and betrayed myself and lost myself over the years of struggle, I couldn’t posibly relinquish the experience of it all, because it has given me so much more in return. It has given me strength and wisdom that I could not have otherwise gained. And it has given me the ability to forgive myself and heal myself and reclaim myself. I am more resilient and more complete thanks to the struggle.

So when a rogue memory surfaces of some deeply embarrassing thing I did while I was thrashing around trying to hold onto my tennis balls, I try to remind myself I wouldn’t change it if I could.

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