...and so therefore I still have this website.
I had forgotten I had it.
I suppose there was a part of me, somewhere in the back of my mind, the part of me that creates and writes and has things to say, that part of me still knew this was here. The me right now, the me that is doing my darndest to merely EXIST, had forgotten. Right now I think about things like, "How old is that deli meat and if I eat it will I die?" or "Ramen noodles four nights in a row is an adventure!" or "Let's turn this 'how in the HELL does MARTA work for anyone in real life?' into a game!"
So, when the $50 annual charge from Squarespace showed up in my bank account I thought, "Well. There's that. Now what?"
This time last year I was blissfully unaware of what was about to come. There had been trouble in my marriage but I thought, like all marriages, that we were going to come through it. I was terrified of the fact that I was turning 37 soon. I really thought I wasn't going to make it.
I was preparing for my play, "The Vitreous Humor." I had scratched most of what I had written and was starting over. I was crawling out of my skin. I was a wreck. But I had my family. I had security. I had the love of my life. I was going to be okay. We were going to be okay.
I am sitting on a front porch in Kirkwood, a neighborhood in Atlanta. It's the front porch of a house where I have stayed for eight months now. A little apartment in an old house. The people who live downstairs rent rooms by the month. My brother, Asa, and I are roommates. We just recently found out that there is a coin laundry in the basement that we can use. That was a happy day -- we had been going to the Medlock Laundry to wash clothes. What a luxury it is to be able to walk downstairs and wash clothes in the same place where one lives!
My youngest son, Hawke, right now is inside with Asa. They are watching something on YouTube and laughing. I can hear them. Laughing.
I do not have my piano here. My soul carries that like an anchor. I play my guitar but it is still foreign to me, even after 17 years of playing. My piano is where I think. My piano is where I go.
I do not know how to stop loving my Beloved. I love him more than I have words for. Even now, after all the hurts, after all the "time to move on's", the sight of him lights me up. Everyday I send him all the love I have. I imagine it shooting up out of me and making its way to him, wherever he is, and misting all around him.
Happy. I want him to be happy. If that is without me, then so be it. I love him anyway. I choose him anyway. My husband is the best person I know. He outstanding among 10,000. He is my favorite adult. I love him no matter what. Ever and always.
Throughout all of this though, I have also learned to choose myself. I know that I am strong. I know that I am more than the mistakes that I have made. Somedays, like today, days when it feels like life can't get any worse, I breathe deeply. I hold gratitude close and closer. I pick up each little joyful and beautiful moment and I dwell on that.
I was never taught how to do that before. I am teaching myself now. I spent too much of my life allowing my pain to control me. Allowing my fear and my anger to rule me. No more.
I can feel the tension in my brain. The tension of the stress and the hurt and the pain and the longing for my family. I feel that I walk a tightrope of just barely making it. That there is an abyss on either side of me that would be so easy to fall into. So I will myself to keep my eyes on the other side.
I believe in myself. I must. When I am old, I will be able to look back and say, "Shit was fucked up. In my pain and ignorance and pride I ruined so much. But I did not give up. I did not lose hope. I hung on."
My friends, we are more than our mistakes. We are more than what people say or think we are. And when someone who knew me then walks up to me with the old clothes I once wore and tries to put them on me again, I will smile and decline and I will love them anyway. I will choose to love myself anyway.
And if, when you see me next, and you ask how I am doing, and tears spring to my eyes unbidden, don't worry. You see, I have so many tears I spent so many years trying to hide, that I give them all the freedom in the world now.
It's not you; it's me. And I'm okay with me.
What about you? Are you okay with you? Is there a someone, or people in your life, who are still trying to put you in your old clothes?
(Quite a few of you have written saying that you'd like to help. Two months ago, when I was laid off from my job, I started a GoFundMe campaign, which was/is very humbling. Friends and family rallied around me and raised over $3000. Now with my car breaking down with a $2800 repair bill AND my expensive electric bike being stolen this past Saturday, any little bit extra can help. All money is going towards my car repair bill.)