Life is hard. That’s just what we signed up for. At least, that’s what I believe. We go through our lives almost absent-mindedly, searching for something that we don’t really know, unable to really put our finger on exactly what we’re searching for. I remember, years ago, I sat on the front porch with my mom in the summer while the sprinklers ran, and we watched in silence for a few minutes. Then I said something.

“I’m on a quest, Mom. I don’t know what that quest is, but I’m on a quest, and I’m searching for something, and hopefully I’ll find it someday.”

She told me that she was happy with that, proud of me, and would aid me in my ‘quest’. That was when I was nineteen and told that I was in Congestive Heart Failure and not only needed a heart transplant but a liver transplant as well. Multiple organ transplant survivors are relatively unheard of, and the ones with my specific condition…let’s just say there is a zero percent margin of life after the transplant happens. But I didn’t look at it as the end of my life. Sure, I was pretty immature at nineteen, but I had realized after a lot of crying and facing one of my deepest fears that I was on a quest. Perhaps it is to obtain something. Perhaps it is to help someone I haven’t met yet. It’s four years later and I still haven’t figured it out. But I think it’s important for us to be on these quests, journeys, and such because we need to be moving in someway, otherwise we stay where we are and become stagnant.

Ever since that day, I’ve accepted that I’m a free soul who looks at the trees at twenty-three years of age in the summer and imagines being a little fairy with red hair and a dress, sitting on the branch, playing a flute made from a piece of grass and singing with the birds. Or, while my mom drives, I imagine myself flying through the cloudless sky with wings like a bird. When I see parks with children playing, I imagine running through the grass barefoot, and feeling the earth against my skin. It has been these little daydreams that have kept me going during the harsh realities of my life.

In the last four years since I’ve needed a transplant (I still technically need one but I’m not on the list because my health is significantly better) I have faced countless of my deepest fears, and I’ve begun to wonder if I’ll face all of my greatest and deepest fears before I die. If so, I’ve accepted it. I’m okay facing my deepest fears, because I have really matured. Even since getting my foot run over by a car tire that wasn’t even a week ago, I’ve changed. Some of my deepest fears that I’ve faced is betrayal from lifelong friends, being alone, facing suicide, facing transplant, sending my mom to the Emergency Department knowing good and well that I may never see her again, speaking my darkest secrets and facing my deepest pain from the depths of my mind that have popped up since the pain of that tire running over my foot. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that once I get injured, it all comes back. I can pretend it doesn’t exist for long, but once I get injured or sick, it all comes back.

First of all, I had a wonderful childhood. I was a happy and free child that ran in the grass, ate worms, and gorged on chicken nuggets at McDonald’s. But my childhood was far from perfect. I have faced so much violence in my life, and some memories of that violence had been long buried deep beneath my everyday thoughts. In short, I forced myself to forget. I remember being chased by someone I love who had a screwdriver and slamming my door against them, trying not to get hurt. I remember that same person pulling a scarf tight around my throat so I couldn’t breathe (I don’t wear scarves anymore; I don’t care how cold it is). I remember a ‘friend’ preying on me when I was eleven years old and he was sixteen. Thankfully that type of abuse didn’t go further than inappropriate topics and him crossing my boundaries, but it was still scarring. All of these things have come back to me since my foot got ran over, and I face the reality that I need to go to therapy when I can to try and understand these things that happened to me, and why they happened to me.

I remember hating everyone. I hated every single person on this planet and trusted no one – save for my mother. She is the only one I have always – and will always – trust and love. The hatred is gone now, but I still think about that day outside, watching the water sparkle in the grass in the sunlight and telling my mom about my quest. I still wonder what that quest is. But I find myself to be a free spirit who loves fantasy and children’s books, and I know that whatever this quest is, I’ll discover it someday, and I’ll make it. Though I’m tired, I still fight and I still try. But sometimes exhaustion can beat a person to their knees. That’s why I pray. When life beats you to your knees, pray. That’s my little piece of advice.

So, in this long-winded and jumbled up message, I hope that I made sense. I’m still on that quest, and I’m finding out more about myself, little by little, every single day. I love who I am, and I wouldn’t change myself for the world.