I refuse to settle for something that is less than I deserve. For years, I have allowed myself to believe that it was okay to deny myself the simple pleasures that I am entitled to: happiness, love, growth, and freedom. Tonight, I say no more. These beautiful privileges, the ones that I have told myself it would be selfish for me to chase after, are within my grasp and no longer will I let them slip from my fingers.
I choose to be happy. I will not catch myself the moment I feel joy, for fear that any minute, my world will come crashing down and I will feel guilty that for a brief moment, I let the corners of my lips curl into a smile. My cherophobic mindset should not keep me from experiencing such a wonderful emotion; I can and will grin and laugh to my heart’s desire, without dreading the inevitable crash that always seems to follow. I hope that my friends and loved ones will always be elated, but no longer will I put my happiness after theirs. My mental health is just as important as theirs (as selfish as it sounds) and for now, I will put mine first.
I will allow myself to love and be loved. Running from feelings because I am terrified of getting hurt or hurting someone is exhausting. I choose to allow my eyes to get caught on the eyes of someone I find attractive and if they ask to see me again, I will not make excuses. My days of making lists of why I cannot be with someone is over; I will instead create a single-bulleted list of why I should: because I want to. I will engrave over my heart the difference between lust and love and I will not chase after someone who only feels something for me in his pants. I will fall in love with someone because I want to be with them, and they will fall in love with me (I hope) because they are infatuated with my heart first, my mind second, and my body last. I elect to love, whether it be for a night, a year, or a lifetime, and give myself the opportunity to get close to someone. If I get hurt, it will only mean that I have loved and I will proudly show my scars after I nurse my broken heart. I will not seek out heartbreak by handing my affection to someone undeserving, I will be a first choice and I will not compete for the love of someone who makes me do so.
I will grow. For years, I have been a seed planted into the ground and now, I am ready to bloom. The past has happened, and I cannot change the choices I have made, but I can allow my mistakes to guide me in the future. I will walk into my unknown with open arms and the knowledge that the past does not define me. My future is the next chapter in a journal waiting to be filled, and the pencil (because I reserve the right to rewrite my plans and erase the things I do not want in my life anymore) is in my hand. I will flourish, reminding myself on each new day that impossible things are possible, but I will show my maturity by not discouraging myself anytime I realize I cannot achieve everything I set my mind to. Instead, I will allow the times I fail to encourage me; I tried, and that is all that matters.
I am free. I am blessed to live in a country where I men and women die for my freedom every day and I will not let their efforts be in vain. I will take advantage of my rights and I will profusely thank those who serve our country so that I may do so. No one will be allowed to deny me my freedom. I will run from any relationship where their controlling behavior limits me and I will not allow anyone to use abusive tactics to keep me caged in. I am liberated, and because of this, I will be spontaneous and uninhibited. I will not be burdened by rules that I do not establish myself (except for laws, because jail sounds like the opposite of being free) and give myself permission to give in to the whims of my heart.
My days, as numbered as they may be, belong to me and if I continue to deny myself these basic rights, I am not living for myself. My life quality will not be hampered because I am denying myself simple pleasures. I choose to live for me, taking advantage of each day as if it might be my last. I will not think of myself as selfish for valuing these things, instead I will thank myself for thinking about giving myself the best days I could. I choose happiness. I choose love. I choose to grow. I choose freedom. But most importantly, I choose me.