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I love stories like A Walk to Remember, If I Stay, and The Fault in Our Stars. These stories show that life can be sad, miserable, and unbearably painful and yet, somehow, beautiful. I love them because I believe there is more out there, that pain doesn’t have to be for no reason. I’m one of those freakish people who instead of running and hiding from pain, holds on to it, finds beauty in it. I have felt searing pain and loss and stared deep into the darkness wishing it would swallow me whole.

In my few, but growing number of years I have also learned that nothing is “the big whammy.” There is always the potential of something worse and as depressing as that may sound I take hope in that. Do you want to know why? I’m going to tell you regardless. It’s because I have survived what always, in the moment, felt like the end of the world. And I know with a track record like mine I will continue to survive the end of the world until it literally ends and God takes me home. Pain, loss, sadness…they are difficult to process but they make the beauty of this world, of this life, all the more obvious.
There will always be darkness and pain but we don’t have to be lost in it. We can let it lead us to the little things we would have missed: the infinite blueness of the sky, the sound of a loved one’s voice, the warmth of a hug or the weight of a sleeping child in your arms. These stories remind me to live like I’m dying, before I actually am wishing I had more time.

There is much to fear in this world and I’m very good at being afraid but it is no way to live. That is why I choose instead to be a creature of hope no matter how stupid or foolish or naive it may seem to some. I may care too much about what others think but in the end I’m me and I’ll say and do and be whatever I want to. I will not let pain and fear change who I am. I will not let them define me. Pain demands to be felt and I will feel it. But I will also impose my hope upon it and cram it down its throat.

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