A little bit about my name: Sunshine. It is a bright word, one that brings warmth and happiness to anyone it reaches. A little bit about the irony in this: I am anything but. It is perhaps worth noting that my grade school nickname was Stormcloud, a much more fitting name if you were to ask me. As an ode to one of my favorite bands, my bright is too slight to hold back all my dark. I should be ashamed of myself, that's what you told me. It was the first time anyone had ever said that to me and yet I felt myself overwhelmed by the realization that I have never *stopped* feeling ashamed of myself, both for the things that I have done, and the things that I haven't. Ashamed of every time I've dropped the ball. Ashamed of every time I've made a mistake. Ashamed of every bad mark I've ever received on my schoolwork. Ashamed that I'll never compare to my younger cousin who is my superior in everything that makes a person "good." Ashamed that I will never be able to express these feelings well enough to ever be considered a writer. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me... That's what they say, and yet these words, like an arrow through the back by the people who never thought I'd hear them, are all that echo through my mind in the quiet of the night, when all else is so silent you could hear a pin drop - or a needle through the heart. In spite of having grown up with extreme privilege and luck, the fruit of life is a bitter one, and in the wake of tragedy has been but a crushing series of successions meant to devour one piece of my spirit after another, until there's nothing left to feel but regret and disappointment. Ah, yes. A disappointment. This I have proved myself to be, and watching the sun rise up over the mountains this morning I find myself wondering yet again if I will ever learn to be something worth being proud of. (In all my studies I still have yet to find the solution for this.) In order to navigate this world properly I have tried to paint myself as kinder, more selfless, giving. Mindful. Always remember, present moment thinking. Life is short, this I know, and nobody lives forever. Forgive and forget. I know, I know. My life here is constantly ticking away and who knows how much more time I have left to borrow before my debt must be repaid. Still, somehow, every waking moment seems to stretch on for an eternity when you're busy counting all the ways you've failed other people (though mostly yourself.) Caught between the crosshairs of anxiety and despair, I have long since come to terms with the fact that my heart will never be big enough to fill my grandfather's shoes. A little bit about my name: Sunshine. Did you know know that the reason the moon shines is because it's surface reflects light from the sun? Even at its darkest hour, the world is illuminated by the light of the moon, serving as a little bit of hope for those of us staring up at the sky night after night, always in search of a sign that we're doing something right. I am writing this not to seek the comfort of others (but you'll have to forgive me as I've always had a flare for the dramatic) but to implore each and every one of you to find that little bit of brightness in yourself and hold onto it, cherish it and nurture it as best as you can. If not for you, do it for the people who love you, for the strength of unconditional love is a truly unfathomable thing. Stormcloud. Dark. This is who I am, and who I am always going to be, but what little brightness that I have in me I will do my best to share with as many people as I can reach. To those whose journeys are traveled by the light of the moon, carry on. Each and every step you take brings you closer to the things that lie ahead of you - an unpaved path full of possibilities that has yet to be forged by you. Decide what it is that you want out of life and do it; hold nothing back, you've got to give your dreams everything they've got, lest they remain that way for life. If there is one thing I've learned it's that you have to keep moving forward, because sometimes it is the only thing that you can do. And maybe one day we'll all be basking in the sunlight together, asking ourselves why we ever doubted our inner-brilliance and how truly indestructible we were the whole time.