What you need will find you.

For some reason this morning I decided to take a little journey back in time using my Instagram feed. If you’re close to me you know how much I love taking pictures, and even if you’re not, you only have to be one of my followers to know what an Instagram whore I am. Contrary to belief, I don’t post these photos for anyone but myself.

A lot of people use Instagram to promote popular brands or mainstream labels, but for me Instagram is like a diary, a way to quickly blog something that’s just happened with a photo and caption so I can revisit that slice of my life at a later time.

Trust me, it works really well. I got a taste of just how well this morning.

I had just taken the dog outside, it was our second time out since 5 am, and I was really grumpy. I was tired. I was annoyed, ‘how does he have to poop again?!‘ I kept saying over and over again in my mind.

But we got outside, and we walked for a while, and when we got to this little field that we visit sometimes behind the association we live in, I just kept looking at all the tiny daisies and how nice they look in this field and I started feeling sort of strange.

I started feeling really grateful.

I was out there, letting this little dog drag me around through these weeds, but at least they were pretty weeds, and at least he’s a sweet, cute little guy, and at least I’m well enough to be out here in these weeds breathing this air and standing on this soft ground, looking out at these apartments I’ve come to really like the past six months.

A year ago I don’t know if I could say these things. I don’t know if I could look at all this with the positive perspective that I have now. One year ago I was a completely different person, an extremely unhappy person, pretending to have it together, and I was in a totally different, miserable place.

When we got back into the apartment I sat down and pulled up my Instagram feed just to see what exactly I was doing, to the day, a year ago. I found these two photos, among several others, that mark the early summertime period we’re in now, 365 days ago.

It’s hard for me to look at these photos.

To someone else it looks like I was reading Game of Thrones at the beach during the day, and snuggling my kitty in my comfy bed at night. But I know better than that.

I was extremely depressed. My close friends knew it and they kept telling me that I should talk to someone, I should see a doctor and get help trying to take care of it. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to be normal and okay and I wanted to be able to figure it out myself, on my own, like everything else in my life. I wanted to feel in control.

I was trying so hard, but the longer I waited to see someone the worse it got, and the more out of control things became. I never ended up seeing a doctor. Instead I wound up pregnant, which was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, even if I didn’t realize it then.

Last summer was a scary time for me. It was dark and exhausting. I was drowning but I wanted to be the one to pull myself to safety, not realizing that sometimes you can’t do it- you need help. I can look back at the photos from my Instagram feed during that time and know exactly what I was going through. I can remember exactly how I felt and the pain that I was in like it was yesterday.

But I haven’t felt like that in several months (the first few months of my pregnancy were really terrible, as bad as the summer was, because we were in such a pickle and just couldn’t grasp what was happening, but we finally did and since then everything turned around). I’m so thankful for that. It was like becoming pregnant gave me a totally different perspective on life, and gave me the strength I needed to pull my head out of the water I was drowning in.

Friends of mine have told me that they haven’t seen me this happy in a really long time, maybe since high school. I know that every day I wake up feeling okay is a good day, and I rarely have bad days anymore. I’m glad I kept going, and got to see things turn around in my life. I’m not saying everyone who feels depressed should get pregnant, but you should definitely keep going, because some way, some how what you need WILL find you. If you’re struggling, just keep going. Everything I went through was worth it.

Here’s why: It might be a strange thing to say, but I’m so grateful for that hard time I went through, because it really helps me appreciate how amazing my life is turning out to be now. I don’t feel sad every day anymore. I don’t feel like sleeping every second because I don’t know how to deal with the next several hours. I don’t hate where I’m at and what I’m doing. I’m not so distracted by how much I’m hurting that I can’t notice things like daisies in a field. I don’t feel like I have to pretend to smile, I just do it- without thinking.

Maybe that’s what I’m most grateful for. The chance to finally smile, and feel like things are exactly right.

The more I think about it, even when I’m grumpy in a field and the dog is pulling me through the mud and I’m panting and annoyed, I realize that things are still hard, there are still struggles in my life and times when things don’t go according to plan. Things are not perfect or easy by any means, and once this baby is born things will only get harder, but I’m still grateful. No matter how hard it is, I am grateful and I’m genuinely happy. And that’s how I know I’m better; that’s how I know things are exactly like they should be right now.

Everyone deserves this feeling. So if you’re in a tough place, just keep going. What you need will find you. It found me.

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Reminiscing.

It was two minutes to three when I clocked out. I grabbed my jacket, book, and tums from my locker and used the bathroom before leaving the building. I was expecting it to be frigid when the automatic exit doors slid open, but the rare February sun was doing a fine job, and it felt every bit of the 40 degrees it was.

I looked both ways before crossing the road separating Lowe’s and it’s parking lot, the wind lifting loose strands of hair that had fallen out of my pony tail over the course of the day. I felt overdressed crossing the dehydrated pavement that was caked with crusty salt; it didn’t feel like winter, but there I was, wearing bogs and a thick winter coat.

I opened the car door and sat down, placing my belongings in the passenger side. I moved my seat up a couple inches and adjusted the mirror. Nick and I have been sharing my car while his is being repaired in grand rapids, but today his shift ended at 3:30, and since I got out at 3:00 I was the one picking him up this time.

I plugged my aux cord into the charging port of my phone and found Ariana Grande’s album ‘Dangerous Woman.’ I clicked the first song. It had been quite a while, a few weeks at least, since I’d had the car to myself and could listen to my favorite music alone without feeling judged. Nick and I like a lot of the same music, but there are some things I wouldn’t expect him to listen to on a regular basis; Ariana’s song ‘Moonlight’ is one of them. Not 3 seconds later her voice was filling the car, and I was driving toward the apartment.

A thought occurred to me then; it came at first as a question: When did I first hear this song?

It was summer, I remembered that almost immediately. Some time around the fourth of July. Then several other thoughts populated and starting bouncing around inside my head:

I was at the beach when I first heard it
I listened to it almost every time I went there
I always went for walks to look for petoskey stones when I visited the state park, always right before leaving and always with both head phones in my ears
I was always tired
I was sad and miserable, heartbroken at best
But the beach was my happy place, and I was doing at least one thing that I loved almost on a daily basis, even if only for a couple hours.

And then I thought back to the sun that was shining in my eyes at the present moment, it won’t be long before it’s summer time all over again.

I started to imagine what I might be doing on the 4th of July this year, and then I remembered that Kinsley June will likely have just been born.

I won’t be spending time at the beach, and if I get to at all in June before her due date July 1st, I won’t be comfortable enough to really enjoy it.

At this point I was parked in front of our building and a ton of other thoughts started pouring in. ‘Moonlight’ continued to play in the background.

I kept thinking of how during last summer I’d drive to the beach with the windows down, the air filling every crevice of the car, lifting my hair and blowing it in every direction before exiting the car out any open window just to come back in the next and do it all over again. I kept picturing the waves, and the cool water splashing over my feet and up my legs with the occasional powerful burst. I imagined the sand and my hands full of beautiful petoskey stones, these tiny gems with the most intricate and unique design etched into each one; all the same, but different too.

And I was sad for a moment; sad that my life will never be exactly like that again. But then I looked into the center console and found a stray petoskey stone that hadn’t made it out of the car and into one of my three jars with the other stones I’d collected last summer, and I thought to myself, there is still time, I am still me, and my life will still be the same, but different too- in a good way.

I have so much hope for the future.