How is it possible that the things that hurt us the most are the things that make us the strongest?

That fact amazes me.

Which is not to say I dislike it.

It just amazes me.

But then again, a lot of things amaze me these days.

It amazes me the devotion a person, not related by blood, can have to another. It amazes me how far someone can go to try and keep a little fantasy world intact. It amazes the about how horrible some people in this world are. However, it also amazes me about how wonderful and amazing some people are.

And what I find most amazing is how much I've changed.
I was this quiet little girl.
Didn't make a peep.
You could forget about me in a heartbeat.
And I was in so much pain.
And because of that
I felt that nobody else's problems needed me involved.

But I looked in the mirror today.
I really looked
and saw reality instead of perception.
I'm not ugly.
Sure, my nose is big.
My mouth is small.
And my hair is bushy.
But that's how I am.
I also have eyes that change color
and am so pale that if I try to buy foundation, I have to order it online to get a colour light enough.
And that may not be what people would consider beautiful.
But I am.
I may be a bit unique in my beauty.
But then again, that's what defines me as beautiful.

Imperfections make things beautiful.
It makes it something that was pretty,
to something unique.
Something one in a million.

And I find that beautiful.
Yeah, I'm not a size two.
And I'm not going to be.
And I don't want to be.
I'm not concave.
I'm real.
I'm real flesh and bone and muscle and gristle and tendon and colour and damage and scar tissue.
I'm real.

And it's not all physical (although that is a pretty big change).
It's also emotional.
I've gone from trying to keep out of other people's problem to being "Dear Rel", or more truthfully, "Big Momma Teague".
I've gone from being completely silent to those who I didn't know to being someone to randomly chat up people.
Yeah, I'm never going to be the loudest person in the room unless I'm instructing.
I'm not going to start talking about the newest styles.
But I still search for someone interesting to talk to
and I hear random people's stories.

I was on the bus the other day
and I saw a man with a military uniform on.
And nobody moved aside to give him a seat.
So I stood up and said
"Here you go sir. Take my seat."
And he smiled at me,
slid by the window,
and patted the space beside him.

That man had served in World War II,
and saw his best friend die in front of him.
While he was gone, his wife died giving birth to his son,
and he was going to her grave to visit her.
His grandson was in medical school.

And he was an amazing man.

And if I hadn't changed,
I would have never heard his story.

If I hadn't changed,
then things would be a lot different for a lot of people near me.
If I hadn't changed,
then there are a few people who wouldn't be here today.
If I hadn't changed,
then I might not be here today.

Today is the day when mothers are revered.

Although I have a woman who brought me into this world, she is no mother to me. She did, however, help shape who I am today by putting me through so much crap I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. She did send me into a spiral of madness that I somehow managed to survive. She did keep me living in a state of constant turmoil for countless years. But I survived it. And I got over it. Scars faded. But the lessons that I learned, I will never forget. I learned how much it means when someone shows you the tiniest bit of kindness. I learned how much pain ignorance can cause.

And I learned to persevere.

I learned to keep on trying to be a better person, even when it seemed like what I did made no difference.

I learned that even the most seemingly secure people in the world are not as secure as they would like you to believe.

I learned so much because of the woman who hated me so much.

And because of her, I changed. To keep from putting anyone else through that, I changed, without realizing it.

I began to try.

I began to put out effort.

I began to live, instead of simply surviving.

People say those two words are synonyms.

They couldn't be more wrong.

To survive is pretty easy. Eat a little food, drink a little water, and keep breathing.

But to live? That is hard. To live is to be brave. To live is to keep on trying, even when the fates are lined up against you. To live is to face adversity, in all of its forms, and not give up or give in. To live is to make the most out of life, and not judge yourself by others, but solely by yourself. To live is to change.

Sometimes, change is scary,
but change is also a part of life.
And change is just the start
of your next big adventure.