I remember the first time I realized I was alive, and living. We grow up, raised to be aware that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide; this is how we are considered alive. We are told as kids that to stay living we must regularly eat and drink and exercise. Up until I was about 13 I believed that was the sum of alive and living; staying healthy. In middle school I was told that there were people, people who could possibly be sitting right beside me that survived off of drugs instead of food and others who ate nothing and some who purposefully hurt themselves, and that these people were both alive and living. I couldn’t believe there was such thing. To realize the possibility of being sad, hungry and hateful was normal and increasing at rapid amounts inside of people I knew. I didn’t believe this, I figured the people who did these things made it up, said it for attention. These official lady’s were lying, my aunt was not depressed there was not such a thing. “It’s not hard to be happy” I would say. “It’s not hard to eat” I would tell my friend at lunch as she stared at her food. “It’s not hard to love yourself” I would tell myself a year later as I stared at myself in the mirror watching my tears race the makeup down my face.
I remember I was at the park by my friends’ house, she was talking non-stop about eighth grade graduation and I stopped her mid sentence, “Can you believe we are alive? That we can at any moment end our life?” She stopped her swing as mine got higher and I continued “We were made by these two people who came together and had sex and then we were carried around in this lady’s stomach for nine months, then thrown into the world whether the people who made us wanted us or not we ended up here and they are now deemed responsible for us.” My friend had looked at me like I was crazy “Uhm yea that is how the world works” there was an awkward silence and I began talking again “We are living, If you make a choice to push me off my swing right now, I will fall and get hurt because I am alive and there is nothing that the people who made me can do about your choices. Hell, there is nothing they can do about mine either.” That day on the swings in the park I realized I was alive and I have choices that will affect not only me but the people surrounding me and there is nothing anybody can do about those choices I make.
That was the day I believe I became reckless. The day I realized I was alive, and living.