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A New Year’s Letter to Myself, on Chronic Pain and Mental Health

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Listen up, you adorable asshole. You deserve to be happy.

Not happy when you get to another milestone. Not happy when you’ve made the people around you happy. Not happy when you are validated by other people.

You deserve to be happy. Right now, this very second.

It doesn’t matter that your body isn’t perfect. It was never going to be perfect. It’s never been perfect and you need to stop pretending that looking a certain way is going to allow you to be happy. You are beautiful. Scars and flaws are what make you special and show the battles you’ve fought to be here today. You are a survivor, don’t forget that.

You deserve all the love that you keep giving to everyone else. You have given it freely your entire life hoping that someone would give you just a crumb of it. You don’t need to do that. You deserve to love yourself. There is no shortage of people in the world and you have access to them from that magic thing called the internet. Don’t waste your joy on people who will never let you fully be yourself. You don’t have to hide pieces of yourself for acceptance.

Chronic pain and mental health issues don’t define you. They are a huge part of you but there is so much  more to you than that.Your worth is based on so much more than your productivity. Those who cannot see that likely miss the best parts of life anyways. It is better to love freely, deeply, and spread passion and kindness than it is to be part of the grind to sustain a meager existence. You are a fucking warrior to an invisible battle and you do it without armor every single day.

You deserve to rest. Your mind never stops and it is exhausting. You see things that most others wouldn’t even think to notice. This is a gift. There is so much beauty that can be noticed this way but you’ll never see it when you are chronically exhausted from simply trying to be normal. You don’t have to sleep when everyone else sleeps and you don’t have to feel guilty for taking a nap. Those who cannot understand this have such a narrow view of the world and you don’t owe them anything.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation. This is your motherfuckin’ life and you get to live it without apologies. This is a huge responsibility because you don’t get to just destroy everyone else to live like this. It requires boundaries and root work. You don’t owe anyone anything except to be the best version of yourself possible and even that isn’t for them. It’s for you. You have earned the right to walk away from things that no longer serve you without guilt or resentment. Move forward and step into what has been waiting for you.

The people you are comparing yourself to are doing the same thing. We are all doing the best we can at any given point with the resources we have. Don’t waste time with jealousy or feelings of inadequacy. Spend your time building up yourself and those you surround yourself with. Choose happiness.

Every year we hear the same posts talking about “New Year, New You” and we also hear the echoes from those who readily dismiss these endeavors. Every year is exciting because it is a reminder to refocus on what we are spending our energy on in life. There’s no shame in personal development or shifting your mindset. It’s something to be celebrated and we can do it anytime we want. Here’s hoping it’s the best year ever. We need hope.


Photo by Aleksandr Ledogorov on Unsplash

Originally published: January 1, 2020
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