A few weeks ago, I turned a quarter century. I don’t feel old. I’m not having a quarter life crisis. Really, like most birthdays, almost nothing has changed… aside from the decrease in car insurance.
25 is a groundbreaking year for me because it marks the long-awaited turning point. I’ve had quite the life. In my opinion, I’ve had more than my fair share of “bad days.” By the time I was 21, I decided on one simple fact: I was going to spend the first 25 years of my life enduring. I truly hoped to stop the pain long before my 25th birthday, but I thought I’d give myself a few leeway years to struggle through, just in case. I didn’t want my goal to be hyperbolic optimism just to be left disappointed at the ripe old age of 22, when life was still ridiculously hard and full of tragedy.
For the past four years, I have said my life will suck for the first 25 years, and after that birthday it will be smooth sailing because I crammed all the horrible into the first part of my life. Let’s be completely honest here, my life has been a pile of shit:
-My worth has been exclusively linked with sex. The fact I’m having it or not having it made me worth more.
-I have been raped by more men than I will ever have sex with.
-My looks have defined me to the world, including those who know me best.
-I have been a trophy for what I offer.
-I have watched almost everyone in my life reject me and/or walk away.
-Love has never come to me unconditionally.
-Money is power, and I have had to go to extremes while capitalizing upon my looks, sex, and female objectification just to have money, which led to autonomy. Yet I was still alone.
-I have never had the luxury of being enough as I am.
-Happiness wasn’t just fleeting; it was usually torn away when I needed it most.
I always told my friends this snippet with a laugh and a hair flip when conversation about my life got too serious, but I never truly believed it would come to fruition. It was more a comfort to everyone else thinking things would get better for me.
A month before my birthday, something sudden and wonderful happened. As we all know, I have spent the last three and a half years hung up on my ex; not just hung up, but my heart was hopelessly and unabashedly his. I’d be a lying fuck if I told you I’m over him, but I went out on a date with someone anyways. This someone is the first person who has made me feel anything since my ex. It was a scary, scary thing to do. I have always gone out on dates with nice guys who there would never in a million years be a chance of me catching feelings or falling for. This date, though, was different. I went already having feelings. My feminism really hates that I’m going to say this. After being with him, things have fallen into place as they never have before. I can’t tell you why. I have some hunches, though. I think the biggest is that I have decided I’m worth something. That date was the first step I’ve made toward happiness. It was a step into my future. I have been stagnating and waiting for years.
Maybe, I have been right all along. The first 25 years of my life, I was always cautiously looking ahead, guarding myself against whatever unseen horror lay silently in the future. For the first time, I’m not living with paralyzing fear. I can honestly say, I’m finding my way to happiness. I don’t know if I’ve ever been happy before. I am faced with a new set of challenges. Learning to be happy isn’t easy, but I’m going to do it.