I heard from someone on facebook the other day that referenced my high school years and expressed admiration for my confidence as an out lesbian at that time. I was grateful for the interaction and quite taken aback that my abject misery during those years went hidden from everyone. At 17, I felt like one big blob of hurt and anger and depression and hopelessness. I’ve done my best to forget those heartbreaking years. When I start remembering even a little bit of that time, anger starts flowing into the mental cracks and colors everything a lovely shade of black. I go back to practicing self-care as quickly as possible and eventually, the anger subsides. Perhaps the anger is a defense against a whole shitload of other emotions that lie underneath. Perhaps all the pain is stuffed in a mental garbage disposal that can only be cleaned out by turning it on and churning that shit right down the drain. And perhaps . . . Perhaps all those rotten things can be used as compost for growth. One day soon, I will look in there and start the process of turning all of it into a useful tool. Today, it’s enough to know that I control the process and random blasts from the past are more than welcome. Indeed, my gratitude for the woman who contacted me is immense. She helps me tease out good memories from the detritus, whether she knows it or not. Thank you, southern lady.