I was driving to work today on this sweater-weather-y day watching the leaves rain down from the trees and listening to Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” (which to me is the closest thing to Christmas music-feels in a song that can be appropriately played all year long), and I was overcome with a feeling. A feeling of being—in that moment—so marvelously myself. And it was good.
Before this year, I spent a long time letting moments like this pass me by—the warm breezes, the tiny cotton ball clouds in the sky, the first bite of soft serve ice cream, the laughs that make your cheeks ache and your eyes water. The things I loved about myself had progressively disintegrated—my positivity, my wit, my creativity—the things that made me feel most myself. I’d slowly stopped singing in the shower, having conversations out loud with myself in the car, being the first to crack jokes, painting for pleasure, writing to express my deep love for life. It happened in silence, in pieces, bit by bit, and I never noticed those pieces of me were gone until they returned.
It’s been like waking up to a full, immersive view of the world after seeing with tunnel vision for years. It had been so long since I’d seen the world without a dark cloud over my head that I couldn’t remember how or when the cloud had even appeared. Years of anxiety and depression that I realize now stemmed from hormonal imbalances caused by infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy, postpartum depression, and years of medications, shots, and procedures. I was on a raging rollercoaster of emotions that had been brought to an abrupt halt at the birth of our newest daughter, and the moment I held her in my arms, everything went still.
I’ve had a hard time articulating what a miracle this moment was—holding our baby girl in my arms for the first time and feeling—and feeling—I felt everything I’d been unable to feel for so long. I’d been numb before her, pulled down farther and farther with each hit of hormonal hell—I’d stopped fighting it and accepted the fact that it would be my life forever. So much dread and guilt—yearning to just be—to be here and present and alive—for our precious daughters. For my husband and the family we’d fought long and hard for. I held our baby girl in my arms for the first time and I was me again.
My life had been consumed by the fight—against infertility, miscarriage, anxiety, and depression—and I did what I had to do to get by one day at a time. I still wrote, I still painted, I still created, but everything was tinted with traces of my pain and grief, and these traces also tinted the world around me. My world, so rich and bright with beauty that I could not fully see. Until now.
There is so much beauty here. In this world. In this moment. In this lifetime. I can hear the birds sing in the early morning as I’m up before the sun feeding my baby and I know there is something wonderful waiting for me. I can drive with my windows down and the music up and feel it all—the tiny joys of life that surround us everyday. I can close my eyes and picture the precious faces of my two miracle daughters, I can sit back and think of all the perfect moments I’ve spent surrounded by family and friends, I can marvel at the way the sun shines through the holes in the clouds on my drive home from work, I can love the life I live for both the good times that brought me light even through the darkness, and the bad times that brought me an ability to appreciate the good ones even more. I still bear the scars that remain from walking through storms, but I bear them with love for myself, as I thank God for healing and resilience. I recognize that my life is good. It is so good.
This is what I want to remember about myself in this moment on God’s exquisite earth. No matter what lies ahead or what storms I may face in the future. This is what I want my life to reflect—the endless possibilities for light and love in this lifetime. The energy of feeling alive and the humor of what it means to be human. No matter where you are on this crazy journey of life, these things still exist. They are still here. They are still good. Keep seeking. Keep fighting. Hold on tight to those things that make you feel—and feel—and someday, you will feel alive again.
Today, I feel alive. And I say to myself: welcome back.