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Being in this world is piercingly beautiful and furiously hard.

The hardness can come from the outside, and I am lucky enough to not know too much about that. The hardness from within, though, I know on a deep level.  It is and has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  I’m still not certain of what to call it-depression, anxiety, eating disorder, self harm-all these Big Words that characterize symptoms I’ve had but hardly sum up the struggle of extreme sensitivity and intense emotions.  I am sure that it has to do with who I am at my core, how my Brain interprets things-these things are always with me.

I’m also sure, though, that the hardness is the beauty.

There are times when I am so full of hardness that I sink-when I get so angry, so sad, so afraid, that my Brain is the way it is.  I don’t want to feel so deeply, I don’t want to think about everything to the extent that I can’t sleep, I don’t want to be someone that other people experience as “too much.”  It’s a slow kind of drowning, where I can look up and see the bubbles from my nose rising towards the water’s surface and am aware of every breath I can’t take.

But there moments when I resurface, when I am aware and grateful for what those intense emotions allow me to do-care fiercely about those around me, have empathy for people in pain, work fervently and passionately on things that I value.  It’s why I am moved to tears by poetry, why I laugh until I almost wet myself when I watch cat videos on YouTube, why I put songs that resonate on repeat for days.  I feel everything all the way

One of my favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird; my copy is worn and coffee stained from the amount of times I’ve read it, my cats are named after the two main characters, and I have a quote from the story tattooed on my wrist: begin anyway.

I love those two words paired together because they conjure up hope and newness with the acknowledgment of fear and hesitation.  To begin anyway is to dive purposely into the beauty and the hardness.  It is to continue to fight when everything seems pointless and I long for a different Brain.  It is to hold those moments when I experience intense joy up to the light and say thank you for my Brain.

And, on this Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day, it is to be grateful that my Brain is conscious, that I am typing these words and allowing the flow of joy and sadness to rise and fall within me.  Every moment is the opportunity to begin anyway-thank God I am here to do it.