Never Give Up

How fitting, to start off my blog titled with three words that have kept me going through these difficult last few years: Never Give Up. Honestly, I had no idea where to even begin with my first post. My thoughts flood my mind at random times when I least expect it and it took weeks to compose this as I was unsure how to mesh together excerpts of my thoughts about this. I hope you enjoy this as this comes from my experience, what I’ve witnessed, and what I wish to help with. Regardless of where you are in life, you’ve been through the worst situations already, and you’re still here. The worst can still come, but you’ve overcome a great amount of experiences to be where you are now, so why will it be any more difficult? You’re prepared more than you think to face your fears, to face pain, and to face tough situations. I’ve been through hell and back, now I am here, helping you, well at least I hope I am. So, let’s begin.

When we are broken, we cry. When we are hurt, we yell. When we are grieving, we quit. A battle is lost, but the war isn’t over. A chapter has closed, but the book hasn’t ended. The definition of quit, by merriam-webster can be defined as, “released from obligation, charge, or penalty.” Quitting isn’t permanent, nor it doesn’t mean giving up. We take our broken pieces, our pain, and our grief, and we fight back, we fight until we find the light shining into the cave, because there is no giving up. We all have our issues, our problems, our demons haunting us, but if we put our heads down, we won’t be able to experience life to the fullest. I understand there are times where we feel empty inside and where we feel powerless because others abandon us or put us down. One example is when we endure a break-up and struggle to find ourselves once again.

The beautiful aspect about losing someone you grew attached to, is you learn you lost yourself in someone’s world and became dependent on them; but you go through the beautiful path of rediscovering yourself and depending only on yourself. Essentially, you go through the stages of dating, but with yourself. You start out slow, questioning yourself, and pondering why you’re alone. Then, you get intrigued and fascinated with your life, you search for new adventures, you search for new activities, and you search for yourself. After time of healing and rejuvenation, you fall in love with yourself, you become infatuated with your ideals, your values, and what you represent. You become the idol and role model you set yourself out to be. Only then, true happiness is found because you’re only worried about yourself, your family, and your friends. You learned to be able to balance life while balancing what is important to you. And most importantly, you are focused on yourself. Break ups aren’t ugly, they’re actually one of the most beautiful processes in this world if you set your mind right. We all understand that sometimes you must walk through the shadows to find the light.

Walking through the shadows, the darkness, to find the light is much more than going through the shitty times for the good times. It’s the process of finding self worth, self empowerment, and self reflection. In the shadows we walk where we may not be content with ourselves or others or the environment. A bad day is a stubbed toe, a bad week is an elbow hitting the doorframe, a bad month is a knee to the corner of your bed, a bad year is your head hitting a wall or cupboard. In other words, the pain hurts for those moments, and the pain lingers, in this case, more in those areas that will be most sensitive with the head injury causing the longest lingering pain. We go through those moments where we put a number on it, days, weeks, etc, but in reality, it is just a moment in the snapshot of your life. Through those moments, we hurt, we learn, we improve. But we don’t find the light  until we have been through enough bad times, pain, troubles, good times, happiness, and so on. When we find ourselves in our darkest times, we learn who we are at the core, and we never changed, we changed what surrounds us. We find that light when we finally understand our worth, who we believe we are to others, where we empower ourselves because we are happy with who we are and we control what surrounds us. You can be single, married, divorced, widowed, etc. No matter the situation, you can find the light once you understand your core, once you understand that you, and only you, know your importance to this world no matter what others say or do. You saw your mistakes, you saw your improvements, and now you’ve put it together to find that light.

Look, this may seem all like optimistic bullshit to you, but it isn’t. I walked in the dark and in the shadows of others for 10 years, and that isn’t a lie. I was told that I am a waste of life, that I would never be successful in life, and that I don’t belong wherever I try to fit in. Then, my lung disease turned my whole world upside. It uplifted everything I learned about life, being grateful for the small things, and remaining positive no matter what. I don’t have sympathy for what I went through because many people go through much worse, but it is still a serious portion of my life that became simply the scariest time of my life. I couldn’t breathe like a normal person, I didn’t have the energy to wake up everyday, I became a living vegetable in front of my parents, I was diagnosed with anorexia because I lost 30 to 40 pounds in a span of two months, and I lost hope, well for that time being. But, guess what? I went through the toughest time of my life and found it as a blessing. I breathe like any ordinary human being, as I was told I would only have 50% functionality in my lungs (so basically would only have one lung), but I have 100% functionality now. I wake up everyday excited to see what the world has to offer, I enjoy everything about life now. My parents built me back up to who I am now, stronger than I ever have been in my life. I regained my weight, and eat still like the same old crappy way I used to (by that I mean in very unhealthy ways). I said I lost hope, but I never fully did, even though I thought I did. If I would have lost hope I wouldn’t be here today. I lost myself in April, but rediscovered myself again in the best way possible. I have graduated, I have a job, I have a loving family, I have a dog that has been through tough times and who I refuse to give up on, I have friends that care, and I have myself. I am strong because I have been weak. I am fearless because I have been afraid. I am wise because I have been foolish. If I can bounce back from any of this, if I can stand tall and remain confident and ecstatic about my life, then why can’t you?

I didn’t say all of that to gain your sympathy, at all. Honestly, I look back at it and sometimes get irritated when people say, “aww you poor thing” and I’m not saying that in a mean or nasty way. I say that because I found the strength and the power to fight back, to step out of the shadows and find the light, to embrace it and to never give up. I have watched too many people give up or quit when life gets tough and they don’t deserve it. No one deserves the shit that is thrown at them throughout life, but what makes us stand out is accepting it and fighting back. We don’t stand up enough for ourselves, and we don’t fight back hard enough to get what we deserve. Pain is a major aspect of our lives, but we can’t live with it forever. We can’t give up, because once you do, you accept that pain and let it consume you. Life is better with your smile glowing amongst the world, and the more you let pain go away, the better life becomes. I know this is a lot harder to do than actually saying it. I get it, I have been there and know what it is like. Whatever you are going through, you will get through it. You will embrace the challenge and you will win because you will never give up. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out because I am always willing to help someone. I will leave you all with a quote my friend showed me in high school, as it has stuck by me for a while.

“We all have our past. We all have our pain. We will all know ghosts from time to time. But if our life is like a building, then we should open our doors to let some people see inside. And into our darkest places – into those rooms that hold our fears and dreams – we will begin to walk together. Friends with hope like candles, telling ghosts to go.”

CJ (Christian Johnston)

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