Last night was a rough one for me. When things are quiet and dark, with no distractions and no interruptions, my thoughts flow furiously through me. I was forced to face reality again. I cried last night like I haven’t in weeks. Waiting for justice is exhausting. Fearing an unfavorable outcome, grieving the loss of someone who is still alive, resisting the temptation to dwell on the “fairness factor” that seems to still be missing in it all, I was overtaken and the tears burst free. They came in ugly sobs and pitiful whimpers. I was like a damned lost puppy. I have my moments. I’m only human. I have searched for protection in every face, everywhere, for as long as I can remember. My parents tried. They tried hard. Life and circumstance and my own poor choices made their efforts inefficacious and all of the others I chose for the job ran into the same problems. My self hatred and tendency for self abuse and destruction caused me to accept situations and treatment undeserved because I intimately knew how much worse it could be. I settled for the lesser of the evils far too many times, running into the arms of the alpha, even if the alpha was cruel. I’d justify it and excuse it because, at least the alpha had some sense of control, telling myself it’s better to be abused by one than by many. I limited my potential by settling for these dogs and the small plot of territory they ruled over. I’m not a dog, though. The suspicion that I didn’t belong among them has been affirmed and legitimized. I don’t belong there. I don’t belong anywhere. I belong everywhere. I am the alpha in a place I created. Looking back, universal forces have prepared me to protect myself and to protect others as well. I have been proven capable, strengthened and fortified by experience, given the wisdom needed to navigate any part of the world I enter into by choice or by force. I had been following the rules of a dying generation and those rules no longer applied. My elders had tried to lead me out of the darkness, bright lights shining on my face. I couldn’t see past the glare and I got lost so I wandered and grasped at the walls. I had to find my own light, it burns inside me brightly now. I stumble and fall, frequently. I will always have moments like I did last night because I have been blessed with a wonderful burden. Too many emotions reside inside of me. Too strong to contain. While others can scarcely fill a drinking glass with theirs, I struggle to contain the ocean in a gallon jug. I read something like that in Wuthering Heights and when I read it and realized there were others like me, that there always had been, it felt like someone punched me in the heart. I cried last night. I let the pain fall from my eyes because it had been resting atop my spirit for far too long. I cried last night, looking for the hero inside of me but she was hiding. She does that from time to time to let the lost girl out. The vulnerable one. The hero hides so she can cry alone, without shame. I cried. I cried hard. I fell asleep. In my dreams I saw my friend Andrea and she asked me for help. I handed to her my abilities and assistance and was reminded of the toilsome task at hand, but, I was also reminded of the wonderful people that have been placed in my life to support, to guide, and to bring me joy, just when I had begun to feel the lonesomeness again. My best friend, the one from my dream, my soul sister, lives thousands of miles away. Most of my proven friends do. But, she found her way into my dreams to bring me comfort and to make me laugh. She reminded me of who I am just as I was beginning to forget. I woke with a smile and sense of peace only palpable to those who have experienced true triumph over trauma. I woke, after all. How dare I frown being given the gift of another breath? I woke with a smile, and I’ll use that smile, to disarm and dissolve my oppressors. I cried, but I smile, and over and over again, I am grateful for it all.