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Alicia explores the Southtowns: Gratitude for love, the rest follows

Rather than a column exploring the Southtowns, I am writing about the explorations of myself, my life and what I am most thankful for, during this holiday season. I am grateful for many things in my life; one specific does not override anything else, but these things would not exist without it. I am most grateful for love.

Without love, I would be nothing. It is what drives my very being. It is what keeps me going and maintains my daily will to live. Love has surfaced in my life, in many forms, and although doubt has attempted to break down that feeling, or build barriers around me, I continue to destroy the fear and let myself be vulnerable to one of the most powerful emotions we humans can muster.

A friend of mine once sent me a quotation that I have never forgotten. C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But, in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

With that quote, I wholly give myself to the people and things that I care about most.

My family is the most significant love in my life. My parents brought me into this crazy world, and raised me into a person I feel proud to be. They know that I am utterly weird, I talk way too much and have a tendency to be overly-emotional and they support my decisions, whether they understand them or not. We have had our struggles and troubles, but because of love, those issues were overcome and resolved.

They share my joy in times of jubilation and are there when my tears run endlessly, after another heartbreak. Rather than making me feel as though I put myself in compromising situations because of a lack of character judgement, they recognize that I let a friend or romance leave me downtrodden because I sincerely try to see the best in others. When I find myself forgetting that, and giving in to the cynicism that the world is cruel and torturous, I see myself through their eyes, and am reminded that I must never change that aspect about me. 

My relationship with my brothers is very tight. Being the middle child and only girl is no easy position, but I would not change it for the world. Peter, my oldest brother, has always been a voice of reason in my life. Vincent, “the protected species” as we call him, is one of my best friends. Without these guys, I am not sure what I would do. Familial roots are so necessary, and the wonders of these relationships are amazing.

Without love, I would not have the other non-blood related people who have come into my life. Whether they have remained or whether they have gone, each person has impacted me and changed me into the person I am today. They have helped give me the experiences I will hold on to, for the rest of my life.

I love music. I have always said that, if the world were to suddenly be wiped of music, I would no longer want to live. Songs have changed my life and concerts have moved me to the point of tears. Most of my best memories are connected to music.

In my all-time favorite film, “Almost Famous,” one of the characters talks about what it is like “to truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.” A song is a time capsule that holds vivid flashback memories; once I hit play or drop the needle, I envision who I was, where I was and what I was feeling, when I first heard that tune. My heart will sometimes become so overwhelmed that I mentally escape my body. There is a power to music that is inexplicable.

Writing is a given love in my life. It is my main vessel for expression. It has brought me ecstasy and solace. It has led me thus far, and I see myself going much farther in this realm.

I am thankful for my intuition and my life mission to search for truth. Not in the journalistic “uncovering the latest town dirt” sort of truth, but in everyday scenarios. The truth in my feelings, in others and in the meaning of it all. Trusting my gut was one of the best lessons I could have learned, and for that I am thankful.

I hold gratitude for being alive; that I have made it another year, another month, another day. That those things that did not kill me have indeed built me up, and somehow I have still maintained hope in humanity. In the past few years of my life, I have lost some dear souls. The grieving process became familiar to me and, although this is a horrible experience, it is a necessary one. Losing my loved ones has taught me, even more so, to fully live. 

People call me crazy; some have said that I am “too much.” But a friend of mine told me that I am the most passionate person she has ever met, and I should never let someone change that part about me. I am thankful that I feel emotions as strongly as I do, and I honestly would not want to be any other way. If I was, I would not be me. 

My life has never had a dull span. To say that I am thankful for that: Well, that would be an understatement.

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