I had a hard day yesterday.
Yesterday, I was reading a report which brought up a whole host of memories of very difficult things. And then I looked at the calendar, and all of a sudden realised that those very difficult things happened exactly six years ago today.
I emailed my boss (who sits opposite me), and told him I was struggling. He pulled me aside, told me off for apologising for the tenth time that day, and told me to "put away the damn report" for the time being, and deal with it at another time. "Look at something else, Alice. While we have a particular affinity for issues that have affected us directly, I do not need you doing this today, certainly not tomorrow, or until you are ready to do it."
My boss is a very compassionate man, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
But in having this conversation, I realised how far I have come. How much stronger I am now than I was six years ago. Mama spoke to E a few days after I saw him, and he told her that I'm "the best I've seen her in a long time". I am so much more capable now of dealing with the things life throws at me. Before, I completely shut down. There was no part of me that could cope with the things that were going on six years ago. But now I can at least try to deal with the things life throws in my path.
And while I will never again be the girl I was seven, ten, fourteen years ago- now, I know that even when things get really, really difficult, there is a now small part of me which will not give up. I have dealt with some incredibly incredibly difficult things in my life- as we all have, really- but I am still here. I'm still walking tall, and smiling, and laughing. I haven't given up on the world. I may be cynical, but I still believe that people are good, that things can change, and that the world may be a difficult place but nothing so far has been insurmountable.
I am so much stronger than I ever really knew I could be.
And if that night six years ago had not happened, I would not be who I am today.