I’m here because of hard work. Because my grandfather worked for the telephone company. Because my father took me to mathematics conferences and because my mother cooked for me every day.
I’m here because I learned to read early and to walk late. Because I matured quickly in some ways and slowly in others. Because I belonged in the past, or in the future, but never here. Because I wanted to grow up.
I’m here because of ignorance. Because I didn’t learn the word “fuck” until I was sixteen. Because I spent my free time reading classics and imagining that I would make the world a better place.
I’m here because of falling in love. Because of intimacy and insecurity, empathy and ego. Because of awkward first kisses. Because of staying up all night to spend a few more hours together before a flight.
I’m here because of grace. Because of college funds and un-asked-for advice. Because of a box of chocolates left on my front porch. Because of friends who texted and called even though I forgot to respond countless times.
I’m here because of fear. Because of running away. Because I didn’t want to have that conversation. Because of cowardice and a failure to leave my comfort zone. Because of a lack of confidence in my own abilities, and a lack of willpower to improve them.
I’m here because of passion. Because of 16 hour shifts that end at 7a.m. Because of holding on to the end of my rope a little longer. Because of late nights writing papers and early mornings on the bus. Because I was taught to finish what I started.
I’m here because of carelessness. Because of procrastination, whining, and complaining. Because of words spoken in anger and in manipulation. Because of budgets ignored. Because of oversleeping and overdrinking.
I’m here because of friendship. Because of laughter, the kind you can’t stop once it starts. Because of the embarrassing YouTube videos we made when we were thirteen. Because of difficult and vulnerable conversations. Because of movie marathons and wooden-spoon sword fights.
I’m here because of commitment. Because my husband walks the dog when I’m at school and tells me about the latest podcast he found. Because I put his clothes away for him and scratch his back while we’re falling asleep.
I’m here because of potential. Because I did a hand stand for the first time the other day. Because I’m more honest with myself and others than I used to be. Because I have a voice that matters but hasn’t found it’s way. Because of unborn babies, unsolved problems, unlearned lessons.
I’m here because I am. Whatever that means. And I would change things if I could, but it turns out I can’t. And perhaps that’s for the best.