Ma (great-grandmother) and Michelle, 1979
I am STILL here.
If I sound amazed, it is because I am, truly, AMAZED.
When I was a teenager, I was sure I'd be dead by 18. I expected it.
Then 18 passed and I thought 21 was the new number, and I was ready.
Every car accident I was in, I had a moment thinking, is this it? Every night before bed and I took all my pills plus a WHOLE bunch more for sleeping and headache, I would think, is this it?
I take my vacation days always at the beginning of the year. Why? Because what if I die in June? Then all of those unused days will have gone to waste!
I've never saved any money, because I never thought I had a future. I had plans set in place for my mom and Moma to take care of Chelsea if something happened to me. But nothing ever did.
Whenever I was asked the question, "Where do you see yourself in ten years?," my most truthful answer would have been, NOWHERE. But I've learned how not to freak people out (for the most part)...so my real answer was always a vague, "I just want to be happy...," as if happiness was something I had heard about and thought would be really cool to experience one day.
I still don't know how I got here, and I can't see where I'm going. Pragmatically, my mother and my daughter keep me grounded...my mother tells me that when she gets old I have to take care of her, so I tell my daughter that when I get old she has to take care of me.
So, all of a sudden, the future is no longer formless and blank...I have a place. Maybe I will be there.
In the meantime, I am truly grateful that every day, when I open my eyes, I am still alive. Not too long ago, I didn't feel this way. Now, even though I may not be sure why I am still here, I am very very glad to be here.
Every day I wake up not dead is a really good day.