I got one of The Giving Keys as an early birthday gift today.
My word is HOPE.
By definition, HOPE is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large.
Anyone who actually knows my story knows that I don't come from the most perfect life. I lost my father at a young age, and my mom battled addiction for a long time (ultimately beating it). We moved around a lot, I was never in the same school for more than a few months throughout elementary school, and there were times I never even had a true "home" up until high school when I lived with my grandmother.
And, let's be clear, growing up flamboyant and gay in the heart of the south isn't exactly the easiest thing on a kid who's still finding out who he is. I was bullied some in school, at home prior to the transition to my grandmother's house, and after dance practice when I was chased around a parking lot by a truck by an unknown group of guys, scared for my life as they chanted the word "faggot" so loud.
A high percentage of openly gay teens don't graduate, but I did, twice with honors. Shortly after my high school graduation, I lost the one place and person that was consistent throughout my childhood: my grandmother's house and her too. I watched her first lose herself slowly. She passed away a few years later, and I don't think I've ever felt more lost and lonely in the world than I did that day. I could probably go on and on; however, this isn't here to be a pity post, but rather to show why HOPE and this gift mean so much to me.
I have never given up, and never will give up, HOPE, though I have been close a time or two.
I will not give up on love, on my life, on my dreams, or on my own happiness.