It is unbelievably difficult sometimes to not subscribe to the mindset that my life sucks. Sometimes from the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep there is an ongoing battle in my mind between giving up or fighting. My brain plays a never-ending loop of that voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough. It constantly reminds me of the fact that my family didn’t want me anymore because I’m gay. It replays the time the girl I moved across the country for left me because I needed to learn to make myself happy and take care of myself. It tells me that I have no friends and no family and nobody that loves me. It puts thoughts in my head that nobody would even notice if anything happened to me. It tells me that if I would have been better or more worthy or smarter or more normal things would have been easier.

I have spent the last year making decisions for myself to “be happy.” I came out of the closet to my family knowing full and well we wouldn’t have a relationship after that. But hey, I need to come clean to be happy. I hurt all the time. But I got the opportunity to completely start fresh and mold myself into who I wanted to be. I made the decision to move across the country to be with the woman I love. I didn’t have anything to lose coming here. I already didn’t have a home anymore and thought maybe I would find that here. I packed up as much as I could in my beat up Grand AM and my dog and I drove 14 hours overnight because I felt like choosing myself and going for what I wanted would fix everything. I’ve now been here since August and my life is as confusing as ever. I went broke because I couldn’t find a job fast enough when I got here. My wallet got stolen with my license and social security card (because I had been traveling and had nowhere else to put it) and I didn’t have a copy of my birth certificate. I couldn’t start working because I had no government identification but I couldn’t get my government identification without money and I couldn’t get money without working. I was scrounging around in my car for enough change to be able to buy a pack of Ramen noodles from Dollar General because I knew that would give me the most meals for my $1. I finally had to borrow enough money from an ex to be able to get a copy of my birth certificate shipped to me from Texas but then they required a release form to be notarized in order to be able to give out my information. If you’ve ever had anything notarized, you know that you have to provide government documentation for them to confirm your identity. Nobody would notarize my release form without proof of my identification but the whole purpose of me getting the form was so I could get government documentation. I couldn’t get a new driver’s license because my license was from Colorado and they wouldn’t send it without me coming to the DMV in person which I couldn’t do because I now lived across the country and had no money to even eat much less fly or drive from Florida to Colorado.

I felt like I was in a cycle that wouldn’t end and felt like there was no way out. I didn’t see any solutions no matter how hard I tried to think. I finally swallowed my pride and asked for help and sometimes wouldn’t even get a response. In the midst of everything, however, I had some really fucking beautiful moments. There were the friends who couldn’t afford to do much but would order me a large pizza so that I could have leftovers to eat. There was the ex that checked up on me to make sure I was okay after moving and ended up helping me pay for my birth certificate. There was the girl that I had moved here for that even though we couldn’t make our relationship work, would let me vent and cry and complain and constantly reminded me that she loved me and she would care if I was gone. There was the time we evacuated from Hurricane Irma together and we stopped at every waterfall on the way from here to Nashville and she it reminded me that my problems were so much smaller in the grand scheme of things than I thought and that no matter how bad it got, there were still beautiful things to live for. There was a roommate that I barely knew helping cover my rent until I got a job and never making me feel even more ashamed than I already was. There was a weekend camping next to a river up in the mountains of Georgia with no cell service and going star gazing on the top of a mountain in the middle of the night. There was the time that I broke down sobbing in the middle of Bank of America because I couldn’t get my stuff notarized that led to the kindness of a stranger sending me to a sketchy place that would notarize my form without the identification that ultimately got me my birth certificate and eventually a job. There was the kindness of brand new friends that filled up my tank so I could get to work. There was the empathy of a someone that was basically a stranger before this point that spent the night facetiming me on my birthday so I didn’t have to be drinking wine alone. The were the friends that checked up on me and reminded me that they were thinking of me and had no idea just how much even a text to me meant or that just telling me they missed me or cared was saving my life.

This year has been the hardest year of my life. I have been convinced that I had hit rock bottom only to sink down even lower over and over again. This isn’t meant to get pity or have anyone feel sorry for me. I have said all of this to say this- no matter how dark things seem to be LOOK TO THE LIGHT. There is ALWAYS a silver lining. There are always those moments of beauty and love even from stranger to look forward to. There is always something worth fighting for. I know that it is hard. If you have that voice that tells you all the things that you aren’t, look for the even bigger voice that tells you what you are which is STRONG and WORTHY and BEAUTIFUL and SPECIAL. I know what it feels like to feel hopeless or worthless but you are amazing and incredible and there is so much beauty within you that the world needs to see. Your success rate of getting through shit so far has been 100%. I think that’s a pretty damn good track record. You have gotten through obstacles every single time in your life. Just keep pushing. I know that it is exhausting and I feel it too. I am so exhausted from trying so hard and I’m tired of the hurt too. But I can promise you this- if you keep fighting you won’t regret it. Focus on those beautiful people and experiences in your life that bring you joy. The reward is so worth the journey. There is ALWAYS love to be found. Don’t stop fighting and don’t stop looking for it. You are worthy and deserving of love and I promise you that it will come in the most unlikely of places. Take time for yourself and doing the things that bring you joy. Don’t forget to breathe and soak up some sun and take care of yourself because you are worth it.

Be kind to others, the earth, yourself, and your body. YOU ARE WORTH IT. Keep your chin up and keep fighting. I promise you that no matter how bad things seem, it will work out. If there was a boxer that won 100% of the times they fought you would think that’s a pretty damn good boxer right? That boxer is you. You have made it through 100% of the trials you’ve been put through. You may have some scratches and bruises and scars, but you made it through every single time. And you can keep making it. I am 100% confident that you will make it. The outcome may not be what you thought it would be, but you did it. So keep doing it and keep keeping on. I promise you can do it if you keep fighting. You’re a fighter.