Gather round, children. Let me tell you a story.
There once was a young woman who hadn’t a care in the world. She was beautiful and smart, popular and wealthy. In her closet hung clothes of only designer labels, which fit her svelte-yet-curvaceous-in-all-the-right-places-body without needing a tailor to employ. Her home glimmered sparkling white, brand new and spacious, an open floor plan with all the latest Restoration Hardware furniture tinted the same dark wood. Nary a piece was handed down or used; hell would freeze over before a mismatched pillow or mug weaseled its way into her Country Living worthy home. Every item that lined the shelves and sat upon rustic benches fit her brand: all her pillows and blankets and dishes and candles were tinted the same faded blush. When it came to life goals, every goal she had she crushed without breaking a sweat. Every six months she was promoted without asking. Her megawatt smile earned her bonuses from bosses and adoration from colleagues. By thirty, all of her career dreams had come true, and she rose to the top of that blush-colored mountain with a proud smile. She climbed and she climbed, her path linear and absent of falling rocks and mudslides. Her positive attitude and penchant for platitudes inspired envy in the hearts of others. She never complained, just kept calm and carried on, sipping her coffee and stopping for Instagram-worthy photos on sunshiny days. Every few posts, a dark cloud emerged in the sky, which meant a perfect opportunity to wear her adorable new rain boots, her eager boyfriend snapping a photo of her splashing in the rain. #learntodanceintherain she’d caption for inspiration.
Her life was perfect. She was happy—blessed—grateful. And every day was like this until she died.
Now, children, wasn’t that the most boring fucking story you’ve ever heard?
And it’s precisely because no worthy story can be told without conflict, as you know. Without obstacles hindering the track of her goals, our heroine can never grow. And without a goblin blocking the mountainous path she climbs, our heroine overcomes nothing. No triumph over darkness. No victorious defeat. Without storms to weather, our heroine’s muscles atrophy; her knees—not used to bending—break, inflexible and weak. That megawatt smile is only earned after she’s learned that happiness is a fleeting reaction to superficial experiences, and it doesn’t last. But joy—a deep peace within—is worth so much more, a gift given only after our heroine battles the trolls who obstruct her path, knocking her down, destroying her plans, kicking her with their boots of failure. It is only when she’s down that she learns how to rise again, lifting herself—or learning to ask for help—using her power to try, try again. She had always thought she was strong, but it wasn’t until she faced true pain that she learned what true strength was. Because, surely, how can she call herself strong if she’s never had to use her muscles to fight?
And she’ll go on like that for the rest of her life—rising and falling. One step forward, two steps back. She won’t accomplish all of her goals, and some of her dreams will remain merely dreams. Many a plan will go awry. But each time she’s knocked down, she jumps up quicker. She becomes resilient. When she finally crests the mountaintop, we’re moved to tears because we knew how much she endured to arrive there. How many obstacles she faced. How many goblins she fought. We applaud her, because now she’s earned it. She didn’t just arrange a few pillows in a clever design. She climbed a fucking mountain against all odds.
She would say her life never was perfect. But she knows it sure as shit wasn’t boring.