I have the habit of comparing myself to other people.  All. The. Time.

Five years ago, I set out on getting my Master’s in Psychology.  I finished my program, got my license to be an intern therapist.  I was working as a social worker at the time, and then one day, it seemed like I was having a stroke.  And that was the beginning of (what I thought was) the end.

I never went back to being a social worker.  I’ve tried several times to go back to work and I’ve always failed.  Whether it’s ending up in the hospital as status migrainosis or it’s my mental health, I haven’t been able to keep a job for more than a month or two in three years.

Most of the people I went to school with are now finishing their hours and getting officially licensed.  I see them pop up in my newsfeed on Facebook, and a little part of me gets so incredibly sad, thinking that could have been me.  Poor me.  Wah wah.

Life has definitely done its fair share of shitting on me.  I’ve been through more in my 28 years of life than some people go through in their entire life.  I don’t know if it’s the overachiever in me or what, but I never seem to quite get the hint that I should just stay down.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again–I will give in some days, but I will never give up again.  You can’t appreciate the top without being at the bottom.

I’ve been at the bottom.  I’ve clawed my way back, multiple times, all the time.  I can do it every day if I have to.

And I don’t want to sound preachy or anything, but we ALL have shit.  Some of us have more than others, but I really believe that at the end of the day it’s how we react to that shit that makes us who we are.

Obviously, there are some things we cannot change like disabilities, etc.  Obviously, I suffer from many health problems.  Some days I can’t do anything.  Some days I lie in bed, unwilling to face the world.  But overall, I fight.  I am resilient.  I am awesome and kick ass despite everything the world has given me.  Sometimes I don’t feel like that, sometimes I need to be reminded of that, especially when everything is going wrong.  I get sucked into the whole poor me, why me, this isn’t fair just as often as anyone else. But I refuse to accept that.  I refuse to live there.

I’ve been working in a lot of different mental health workbooks and going to therapy and working with all sorts of different specialists and doctors to try and get my body and my mind back to a healthy place.  It’s taken a lot of broken promises, a lot of hurt and many tears to help me finally see that I am worth it.  You are worth it.  We are all worth it.

When I look at my peers, I often feel like a failure.  I see them succeed, and I feel like I’m just there, existing.  But then I think about the challenges I have faced, I think about the things that have happened in my life, everyone who has walked out of my life, everyone who has left me, every hard thing I’ve ever gone through, every scar I’ve inflicted on myself and all of the not so good sides of things and I realize that I’ve survived all of that.  Despite all of the bad, I have survived and I have flourished.  I challenge anyone else I know to live the life I lead and do as well as I do.

It doesn’t feel like I do well. It doesn’t feel like I succeed and am awesome.  It feels like I suck and am shitty and that everyone has walked out that door because of something I’ve done wrong.  But I can’t control other people.  I can’t control their happiness, I can’t control their actions or the lies they tell.  All I can do is do my best, and at the end of the day, I know that’s enough.

To the best of my ability, I put out good.  I put out good and more good and when I think I don’t have any energy left, I find some more good to put out in the world.  And for all of the bad, for all of the terrible things that have happened to me, I sure have had a lot of good come to me.  A yin and yang sort of thing.

I survive because I refuse to give up.  I survive because I have people who love me unconditionally and support me in everything I do.  I survive because I don’t have another choice.

And at the end of the day, I am content.  I am satisfied.  I go to bed each night knowing that I’m a good person, a good partner, a good daughter, a good friend.  And if I wasn’t any of those things that day, I pray that tomorrow I will be better.  And even if I was some of those things today, I still pray that I will be better.

I don’t know everything.  I don’t even know a lot.  And the fact that I realize that makes me stronger.

I’ve spent my whole life trying to mold myself into someone that someone else wanted, that someone else needed.  But what about me?  What about my wants and needs? What about what Cait?  I’ve lost myself over and over the last almost 29 years, and it’s taken me the last 6 months to find myself again.  I haven’t discovered all of my nooks and crannies.  I’m still exploring.  But I know that no matter what, I am always, from now on, going to be authentically me and not try and people please.  It’s a hard habit to break since I’ve been doing it for my whole life, but I know now that I am worth it.  I am loved.  I am adored.  I am cared for and I am content.  I don’t live in silence, I don’t live in anger.  I live in a world where I can express myself, where I can be me without repercussion.  And I’ve found that in this world, I’ve developed amazing relationships and have had amazing opportunities.

For the longest time, I thought “I am sick.”  What do you do? “I am sick.” “I am disabled.” “I don’t do anything.”

But really, being sick is a background part of who I am.  I am so much more than my sickness, I am so much more than my limits.

I am a fighter.

I am strong.

I am kind.

I am loving.

I am caring.

I am intelligent.

I am appreciated for once.

I am loved.

I am adored.

I am wanted.

I am not an afterthought.

I am not my illnesses.

I am a mother effing zebracorn with Pegasus wings, and nothing, nor no one,  will stop me because I am all of these things and more.