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Over the course of the past five years, my life has changed completely from anything I ever consciously imagined. It’s not at every second a happy life, but it’s satisfying because it’s honest. The so-called mistakes are genuine ones I couldn’t have done any better with and brought me to a better place; I am no longer ashamed of the process of learning.

I felt shame and guilt constantly as I colored outside the lines and painted with the wrong color, and then I realized I was creating something new and original rather than following the patterns I’d been ingrained with.  The truth is that even if you live your life trying to follow the instructions, there’s no guarantee of success or happiness, especially if you are ignoring your soul’s call to do it. Life has a way of spilling milk all over your coloring book, so it’s better to grow up and buy an easel and a blank canvas. Then you can call your mistakes art, and you won’t be wrong.

I believed for most of my life that my worth came only from external things, and from my efforts to attain perfection. It got a bit confusing at times to define perfection, and I thought choosing the poison was the only form of originality I deserved. To compensate for this, I fucked up many of the things I thought were most important, and punished myself for the few creative choices I had made when they didn’t turn out as expected, and beat myself for “selling out,” when I did do something that seemed sensible, but the bottomline was that I dissected myself and all my choices down to nothing. I destroyed myself from overanalysis, and fell into depression.

But depression can be a gift. When nothing seems to matter any more, you tend to find out what does matter. When you feel really alone, you spend time with yourself. And though depression can be fatal and can last for far too long, it can and should be a passageway to a more authentic self.

These days, I am not chasing perfection, but performance. Trying to do my best, rather than be the best. Because even in the depths of despair and utmost fuck up, I still have value and worth. And I could only really learn that by losing a lo of things. The cost of his knowledge was very, very hihg, but like all things learned through experience, its true worth is incalculable. To live the rest of my life from this place of really knowing my worth deep down in my bones, it’s freedom. The random price was high, but completely worth it.

And now I want to change my life. Because I feel excited again, and I want to live every day from a place of loving myself. Which means things are going to have to change a lot from my depression. The positive side is that my old self is gone, and is replaced with something real and solid that was always there, only masked, hidden, under years of detritus and social conditioning.

The truth is, that I don’t know if there was another less painful and destructive way.

But I’m happy I made it here, and I decide how the story ends- or rather, continues.

It’s up to me to reflect love for myself in all my daily choices, in the way I speak to myself, in the people I choose to hang out with, in the ideas I let influence me.

With the help of a psychologist, I’ve identified and treated the underlying emotional problems that finally erupted in depression. I felt the whole time like I was struggling and crying for help but no one could see me, but with therapy, someone has, and I am doing much better. There were many hurts that needed to be acknowledged before I could let go of them. They all had a message- I have a right to be here, I feel, I deserve to be me.

What’s next? Life, on my own terms, lived to the fullest.