Originally written November 2018.

Nothing about it is really novel. I’m grateful. Not in that everyday thanksgiving applause for the soothing appreciables around me. It’s a cryptic thanks that I can barely hold onto because I have to face ugly authenticity to keep it in my grasp.

I’ve justified actions in my life. I’ve leaned into my will, creating unexpected life curves. I felt strong navigating the wrong worlds where my weaknesses were magnified. Foreboding joy, my inevitable curse.

It happened so slowly I didn’t know I was broken. I knew my relationships were twisted. I’d been to therapy and forgiven others. Much harder to forgive me. And more—to know me,—and why? To claim authenticity as my deepest desire, but…

…the duplicity. The juxtaposition of my desires, values and the truth of my decisions, life products.

After I changed everything I got lost for a while. I didn’t trust anyone, especially me. I tried new community endeavors that fulfilled me for a time, and then I stopped. I pulled away.

I took full responsibility and self assessment. I still got mad at blameful stories. I trembled with powerlessness and paranoia. But I faced it. I discovered the roots of issues in me dug into thicker, deeper roots. Ideas bloom. Some need to die or be in someone else’s garden.

I have learned things, but I have mainly learned that I need to learn more. I live for myself now, and I desperately try to focus on my daughter. It’s rare I can remember specifics about those years because it pains me that I lost time slaving my mind away for what didn’t ever add back to my life’s value.

That’s what I mean by cryptic gratitude. I used to be very open and carefree. Now I don’t let many people in. I am careful. I ask questions instead of share my story first. I test the waters and evaluate a person’s motives and value system. I judge on my perceptions when I didn’t before. I used to have a very enthusiastic way of connecting information in ideas, places, and people. That’s become more latent since I don’t go out as much and has been replaced with more analytical skills from reading and watching content.

I guess I’m possibly more well-rounded. Maybe boring. I’m always evaluating. Whoever I am, I’m different now. That’s what I’ve noticed lately.