As I settle down in my cocoon of blankets, I find myself face to face with my plush friend . Bright blue and white grace my weary eyes; I am content with the misery of my soft friend. A white raincloud spills sad drops onto my already increasingly miserable existence. Not unlike the yin-yang in Taoism, this nefarious and threatening omen, reveals hearts scattered throughout the bright blue shower. So they say that in everything bad, there is something good; beauty in misery. Not surprisingly, Grumpy Bear, the saddest in the series of 80s childrens favorite characters, was my favorite Care Bear. I realized that he fought sadness and misery with rays of light emanating from his body; despite his sad state. This idea spilled well into my adulthood; I learned early on that happiness can be found in pain; beauty in chaos. My sad idol made a lifelong impression on me.
When I had burnt my miserable to ashes for the millionth time, I (yet again) found myself in a long term rehabilitation center. I was 20 years old. I faded away into the background of the living room scenery for yet another evening of watching sickeningly happy tv shows, permeated by the sounds of saccharinely fake laugh tracks. I was alerted by the house manager that I had a package waiting for me with the day’s mail. Surprised, he handed me a package with my mothers return address. Hastily ripping into the shiny blue and white box; I pulled out something familiar that caused my to squeal in happiness. In my hands was a brand new Grumpy Bear! She remembered! My monotonous misery was now interrupted by the realization that my mother cared so much about me that she remembered something so sentimentally important in my life. This woman, who I blamed and berated my entire life as the cause of my problems, had instantly become an example of unconditional love, kindness, and humanity.
Grumpy Bear stayed on my dingy bed, amongst ragged pillows for the rest of my stay in my rehbalition facility. I slept with a firm grip on that bear every night;it helped me deal with ravenous insomnia. I lovingly stared at that emblem of his stomach; the raincloud strewn with hearts and felt a sense of peace. Perhaps there was hope for me ,yet. Happily , this hope has come to fruition. If you are aware of my story, you know how much what this bear represented and this moment my mother gave me, is so special in my chaotic life.
Fast forward through a decade on unfathomable misery; I was blessed to meet my own human Grumpy Bear. Jack was covered in tattoos, had long hair, and was muscular; anyone would have been intimidated, but I knew his heart. This was a man who had taken a chance on someone who had a history of failure . A girl who had a history of destroying everything. This kind soul showed me that there are such courageous and truly good people that they are willing to risk everything for an underdog. I knew the man who exchanged jokes with me and sang in a falsetto voice to Taylor Swift songs; the annoying soundtrack on the speakers of worked was unfortunately seared into our brains. The burly man who invited me into his home and joined me and my friends for my birthday dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Jack opened my eyes to the fact that were people outside of your family who saw good in me; I could not see it at all in myself at that point in my life.
If someone was going to have that much faith in me; I believd perhaps I should have faith in MYSELF for once. Sometimes all you need is a few people to believe in you in order to truly believe in yourself. I found this in Jack, his wife Angie, my counselor and my family. I slowly realized that maybe if they saw strength and hope for me; that maybe they knew something I didn’t. I cannot thank them enough for showing me love and compassion, despite my penchant of inflicting horrors on their life.
Today, in the top of my closet, perched next to my Big Bird stuffed animal, sits my Grumpy Bear. When I am having rough times, I will take him off of the shelf and stare at his raincloud. I then am filled with hope.