My first real memories, like the congruent, continuous, make sense and seem-like-real-life ones, are from my late elementary years. My first memories involving emotions are of me sitting in my bedroom, listening to The Marshall Mathers LP, with Stan on repeat. I felt, so seen and so heard and so understood. By Marshall Mathers, (and truly Dido) who told these stories, emotionally (albeit generally by anger) charged, and full of life. I would listen to that disc on repeat, every single day of my eleven or twelve year old life. The existence of this moment in my life was the first key, adult-like, moment of my life that I can remember that I can truly attribute to pruning the development of my own unique person-hood. It drove something straight into my heart and hit my soul in an instant. This stark reality of a memory is why, to this day, I have quite the soft spot for the pre-teens through young adult aged human beings. Gosh, it’s so hard to feel all of that and not know where to put it.

I have always felt a lot. As I am writing this, literally this exact moment, a pang of fear rushed across me. I exited the page, not knowing how to proceed and knew I needed to return to figure out how to do so.

I have a strong believe in my purpose. In my heart of hearts, I know I am here for a reason. I know it’s a really big reason, but for the last couple of years, I’ve really been questioning what that may be. The BIG PICTURE for me doesn’t have many questions surrounding it. I know there is a big purpose, I have faith in that. I trust the process of life and that all of the things that go on within me or surrounding me have their functions. I believe that the universe is working in my favor, that the good I do will not go unnoticed. I honestly believe that one million percent.

But, I look around me and some days I struggle to see selflessness (which I know is totally selfish) in others. I believe that the great things in my life have come to me simply because I try to be kind and gracious, even when I don’t feel like being that way. I often think that all you have to do is work hard whether you want to or not, and be kind, and that will get you further than most.

When I got divorced, I thought that the level of loss I experienced (though a healthy choice for all involved) could never be topped. I felt like my world fell apart and I hit the ground pretty dang hard. I expected that, even though I didn’t know how I would feel exactly. I expected to be sad, to have a time of transition, and so I was open to it and to letting Jesus take the wheel and pray for no more sharp left turns on His part.

—Now, I’d like to pause for effect here, because I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR, and we can’t really forget that. Like ever. I am the strongest, most confident, most in control I have ever been or have ever felt in my entire life and it’s incredibly important to lace this transparency with that sentiment. —

But with that, my heavens my lord, it’s been a rough couple of months friends. I’ve made choices to protect myself, to put my well-being at the forefront of all that I’ve chosen to take on in life, and it hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve felt guilt for placing distance between myself and most people. I’ve felt selfish, rude and void of love. You know, love, like the one thing I have coursing through my entire body in all moments. Many times in life, I’ve felt that my emotions or my love levels have been out of my control. The way I would feel about situations or people felt out of my control. And I didn’t like that. I have never liked that and I still don’t. But now, it’s almost like without my pain, at times it feels like there is no love. No deep, connected, unconditional love.

I’ve always been transparent. I mean, within reason. Whatever I’ve gone through, I’ve worked to share my experiences as a means of love and acceptance. It’s important to me, in this life, that no one feels alone. I never want anyone who feels a lot or who is going through something to feel that they are alone.

So that’s why I’m writing tonight. I yearn to share. I yearn to connect with the world, to be seen, heard, understood, and to be accepted for all that I am and all I may never be. But sometimes, life is hard. You think you have it all under control, and then something (or maybe twelve things) come in your direction and you never expected them. As it goes with life, we can prepare and plan, and the universe will always have its own agenda in mind. Honestly, for that I’m thankful. I may have no idea where I am going in this complex and beautiful life, but I believe something out there certainly does.

I’m still here, still feeling lots of feels, overflowing with a lust for life, and fielding all of the heaviness of life however it feels like testing me that day. And this chapter of life I feel like is never-ending.

So now a pep talk (also to myself)- don’t let anyone or anything win against you with you losing-sometimes you can both "win”- Never take the easier road. Never stifle your spark, or dim your light or prune yourself in a way that is more digestible for others. At the same time, love others with patience at the forefront, knowing that if you truly love them, you will be patient with them as people and with the processes you may be in with them. Be patient and trust. Love will never have an ultimatum or a last chance. That goes for love to others and love to yourself. Be patient with yourself, you sweet, beautiful human. You are doing great. Just look at you. Every experience is an opportunity to grow, and sometimes having all of these trials is just like a free boot camp for life’s next chapter. The world thinks you can handle it, so you’ve gotta pass the tests. Wherever you are, know that there is much beauty to be found, even if it’s not where you wish you were. Be thoughtful and cognizant of how you can improve the lives of those around you, and do it selflessly, just to be helpful.

Love patiently. Act selflessly. Protect you. Decide what you need and do it for maintenance.

Continue to grow in who you are and who you will still become.

Be strong and be bold in who you are right now, your uniqueness is a gift. It is your power and beacon into the world. Be confident in it.

Especially if it started with Marshall Mathers.