This is becoming something of a tradition. I’ve started marking today. Because today is the day I didn’t die, six years ago. Today is the day I lived.
For the first few years afterwards, I didn’t mark it. Didn’t think of it. Didn’t want to think of it. I felt that I was still too attached to the date. That as much as I pulled away from it, all that I was doing was stretching the elastic between then and I; that one day everything would snap and I’d be back to where I was then. Like a bungee cord, I could only get so far before being yanked back again.
It was two years ago that things changed. I realised that I wasn’t waiting to be pulled back. I realised I was relieved I hadn’t died. More than that. I was glad to be alive. More than that, even, I was happy to be alive.
The rush of elation that accompanied that discovery has been embarrassingly recorded for posterity, both here and all over the internet. Whenever I try to describe how it feels, I know that it sounds like trite motivational bollocks, ready to be superimposed over the sun rising across the ocean. Trust me; I’m not given to that sort of soppy wankchoppery. All I can say is that I feel euphoric. I could be dead. I should be dead. But I aten’t dead.
If anyone had told me six years ago ‘You won’t just be alive. You’ll be thriving and happy to be alive’ I would have nodded blankly as tears ran down my face and known that they were lying to me. If they’d then gone on to add ‘Oh, and you’ll be a single mother, living on benefits, about to move into a council flat, and although you’ll still have depression, you’ll be the happiest you’ve ever been’, then at least I would have known that they’d got me confused with another person and directed them elsewhere.
But no, that person is me. Writing this now, through a flood of tears of genuine happiness. Smiling, thinking about my Blondies. Thinking of our future. I don’t fear the future, not now, nor do I worry about facing it. See that tangle of limbs, with Mane freeflowing, a booted silhouette racing towards the horizon? That’s me. Running joyously to embrace the future, my future, whatever it may hold. The future I would never have had. The future I shouldn’t have. But today is the day I didn’t die. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.