"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You Never Know

I remember this day last year vividly. I woke up slightly relieved. Relieved that Christmas day—the whole season-- was over. I knew there would be remnants of holiday commercials laced with caroling voices, knew that all the decorations in my neighborhood wouldn’t be down just yet, but I knew that at least the day had passed.

I spent last Christmas on my own at my house. Friends had generously offered me multiple invitations, but the thought of feeling like a third wheel was a little overwhelming. While I have friends that are very much like family to me—spending the holidays with a happy couple or family has sometimes in the past left me walking away realizing with a deeper clarity than I would have liked exactly what I do NOT have. And also, I am quite certain I wouldn’t have been the best person to be around even on the best day at that time. It was tough all the way around.

So I suffered through the weeks leading up to Christmas, stayed away from the general public as much as possible, watched DVDs almost constantly to avoid holiday programming and hunkered down to wish it all away. On Christmas Eve, I went to bed early, but still managed to sleep through most of Christmas day, which had been my plan. Go to sleep, wake up, and it’s not a holiday season anymore. It is just another Friday.

A dear friend, who is like my second mother—well she isn’t “like”—she IS my second mother—told me on this day last year that she believed everything could turn around for me, and that this time next year the world was going to look very different. You just never know, she said.

I remember feeling sad when she said that because I was certain of so many things about my future. And I was certain she was wrong.

What is amazing about life is that there is no certainty. That is not always a good thing. We lose loved ones in the moment it takes to catch a breath…and the only certainty is that there was no time for a goodbye and they are never coming back. But the other side of the coin is that no matter how much all signs, occurrences, and logical assumptions line up—a total curveball flies into your life and everything becomes new and the path you are on was one you never could have imagined.

Stepping back, it isn’t exactly a wild curveball from nowhere. One thing leads to another in a chain of events that makes something bigger happen. But the steps are so small leading to it, and there are so many in the chain that it seems to come out of nowhere.

For more years than I can count, I wanted to be a published writer. And this year, after finding a way to pour some of my past pain onto a page, it happened. And that pain then became fuel for something that made a difference in my life—healing me in more ways than one. And then, I found and let love into my life again, which, I am here to tell you, were words I never saw myself writing, thinking or saying again (or for at least good 30 years from now).

Some of it seemed to come out of nowhere. But, the truth is, all the things that happened this year were the end result of events and choices that I couldn’t have planned better.

I brought my dog Bear into my life last January, and he became not just a pet, but a motivating being that made my heart open before all the past wounds closed it completely.

I lost my job, which devastated me, but also made me realize how many hours, days and weeks I had spent working over the last decade. Ridiculous amounts of time gone—never to be retrieved. While some of it was worth it and reasonable for my career, a great deal of it was hiding from life, and letting work be my safe place instead of how I pay the rent.

When looking back on the terrible betrayal and heartbreak I had suffered in 2008, I saw at first only that I attracted horrible people into my life, that I was not worth better, that I had failed somehow. But through all the other realizations, through writing, through friends and through time…I slowly began to understand my value—my worth.

And I found love again because I opened myself to it, and because the person I love helped me take the last steps across that bridge towards trusting myself—and someone else.

It was all a process. A crazy, painful, beautiful process. Planned and unplanned, chaotic and precise.

And more than anything today, a year later, I know this much to be true…

You never know.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I have come a long way. For years, I was afraid of the sound of my own voice, unable to trust my own instincts, or even believe in myself in moments when it seemed obvious that I was on the right track. So, yes, I am further down the path. I have taken risks—believed in my ability to recover—even thrive. I found my voice –on many levels—charting a career course I would never believed I could have—and finding my way to making some of my dreams come true. Sure, I took the long way, but I got here.

But even today, when all signs point north, when the glass is not just half full, but nearly overflowing, doubt creeps in. There is no evidence or reasoning for it. I just seem unable to trust good happening around me, for me, to me…without questioning my ability to have earned it, trust it, and most importantly, deserve it.

It isn’t a conscious choice, I don’t sit and say…let me start worrying, analyzing or doubting it all now. It is quite the opposite. It is a battle I wage against these words, the cracks that appear in the silver lining in my own mind. I fight every bad thought, every worry, every doubt with all my might. But I am fighting a formidable foe.

Everyone has some baggage, some reason that trust or love is a challenge. Everyone has been hurt. Many have childhood trauma that makes my issues pale in comparison. Not everyone has this battle with doubt to fight. Trust becomes the new frontier, the doorway to a new life, the escape hatch from the past to the present. I can only hope that this peace comes to me.

I can remember as a child seeing a large group of black birds circling in the sky—large loops of gliding motion, but even before I knew what they were and what they were doing, watching them was unsettling. Once I knew the explanation, I felt sick whenever I saw their feathered patterns in the sky…as they waited for someone or something to take its last breath, then swoop in to take everything else.

I often feel that doubt is like that for me. Circling above me, waiting for me to break, get weak, let it in. And then it swoops in, overtaking me, leaving me to do nothing but drown in it.

I want to trust with unwavering passion, to let go, leap, and not look back. I am closer than I have ever been. The space between my acceptance of something beautiful and the time the analyzing and worry begins grows farther in between.

As I stretch my soul to replace hope with doubt, I realize the myriad of emotions that accompany doubt—seemingly the same by definition, but each touching a different part of the most insecure parts of me. Fear, worry, distrust…the list goes on. To combat doubt includes confronting old patterns, past pain, and the assumptions of the worst outcome that come as easily to me as breathing.

It is a necessary fight. I honestly feel deep within me that in almost every area of my life, I am at a crossroads. I believe the paths I choose are going to be a beginning for me. I sense that I must choose so wisely, as the gifts that have been offered to me are precious. And to choose wisely I must—most of all-- trust myself. I must leave all the doubt and insecurity behind me. Easier said than done. But somewhere in me, in the part of me that is almost being reborn, I know that for the first time perhaps ever, the things that are happening are because I have been truly myself, flaws and all. So there’s no reason to doubt.

I am about to become who I have always wanted to be…and really, who I have always been.



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