Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.–Chuck Palahniuk
When we hear the word pain, most of us retract, protect ourselves. Whether this is physical protection or mental protection, it does not matter. Human nature is to protect. Yet, while I do not enjoy pain in any shape or form, I am grateful for pain. Pain has taught me lessons upon lessons. It taught me to appreciate the joy that life has to give. Nights filled with terror and screams consume most my nights. However, nights where I sleep without pain, panic, or fear, are glorious. I do not take sleep for granted. I find myself clinging to these nights. I am grateful for pain for teaching me how to love. After eight long years of chasing one boy, hearing the words “you deserve to be pitied” haunts me till this day. When I finally met a man who told me I was perfect, smart, beautiful, and kind, I knew I was loved. I looked at this man and knew he was everything I could want. The pain from that boy so many years ago made me allowed me to fully comprehend how lucky I was for finding someone who cared for me as much as he did. Pain made me appreciate every touch that did not end with the reddening of my skin. It made me grateful for every loving touch I was to feel. For me, pain is not something I fear. Pain, while unpleasant as it is, has lessons tangled within it. Experiences that show you what could and should be. Do not misunderstand me, there are lessons and pains I wish I could forget. Life has given me particular pains for which I am not grateful for. I do wish I could turn back the clock at times. Yet, if we rid ourselves from all pain, the joy and growth experienced afterward will never be found. Joy will be taken for granted and abused. Pain lives within joy and joy within pain. You can never have one without the other. So every heartache, every injury, every pain I will look for the joy that is to follow.