My name is Caitlin Elizabeth Thomas, and I Choose To Live. Like everyone, I have had my fair share of heartache. I have seen tough times and felt pain. There were even days when I wondered why life was worth living. I can remember being 16 years old, looking in the mirror and absolutely hating the person who was looking back at me. I hated my body, I hated the way my hair fell, I hated my crooked smile, and I hated that I couldn't find anything good about myself. I struggled with eating regularly and always wished I could just be someone else. I wasn't happy, and I always thought there was nothing I could do about it. But, I have since learned that I was wrong.
I ended up going to church one day, and I can't completely remember what it was, but something awoke inside of me. I heard the congregation sing "I know that my Redeemer lives" and my heart was instantly filled with so much love and compassion I thought that I would burst. I began to cry as instantly God's love for me filled up my whole being. I didn't feel alone, I didn't feel unloved, and I felt absolutely beautiful in that small moment.
I have since learned that being happy is a choice. I could continue to hate my body, or I could learn to embrace it and take care of it. I could continue to wallow in self-pity or I could stand up and help make someone else feel better. These are all choices we get to make. At 16 I was miserable because I couldn't get out of myself. But, here I stand at (almost) 23 years old and more hopeful than ever. I choose to live for those I love and for those who love me. Living life to its fullest potential is not something that only some people get to do during this life- it is a choice we can all make.