Well-being means to be fully born, to become what one potentially is; it means to have the full capacity for joy and for sadness or, to put it still differently, to awake from the half-slumber the average man lives in, and to be fully awake.

-Erich Fromm

I try sometimes to remember how I thought about things before, before my brain and heart and soul broke down from years of abuse, before psychedelics and yoga opened me back up to living, before therapy and meditation healed the wounds of my past. It’s nearly impossible to really inhabit those thoughts again. I am no longer that person.

But, I’ve always journaled so I have that small glimpse of my thoughts as I caught them on a page. Last summer, I was able to pull up and read my xanga archives from over a decade ago. It was horrifying. All I saw, entry after entry was a sad, scared, and angry girl reacting in the same ways to the same problems and never finding peace or a way out. My heart ached so much for my past self. (I also cringed so hard.)

I was stumbling through life half-slumbering. I knew things were WRONG, deeply, gravely, terribly wrong, but I saw no way to change them. The rigid beliefs that I had about myself and relationships and religion and family kept me stuck in a world of suffering. There was no well-being in my life at all then. I was only a shell of a person.

I’ve said since my son was born, that he taught me what love truly feels like, what it truly means. I had no idea what it really meant to love someone selflessly, to want only for their best, to be willing to do anything for them. His arrival was the beginning of my awakening. I had been a shell, but he gave me a heart.