The white picket fence. The symbolic representation that life is perfect from the outside. It told a story. A story that I so wanted my life to be, but it wasn’t. And I couldn’t figure out WHY. I had everything, or so I thought I did. Big house, country club, a perfectly manicured lawn…all of the things you’d think would make you feel happy, but I didn’t. And instead of doing anything about it, I figured something was wrong with me. I sleepily walked through life, half there, half somewhere far, far away. I started looking around and everyone else seemed so happy, so put together, just so TOGETHER period and it only made me wonder more about myself. I found myself trying to keep up. I smiled. I laughed at all of the jokes at the right times. I wore the right clothes. I kept up appearances and I was absolutely and utterly exhausted inside. I found myself daydreaming for a means of escape between the narrow slits in that white picket fence, wading through the grass of that perfect yard. The grass had become too tall for me and it felt like weeds were circling my ankles, like I’d never get out so I just stayed and stayed. I slept walk through my life for a very, very long time, feeling ashamed that this wasn’t enough for me. Damn me for not being happy. Yes, I stayed and mentally bashed myself for not being enough on so many levels until one day I didn’t stay anymore. I left and here I am. No white picket fence. And as hard as it has been, as hard as the lessons have been and will continue to be, I feel more alive now than I ever did before. I FEEL again. And my feelings are raw and hard much of the time. It’s not all rainbows and daisies. It is real life.