This is my first valid attempt to write something that doesn’t make you want to crawl in bed and cry. When I was in my adolescence, poetry was an outlet for my depression and almost all of what I wrote in my journals was extremely gloomy. I even prefaced a collection of my poems by stating: “You’ll never understand these words until you’ve hated yourself and everything you know.” I became quite adept at crafting my life in words, and I wrote some worthy poetry in my depressed state. However, this unfortunately lead me to feel as though my serene and blissful feelings (and yes, I did have many) weren’t as poetically valid as my dark ones since they didn’t yield the same creative results. I therefore never really learned how to embrace optimism in writing because contentment equaled boredom in my opinion. It’s a shame, really, to have lived a life that was as filled with elation as it was with melancholy, and only find words to describe the latter.
So here begins my journey anew; a life in which the sound of my laughter can heal, my pen does not drip only pain, and a minor setback doesn’t need to become a 3-page dissertation on the futility of faith. Instead of pessimism or optimism, I will choose realism and let the cards fall where they may. It’s important to write about (and experience) joy and hope, just as it’s important to acknowledge the shadows sometimes; focusing on one often highlights the existence of the other.
In order to move forward, though, there is one matter that must be addressed. I do so not to shock or elicit sympathy, but to simply establish the framework from which I write. I have a genetic disease called cystic fibrosis that affects many areas of my body, but for me it’s mostly my lungs that are the problem. CF will shorten my life, but there are treatments and medications that are available to me to keep myself as healthy as possible until there is a cure. (And there WILL be a cure!) As one might imagine, I have some coping issues because the myriad things I cannot do and will never be able to do is, frankly, pretty shitty. My depression stems mostly from having cystic fibrosis, so I might be tempted to say that life without CF would be damn near perfect. However, I often think that my life is as great as it is partly because of my CF, not in spite of it. I don’t mean to trivialize my disease, though, because it is a hardship that few can understand. It reaches its ugly fingers into every aspect of my life, so in order to understand where I’m coming from, you must know where I’ve been. So please follow me on this new adventure as I better learn who I am, what I can give to the world, and how to catch my breath.