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Tiny Beautiful Things

CW: homicide, loss, grief. 

Last night I was soooo happy to see Tiny Beautiful Things streaming on Hulu. 

I absolutely adore Cheryl Strayed’s work since I read her memoir, Wild. It talks about the loss of her mom and the incredible grief journey she went on. Some of it hits too close to home for me, but it was beautiful and heartbreaking and tragic. 

After I read Wild, I read Tiny Beautiful Things, Advice on Love & Life from Dear Sugar. I want to reread it again because I don’t remember much except that I wept while reading it several times. 

The quote above about the purple balloons has always stuck with me and makes me cry just reading it. I never got tangled up with heroin, but what left me feeling undeserving of tiny, beautiful things was my survivor’s guilt. 

Because I got away and my mom did not, I hated myself for years. I felt like I did not deserve to live. How could I run away and leave her? She would have never left me. When the police came in and found her she was saying my name. She was unable to move after being stabbed so many times, but she never stopped thinking of me. 

Of course I was thinking of her too. I thought she was some sort of superhero and if I could get away, surely she could too. I was hiding behind some random car in someone’s driveway down the road wondering if this was real or a nightmare, but she was always on my mind. 

It didn’t help that everyone I knew would say things like “If that was me, I would have hit the murderer with a lamp” etc etc. Anything to take her down. Those thoughts never occurred to me at that moment. I did not feel in control of my body or what was happening, it just did what it did to survive without any help or thinking on my part. 

It took me years and years of therapy to get over my survivor’s guilt. 

For many years I’d try to sleep hoping God would take me by morning. I would pray somehow, someway, just take me. I couldn’t stand the thoughts I had for the way the night turned out. 

The murderer had been after me, and my mom was the one who died. It was not fair. 

I could trace this survivor’s guilt back to many unfortunate events in my life. Not feeling deserving of love and care, comfort and security. 

Maybe I wasn’t ready for it anyway. My therapist at the time would suggest I get stuffed animals and cozy blankets to try and help ease my nightly ptsd attacks. I would get them and then throw them on the floor in anger. How could something like this help me at all? I’d think while I cried. 

Now those things help me tremendously. I had to learn that I can accept comfort. I can have tiny, beautiful things in my life. It’s ok, I am deserving. 

One of the first times I felt deserving of care was on the way home from a trip to Boston. I was on a plane and having terrible sub-drop. My friend Janet told me to go buy a blanket from one of the stores in the airport. She also told me to get a stuffed animal. I would have never thought of these things. Kink really taught me a lot about myself and my life, but that will be a post for another day. 🙂 

I also had a weird relationship with “stuff”. I could never feel comfortable in the places I was staying or like they were home. Home was where bad things happened. I had to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice, no time for “stuff”. 

Now I am unashamed that I LOVE STUFF. I have hello kitty figurines all over the place, crystals, and too many blankets to count. Why? Because they bring me joy and help me feel connected to my space. 

What changed was that I forgave myself. I accepted that I did the best I could in the moment. I realized she would want me to live with joy and ease. If a little girl handed me a purple balloon (my favorite color, btw), my mom would want me to take it. I have a right to tiny, beautiful things, I have a right to life. It took me 15 years or so, but I am so grateful to be here. 

Thanks for listening to today’s ramble. See you tomorrow.

If you like my blog, please consider joining me on Patreon to see my exclusive blog posts. I hope to see you there! Thank you for reading. 


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