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I Love My Life

by Riley Graves about a year ago in happiness

The dark nooks and crannies I swore to myself I would never tell a soul became the key to unlock the chains around my self-narrative.

Love and connection are vital to living

It is interesting to me that I can whole heartedly say I love my life. It took 28 years to get to a place where I no longer wish for something different or something more. When I was growing up, the narrative surrounding me was, "you can't do that, you will never get there, or why do you even bother." Believing those narratives brought me to a dark place. A place where loving anything or myself didn't seem possible.

Surviving was my only motivation to continue living. I survived through pains, disappointments, betrayals, and abandonments. I survived trauma, addiction, and moving across the country. I became convinced that living only required to survive or so I deluded myself. I wasn't aware that there was more to life than just surviving life's circumstances. It was about how I perceived my life circumstances and how I allowed the narrative to shape my reality.

The narrative of self creates my innate beliefs and those beliefs control how I project myself into the world. My life circumstances in my past were unstable, chaotic and dysfunctional so naturally that's what I thought I was. Walking through life's circumstances unknowing of the outcomes felt like Russian roulette. I flailed around in my early twenties thinking I was living a full life but to my surprise I was continuing to survive the narrative that was my past.

Little did I know trudging along the road to "happy destiny" was surviving my past narrative and adventuring for a new narrative. Woah! What a concept of changing the narrative, right? Wrong. This became my undoing of all past survival tools that no longer served me. I had to do something different if I wanted a different outcome. So what did I do different? I spilled my deepest and darkest secrets, I reached out and asked for help, I ugly cried, I defied the people who were trying to help me, I threw huge tantrums and made endless apologies about my behaviour. I told people closest to me to f**k off and leave me alone. This was my survival narrative clinging on to anything it could. The people who loved me through this process told that narrative to f**k off and let me be. I was no longer walking through life alone and by sharing my hurt I was able to make room for healing. Finding people who were gracious enough to hold love around me while I walked through my darkness was the key to begin a new narrative and new life circumstances.

The survival and healing narratives have given me more gifts than I could ever know. Surviving molded my souls journey on this earth to learn how to heal, to learn, to persevere, and to help others who are hurting. It gave me the wisdom to understand what kind of people I deserve in my tribe and people who don't. It gave me strength and grace to walk through current life altering events and to ask for help. It gave me hope, love, gratitude, humility and a life worth living. Today the narrative surrounding me is, "I am enough, I am capable, I am loving, I am worth it, I am beautiful in my own skin." I survived, I healed, I continue to learn and grow in a life I can now say I whole heartedly love.


Riley Graves

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Riley Graves
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