This one is for my friends, who've walked with me through it, and who made it worth surviving, especially: Liz, Lela, Martha, Dee, Sue, Billy, Lori, PJ, JaNell, Jay, Hilde and Walker.
And for all the wonderful, gorgeous, amazing people on Xanga who've stuck it out with me and shared your love, encouragement and experience with such honesty and wisdom.
I love you.
"I was sneezed out by a lion
and put in a bag,
where I heard,
If you're a lion cub,
tear the bag.
This is a thing I've said recently to myself, to my therapist and to friends:
"You know how you say, 'Someday we'll look back on all this and laugh?'
I will never look back on this year and laugh."
A year is ending for me.
The standard year follows a solar calendar, and begins and ends near the winter solstice. But as a practitioner of a Celtic pagan path, my year follows a lunar calendar, and ends and begins at Samhain, the festival that is now celebrated as Halloween.
It's the time when the world hangs in balance, when the normal laws of life are disrupted. Time is suspended, and the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. Life and death engage in an intimate dance. The spirits of the dead are honored, and journeys may be made between what was and what will be. It's a time of power. A time of chaos. A time of turning.
It's the time when my life began to change, a year ago.
Something profound began then--a shifting of the tectonic plates of my truest being.
This has been the second most devastating year of my life.
I confronted the deepest and most terrible of my childhood abuses.
I bought a beautiful new house, and then had to move out of it a month later.
I faced the death of my marriage as I knew it.
I faced the death of my dreams.
I faced the death of a good and beautiful close friend.
I lost someone else I loved very, very much.
I have been in such agony for months that I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't work, and had to take three different kinds of medication just to get through the day.
I have been suicidal.
I've taken huge risks and lost.
I've started smoking again.
I've written almost nothing of what I hoped to write.
I have faced the worst of my self-hatred and fears achingly alone at night in a room in a house not my own.
I've cried so hard and so much that I've literally become dehydrated.
I have been to the places where even tears won't come.
But, like a dance between death and life, there is another year that happened to me at the same time.
This year, I have also:
Been loved without question, without judgement and without demand by friends when I was at my very worst, was desperately needy, and had absolutely nothing to give.
Found and made new friends I love deeply and will cherish always.
Taken huge risks and won.
Been given the gift of a roommate who is one of the most beautiful, genuine, and generous women it has ever been my privilege to know.
Written hard things that were true.
Confronted my parents about my childhood and survived it just fine.
Travelled and spent some of the most fantastic times of my life with some incredible friends.
Faced down my demons and won.
Created a beautiful new little "home" in a Room of My Own.
Learned that I can survive being alone.
Lost the weight I wanted to lose, kept it off, and finally love the way I look.
Bought some rocking new clothes and found the perfect hair color (at last!)
Gone dancing again for the first time in years and lost my mind in the sheer joy of it.
Taken hold of other dreams with a firm, determined grip.
Gotten over my intimidation of "the City" and found terrific new places to go and things to do.
Learned something about trusting the divine in my life that can never be taken from me again.
Learned something about trusting myself that I will never lose.
Laughed as hard as I've cried, and nearly as often.
Truly begun to move beyond the pain and damage of my past.
Reunited with my estranged baby brother.
Been stunned at my own strength.
Learned so much about who I am that I will never be the same.
And learned to love the woman I've discovered in me like I've never been able to before in my life.
So I don't think I'll ever look back on this year and laugh.
I've just realized what I believe I'll look back on this year and say:
It was the year I was truly born.
As my friend Martha said to me:
"You're in the birthing room.
And birth is not pretty. It's bloody and messy and agonizing, and you think you're never going to survive it.
But you will.
And I'm going to be right here with you until it's over.
And then the magic happens."
And so she was. And others.
And so it's been.
And so I will.
And then the magic happens.