Twenty Things

I saw a post the other day that basically made the point that today has been the best day of someone’s life so tomorrow might be the best day of yours. Coincidentally, it’s also five years to the day since I made the biggest, hardest decision of my life and began to eat and drink again after a long – the longest and worse – period of trying my best to destroy everything.

There’s part of me always wonders whether remembering these dates is a positive thing: is it good to remember the date of your admission in such clear terms? Why don’t I just forget about it and focus on the future?

And then I remember that the feeling I get about this time is that – and call me crazy; I don’t care – it was my rebirth. It was the end of a really terrible part of my life that I hated and that led me to such a dark place and the beginning of me being me.

What’s so bad about celebrating that?

So. To mark five years of recovery, here are some things that I have learned and some things that I know are true.

1. I’m not a bad person. Neither are you. People don’t come as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They come as people.

2. Teaching is what I love. I am lucky to have found a place I fit.

3. I don’t have to enjoy the things that other people enjoy.

4. I don’t really like drinking alcohol. In fact, I really don’t like drinking alcohol.

5. Some people really truly deeply matter and will always matter, even if once upon a time you had a misunderstanding based around a charger and forks. Even if you only get to see them occasionally.

6. A recent one: you can’t let mental illness hold you back, otherwise it will.

7. Sometimes bullies are wrong.

8. Nobody is worthless. Nobody deserves to be hurt.

9. Sometimes teachers get things wrong. Sometimes they don’t protect children the way they should.

10. The above doesn’t have to be me: I can try my best to protect children even though I wasn’t always protected.

11. My family belong to me. And I to them.

12. If I don’t want to leave the house, I don’t have to.

13. It’s OK to say you’re good at something.

14. It’s OK to say you’re bad at something.

15. You can meet and exceed goals you make for yourself if you give yourself enough time and you believe enough that you can do it.

16. Help is only worth anything if you want to be helped.

17. I love crocheting.

18. I think I might be quite a nice person. I’m not entirely sure yet but I’m thinking about it.

19. You can come back fighting from really awful, terrible things that feel incredibly permanent at the time. And I have the choice not to go back there.

and, the most important thing I have learnt:

20. I am me and that is OK.


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