“Happiness is not found in things you possess, but in what you have the courage to release.”
Few people understand me and for most of my life I did not understand myself. If I was ever lost before my bike accident, chronic pain took me further and further away until I was so lost I no longer cared about living. As most young people I wanted to “fit in” and I wanted everyone to like me. I was always the “class clown” and the girl who would order a pizza, throw a bug into the pizza once delivered and then receive the pizza for free: honestly memories like that I do not regret. *Kayci, if you ever read this stealing is not okay and I will order your pizza until you are thirty. I made people laugh. I was called the guinnea pig because if my friends had not yet tried something I would do it first so they would know what happened such as drinking or dancing on the porch in crazy clothes just to see what would happen. Part of these many crazy actions are a reflection of the true Jessica, and some actions were directly caused by wanting to hide chronic pain and maintain the friendships I had so desperately worked to make. I still smile at some of the things we did as teenagers, especially the harmless yet hilarious things but I get sad when I think about the true invisible physical and emotional pain I was enduring at the time.
Now, I am just me. I am outspoken at times, I say things without a filter (this is honestly NOT a good thing at times) and I view success a lot differently than most people. I do believe both my accident and chronic pain changed me and for the most part I am happy with those changes (now, not back during the torrential ten-year storm I endured in my search for a cure to chronic pain.) I believe it is more important to collect memories, not things. I do not remember the toys I had as a child but I do remember bike rides with my dad, laughing with my brother as we pulled pranks on my mom, playing in the woods for hours making pretend houses out of sticks and rocks, and swimming in the ocean; riding waves until my dad forced me to leave the beach.
People work so damn hard to make money to buy things and I am not speaking of the essentials such as food, housing, electric etc. I mean objects that are used for a short amount of time and bring happiness for the first month of possessing them but they are soon forgotten just as the rabbit from the famous story: ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ was. On Halloween, we asked our three-year old what her favorite part of the day was and her response was: “dance class and pooping on the potty.” I thought her answer was going to be a lot different as we went trick or treating for hours but goes to show money cannot buy happiness. Yesterday was amazing. We went to a BYOP party: Bring Your Own Pumpkin party. The lady that runs the party from her house on the lake has this annual party where the town comes together and a contest takes place: who can make the best contraption to get a pumpkin from point A to point B. I was shocked by the amount of work people put into their pumpkin throwing machines. I wish I knew an engineer because next year I plan to be in this competition. Four hours of throwing pumpkins, eating, and playing with tons of kids who had a blast throwing pumpkins once the contest was over and then running down the hill collecting the pumpkins and throwing them again. At one point Kayci and the kids she was playing with decided to just throw those pumpkins into the lake. Yes, I was one of those children and it felt great to release any tension by throwing the crap out of pumpkins and laughing until my stomach hurt. It was a day to remember and I know Kayci won’t remember these things as I do but she did not receive a gift or a treat yesterday. She got the gift of spending the day outside throwing pumpkins and being her true self. I got that exact gift as well.