Age 28, taken on Rockaway Beach, around 2am.
Gratitude has extraordinary power. I feel it’s the emotion that distinguishes human beings from other animals. Insofar, perhaps our capacity for gratitude is the definition of being human. It is said that gratitude has the strength to evict anger, that anger and thankfulness cannot exist in the same space simultaneously.
I read that theory sometime in my teens. I didn’t actively test it until I was 23, when I was raped. The morning after, following that small, still voice within, I wrote myself a loveletter of gratitude in a black Moleskine I had bought a few months prior but hadn’t cracked open. A letter that began with “Dear Love”, covering the people and qualities in my life that I was grateful for, and the personality traits I was thankful for. The first part of the loveletter came easily. The second part, of identifying and acknowledging parts of myself to admire was difficult. I felt guilty, foolish, and vain for even trying. But the small, still voice insisted, Lean in. Lean into the love and gratitude you deserve to feel for being alive, connected to so many angels, moreover, as the unique creature you are. You and your life are worth feeling grateful for.
Gratitude saves and renews me every day. When inside darkness, the way to light is paved from resilience and thankfulness. The fire and the grace of being human, alive, limitless, capable of courage and ingenuity in the most precarious times, chosen to be precisely as we each are. Gifted with people and qualities hand-picked for our brightest, boldest, bravest expansion.
I’ve found as well that if we search hard enough, gratitude can be found for the most adversarial experiences and dragons. For instance, I would not be the woman I'm proud to be were it not for the wounds I’ve experienced. This for me means complete peace and forgiveness. Every adversity, every dragon is perfect indication that we’re on the right true path of the warrior. Every shadow, an opportunity to hone and raise our roar.
One cannot become a warrior without a war.
For the angels and the dragons, I am so thankful. For you, I am so grateful. Holidays can be hard. You miss him, or her, or the person you think you should have become, the life you think you could have had. Or you tiptoe around family, afraid who you are won't fit with what they wish. Your inner wounded child starts taking its annual stock of the things it perceives as your "failures."
You are perfect. I hope you see the wonder I see so clearly in you. May you remember that you are magic and love manifest.