As I sit here at the coffee shop, I realize I am alone. Both physically and emotionally I feel so alone, alone and pathetic. I see all these happy faces around me, sharing appetizers and laughs. I sit quietly, with my black coffee in hand. I was too scared to order that cappuccino I really wanted. I’m sad and a little scared. Of what, I’m not sure.

Monday

A day full of appointments and meetings ahead of me… I sound so sophisticated, don’t I? To the casual passerby, I might appear as a young woman studying diligently for a midterm, or preparing for an important meeting at her work, or collecting herself for an interview.

The people talking and laughing around me wouldn’t know that my day full of appointments aren’t related to school or work. They don’t know that all my appointments are with doctors. That all my meetings are with a therapist and therapy groups. They don’t know what a week in my life is like.

Oh, what fun it is to be me. I wished so badly today and all other days that I could be normal.

What is normal? Not having to get my vitals checked every week, or an updated meal plan, or to try to condense my life into a two hour session with random strangers. Normal to me is like the setting on the dishwasher. Nothing spectacular or intense. Just simple. I just want my life to be simple.

Currently, I’m surviving on caffeine and self-loathing. I’m kidding. I’m actually thriving on caffeine and sarcasm. I’ve been quite the smart ass today, , which is every day.

While writing this, I’m still taking everyone around me in. The woman sitting across from me looks pretty, dressed up you could say. “Maybe she’s waiting on a first date,” I think to myself, smiling. “How nice is that?”

Next to me are a group of guys drinking beer. (Yes, I am at a coffee house that serves beer. And wine. Genius idea. I know you’re wishing you thought of it first.)

I imagine they are badgering one another on who killed it in their fantasy football league this week, or how many girls’ numbers they got at the bar on Saturday night.

And here I sit, alone, with my sad coffee and even sadder eyes. I wonder if these humans around me notice me like I have them.

I honestly don’t know how my mom did it. For years, she would be by herself while my dad deployed over and over again overseas. My other half has gone out sea, and I suddenly realize how hard it is. I have the utmost respect for her right now. She is the anchor for the family. Kudos to you, mama. You will never know how much your strength has inspired me.

Strength.

I have to be strong. I am strong. I have strength. Strength is going about your day, acting as if you are fine. Getting out of bed, every day, is strength. Living every day, not just existing, is strength.

So when I tell myself that I am strong, I don’t say it to pat myself on the back. I don’t mean it to sound braggy. I don’t think I am stronger than anyone else, or better.

No, I have to say it. I have to be strong, because I am in the midst of my own survival.

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