I have a question in mind: What events in my life have radically altered me? A few come to mind very quickly, and then a few more get added, followed by more. So let’s just list them. They are not in any particular order of importance. They simply came to me this way.
Getting sober: really, without that, I have nothing. I was a daily drunk by the time I was twenty years old. My doctors have all said I was probably just self-medicating. Whatever the reason, as I thought it took the misery away, alcohol filled me with despair beyond description. Only in sobriety did I learn that it caused the misery.
Coming out of the closet: any GLBT person will tell you this changes everything. It freed me. And in the end, it led to my divorce. It gave me power, and it filled me with pain. Any GLBT person will also tell you that coming out is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. I took me five or six years to get comfortable with being gay, and another five years to become really happy about it.
The birth of my children: what parent isn’t radically altered by a birth? While there have been fits along the way, my children are central to the joy I have in my life today.
Being an exchange student: I spent my junior year of college abroad, and I have never looked at the world in the same way since. I see the diversity and truly love it. It wasn’t until I was submerged in a foreign land that I really understood what it meant to be from my home country.
Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder: a year and half after I got sober, I had a breakdown. It was painful and baffling. I at once knew that something was wrong, but couldn’t for the life of me bring myself to believe that it had something to do with my brain. I was furious with God and could not pray. Over the past years, much of what I had has been stripped away from me because of the disease. I hate mental illness. I hate what it does to people. I hate what it does to caregivers and loved ones. I hate how poorly it is understood by society. I hate it. At the same time, I have people in my life who truly care about me and whom I love. I have access to case workers, therapists, doctors, and medications that work. I am very lucky to be living with this disease in the present and not the past.
There are a few things that I think qualify as radically altering my world.