My grandmother was a wild one. From the beginning she'd run in one door with her mother and older sisters chasing her and then dash out the other. She was a free spirit–determined, stubborn, clear-headed.

She was a natural born fighter. Tell her no, she'd tell you yes. Tell her she couldn't, she'd show you she could. No one could mess with her mind, no one was a danger to her…

Except herself.

She drank. She lost a child. And she drank. She drank. She drank. And she drank until it wasn't enough. Her own mind tore at her soul. It was as if she were her own demon raging inside herself.

My dad found her trying to hang herself when he was a boy. She wasn't successful. So many times she wanted to die, tried to die. But it never happened. She threw herself in front of an eighteen wheeler. It clipped her. She survived. She downed rat poison. She survived.

She survived through her childhood molestation. She survived through the suicides, the smoking, the drinking, the loss of her eight year old son when he was hit by a car.

She always seemed to survive.

Does it count as survival when we're physically still alive, but mentally and spiritually broken? How can it?

From the time I was a little girl I was told that I have my grandmother's ways, her stubborness, her determination, her viciousness.

Her self-destructive ways. Her inability to get close to others, to hold onto a relationship, to hold onto her tongue.

I'm a fighter. I will get beaten. I will get thrown down. I will get slammed, bruised, bloody, broken. I may even lose some of the battles. But I will never stop fighting. Even to the last shredded fingernail, I will continue to claw my way through. I will survive and I will not be broken.

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