Friday, April 05, 2013

From My Letters of Gratitude: Growth

Last year, I took part in the "Letters of Gratitude" course during which we were tasked to write 30 letters on 30 different topics until we reached a place of thankfulness.  Here is my first "letter."  (Please note, I worked in the jail at the time and no longer do so, as my freelance work has expanded.  Also, I have not edited these letters.  You are reading the originals I wrote last year.)


In the beginning, growth meant physical growth.  I was young—five, six, seven, when I learned I was fat.  I was put on a diet.  I brought weird things to school like cottage cheese and jelly. I told my friends I ate that stuff because I was on Weight Watchers.  Thus began my struggle with food, my painful, teen fasting encouraged by the extreme Catholicism practiced in my home.  Binging, guilt, illness, gaining weight, slimming out when I hit my growth spurt but still feeling fat, wanting to hide my height that made me tower over boys, gaining again, losing again, gaining.  I was bright, funny rebellious, silent, repressed, depressed, especially throughout high school.  Many days, I pulled the covers over my ears and didn’t leave my bed. I could not face the day. 

Scream forward.  I am almost 42.  I have survived abuse, raised a family. I consistently address my depression. I actually earn some money by writing. I teach English in a jail and understand my students, how they got to be where they are, though I was once a victim of violent crime.  

Some days, I sit atop the universe.  Other days, I remind myself to be grateful to handle depression.  It works for the most part.
I do not regret.  Regret is useless.  I am proud of who I am and have grown to work towards recognizing my limitations and celebrating my victories.  I am, indeed, victorious.
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