Ren’s Reason Five

A hot shower

When little else could offer relief from my pain, a hot shower provided an escape and some comfort. I could close the bathroom door and shut the world out. I could feel the aches in my body ease. I still take long, hot showers, and no one can rush me through them. It’s my time to tune out the world, explore my thoughts, and unwind.

Ren’s Number Four

My best friend

My best friend Qing Qing is like a sister to me. We have been best friends since middle school, for more than thirteen years. She would visit me when I felt too sick to leave my house. She introduced me to Mandarin pop music, bubble tea, and is the only one who understands my undying love for the Korean boy band BigBang.

Ren’s Number Three

My brother.

 When I was four and my mother told me my parents were having a baby, I insisted from the start it was a boy. I said that I would call him Wallet. My parents didn’t take my suggestion, and went with “Jonathan” instead. My brother did not speak much as a baby. I did all the talking for him. My brother and I watched anime together, played video games together, dueled with Yugioh decks we built from trips to the local comic book store. My brother is smart and funny and kind, and I want to see where life takes him.

Ren’s Reason Two

My dad

Dad used to drive every week, two hours one way and two hours back again to pick me up from my college in East Tennessee and take me home for the weekend. I was too sick to drive. The unhealthy food at my school and my pain-related depression didn’t help. So every Friday afternoon, Dad would be there, waiting to help me put my suitcase in the car and drive me home. Every Sunday, we would head back, stopping at the nearest Publix half an hour away from my school to stock my fridge for the week. After my surgery, Dad brought me my favorite soup from the nearest Olive Garden, half an hour from where we lived.

Ren’s Reason One

My mom. 

My mom is the one who stayed up late at night researching my chronic pain symptoms online, trying to find any sort of answer that would help me. My mom is the one that told me after my surgery that I should never be embarrassed by the scars my hysterectomy left. They are my battle scars, and I should be proud because I fought my condition and I won. She was at my side through every stage.

Why Ren Ellis Made Her List

There was a time in my life when chronic pain was the center of my focus, the center of my days, and my central reason for considering suicide. Three years after my chronic pain ended with a hysterectomy, I know that even the darkest of times can come to an end.

If my 25-year-old self could speak to my younger, suffering self, would I tell her the same words others told me then, though they brought no comfort at the time?

“Hold on. Things will get better. I promise.”

I didn’t believe those words in the midst of my pain. If you are contemplating suicide, you probably don’t believe them either. After all, life offers no guarantee of improvement. So I offer these words instead: there is beauty in the world worth living for.

Even when depression and hardship blur that beauty or mute its colors, remember the good things in the world, including the little things. These are my 25 ”reasons” for finding beauty in this life.