I remember the years in which I managed to finally find something beautiful within myself – about myself – that I could hold on to and keep as a sort of talisman against the emptiness and the loneliness. It was an epiphany and it was necessary and it took so long but it was worth it, worth the constant aching that had come to define most every aspect of my life in regards to myself and, particularly, to others. The beautiful thing was the perspective wrought by years and years and years of the pain and sadness that had come to not only shape me but define me – become 'me'. I was not apart from it, it was not an aspect of myself, it was – is – my core. It may seem strange to some and overly poetic to others but it is something very real to me – being able to recognize, for all the negativity, that not only other things are still beautiful but the pain itself and what it brought in all the horrible hours immediately following it are beautiful too. It takes something to find that in an experience – to find that in a life – to not end up a void surrounded by resentment and regret. Don't get me wrong, I'm still empty in a lot of ways and I am still trying to define this vacuum that I exist in, but I'm not dead and, sometimes, I can still see tomorrow even if I don't always see myself in it. So that's something.
Carlie? This is for you. You've given me these little moments where I exist apart from my norm – where, for a moment, I was not 'me' but an actual person – real, alive and noticed. Thanks for that, you've given more than most ever have or ever will and you did this without knowing, out of nothing more than being yourself – your beautiful, wonderful self.