All my life, I’ve felt your presence, and, in a way, I’ve always known you, or my version of you.
Until recently, I thought of you as the silver lining in everything, and in every bad situation, I always thought of all the things that were going right to shift my focus on the good. That was my way of coping with all the bad. You were my way of coping with all the bad.
You are the reason I’m still here. I haven’t had an easy life, but, because of you, I’ve managed to survive everything so far, all that life has thrown at me.
I always turned to you.
When my mother abandoned me, I was only a toddler, but I was grateful all the shouting had stopped.
When I was left alone for days at the age of nine, the neighbor who was supposed to check on me saw me dancing by myself and I heard her whisper to her husband, “She’s either crazy or very strong.” I was just grateful for the peace I felt by myself.
When I was eighteen and my best friend told me her life couldn’t get any worse, I listed all the good things she should be grateful for in her life.
When I was drugged and raped at the age of twenty-five, I was grateful I was still alive.
When I became homeless for a few weeks, I was grateful for all the things I still had.
In all my life, I’ve never had a challenge I haven’t attacked or overcome, and it’s always been because of you.
Now, I see you’re so much more than a silver lining…
You are the reason I appreciate all the things, good and bad, that have ever happened to me because they’ve made me who I am.
You are the reason I want to thank every person in my life, not only every person who has done right by me but also every person who has wronged me because they, whether they were a blessing or a lesson, have brought me to where I am.
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to see the real you, but I know I’m grateful.
for having submitted my piece for the anthology,
for having been accepted and published,
for having read the book (Dear Gratitude: An Anthology by Chris Palmore) dedicated to you,
for having had the opportunity to see all the perspectives people have of you,
for having understood the different facets of you I couldn’t understand before.
You have been my best friend all my life, and I will always keep you close.