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My Heart's Still Beating
“Give me your hand.” I said, reaching for him. Quietly he obliged, slipping his hand into mine. Slowly, I lifted it and placed it on my chest, palm flat.
“Feel that?” I asked. He looked at me, head tilted slightly. “That’s a heartbeat. My heart’s beating.” I smiled softly to myself and let his hand drop.
“That run down, beat up piece of s*** is still beating. Despite the bruises, despite the scars, the little sucker’s still beating.” I looked into his grey eyes.
“Depression is a bit like a hurricane. Before it hits, you see this perfect little place. So innocent. So serene. So…happy. And then, woosh. It tears through you, rips you apart piece by piece, and afterwards, your perfect little place is nothing but heaps upon heaps of rubble and destruction.
“Everything you were ever comfortable knowing or not knowing is gone. Everything you ever valued, everything you once admired… And you stand there, looking at the mess and just close your eyes, hoping that when you open them again, everything will be OK. That is was all just a horrible, horrible dream. And then you finally bring yourself to open them again. Through the tears you can see that this is your new reality. There is no escaping, you think. This helpless despair begins to overwhelm you and you’re brought to your knees…
“And to top it all off you’re completely alone. It’s not like you have an on-call construction crew to come along and just make everything better. It’s not like any amount of money could help…” I stopped suddenly, finding myself too far into the metaphor and in danger of missing the point completely.
“You asked me before if I thought that I was beautiful.” I said. “And I told you that it was a complicated question. Because in all reality, it is.
“Before depression, I had ideas of what I thought beauty was. What I would consider pretty about myself and what I wouldn’t. But, again. That d*mned hurricane didn’t leave a single thing untouched. I had to reinvent my perspectives. I had to learn to see the good in a person, despite their constant attempts to tear me down. I had to learn to fall into life’s open arms, the same arms that had beaten me so ruthlessly…
“And now, I have to relearn how to see myself.” I sighed quietly, noticing the transfixed look in my audience’s eyes.
“And that is a part of my perfect little place that is still under construction.” He smiled quickly, but it disappeared just as fast.
“I unearthed quite a few layers of myself that I had never known existed. I discovered dreams, passions, biases, everything I didn’t want to deal with was suddenly right before me, threatening to tear down what little progress I had made. So, construction had to be postponed while a chased a few monsters around my head.” This one earned me a chuckle.
“One day, maybe, I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror and smile genuinely. One day I’ll be OK again. But for now, I can only handle so much. I’m still young. I still have time. Time to realize that I don’t need to be perfect. Time to realize how f*cking hard it is to drag me down.
“My heart’s still beating, and that’s the only thing I’m 100% sure of right now. I’m alive, and I’m not going to give up this fight, no matter how hard it gets.” I took his hand in mine again.
“But I promise you, the day I wake up feeling beautiful again, you will be the first one to know. You’ll be the first one I turn to.”