Photo: Ivan Calderon

Photo: Ivan Calderon

Hello, Nice To Meet You

“Wow, this is SO not an Anna thing to do.”

It’s true. This was my most spontaneous adventure to date. 

Three years ago, I never would have pictured myself heading into the unknown with 50 strangers and nothing more than a back pack.

This just goes to show how capable humans are of change - a notion that is often taken for granted.

If you lost touch with me after high school, I can safely say you no longer know me - that version of myself is long gone. Dealing with a mental illness is emotionally and physically exhausting. Thus, taming the monsters inside my head without leaning on a stable support system consumed all my energy. Unfortunately, it left me with little will for adventure or happiness. 

I tried to explain this to a friend once. She shares a similar mental health journey. Beaming with pride, we discussed our growth.

“We really are making our life count these days, how is this even possible?”

Her reply was so raw.

“Because we know how the opposite feels - how it feels to be absent from our life, how it feels to be completely disconnected from ourselves, how it feels to be a human who isn’t being.

Her answer explains every aspect of my growth. 

Countless days were spent watching my life go by, simply carrying out the motions, hoping for one day to end but dreading the next day to start. 

I never want to live like this again.

Tinkering faintly along the fine line between life and death is what forced me to grow - to gain a new perspective on life. By doing the complete opposite of what my illness wanted, I was able to control the monsters. I brought passion, spontaneity and determination to my battle.

My monsters didn’t stand a chance.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I can say this:

I am truly, genuinely happy. 

So for those of you who are stuck on the old version of myself, let’s start over.

“Hello, nice to meet you! I’m Anna.”

Photo: Ivan Calderon

Photo: Ivan Calderon

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