Today is my 33rd birthday. And as such, because I'm so deeply devoted to the wild and unencumbered waves of feelings sloshing around in the sea that is my heart, I'm sitting down in the recesses of my mind to address all that this past year has been to me. I'm taking some time to sit quietly with what I've been feeling.
And so I have to ask myself: over the course of this past year, was I grateful? Was I patient? Was I present? Was I understanding in the face of adversity and did I remember to consider myself blessed in spite of any difficulties I was up against? No, not always. Sometimes not at all.
Really, I treated this year like garbage.
I was out last night with Daryl's family, and as we were sitting around the grill in my mother-in-law's backyard, I was asked to name the highlight of my year. My immediate inner reaction was utter nothingness; I was at a total loss. So when I hemmed and hawed, they said okay, fine; name the top 10 best moments, if it was too difficult to choose just one.
I was totally stuck, though; not because I couldn't narrow it down, but because I couldn't think of one single good or great or noteworthy moment out of my past year. And in retrospect, I mean, can you believe that?? I balked at the idea that anything wonderful had happened to me - because all I could think about was my lost baby. My dead child. My second little love, who made a home with me, in me, and then was gone so quickly. It's all I could think about - and feels like all I've ever been able to think about over the course of this past year.
My baby. (Why did you have to go?)
So Daryl helped me; he so swiftly and beautifully swooped in and reminded me of all kinds of magic that fell into my lap over the course of this past year; I took two trips to the east coast, I swam in the ocean with my family, I saw my sisters, my niece, and my beloved brothers-in-law...
I wept while James Taylor sang to me in the wintertime, and I moved to the powerful voices of Hozier and Asgéir in the spring.
I banded my arm with my beautiful gorge bleu à miroir - a symbol of my strength, my bravery and my power - when I drove myself seven hours to Chicago, and then on to Milwaukee, on a courageous solitary sojourn.
I SAW MY DAD, for God's sake.
There were things - all these things - that happened to me. Things that I completely swept under the rug so that I could devote all my attention to my little lost one.
I spent so much time over this past year feeling like I'd been cheated. And, in all honesty, there's not a part of me that doesn't still feel that way. But I waded through 32 feeling spat on, stolen from, cheated, and walked all over.
But 32, I have to tell you now: you were nothing but gracious to me. You were kind, you were present, and you always had your hand outstretched. It was my grievous error for throwing you to the dogs and acting as though you were never there for me.
Perspective can be a tangled and twisted bitch, can't it? So can our own justified feelings - all kinds of feelings that conflict with one another. I can't expect to step too far outside of my own box here, but I realize at the very least that I'm equal parts stuck between a rock and a hard place, and entirely blessed to have what I do. Things are not as bad as they seem, even when they are exactly as bad as they seem.
So I owe this year an apology, and a reassessment.
I mean, my God. I could reduce myself to a pool of tears over how lucky I am to have lived each and every day of my life here on this earth; both the arduously painful ones, and the overwhelmingly beautiful ones. I've sauntered through unendingly mundane moments, and I've laughed my way through some of the most glorious ones.
I'm sitting here channeling my inner Anne Lamott in reminding myself just how beautiful this life is, how blessed we are to be here together - all of us - regardless of our seemingly insurmountable pain and suffering. There is joy to be found, there is humour waiting to be acknowledged, and there is love abounding all around us.
Friends, family, I am madly in love with you. Life, I am endlessly grateful for you. Body, breath, heart, keep moving and beating.
My 34th year's going to be better, because I will it to be.