t-minus two days and counting until the release of my book and my 32nd birthday. I just got back from a week long trip up to my second home in Oregon where two of my closest friends live. I had the immense excitement to give both of them beautiful copies of my book and show them where they have been mentioned in the acknowledgements.
Standing on the coastline of the Pacific Northwest is such a grounding and rejuvenating experience for me. My toes buried in the sand as I watch the waves ripple over and over towards the beach. Running across the sand with H gave me such a sense of belonging and of knowing the power we produce together and the incredible goals we’re reaching for too. Or sitting in front of her fireplace, both of us feeling seen as we worked through spells to reinforce and protect our very existence.
Or walking through a stunning plant store with N, knowing we only have so much time together, and by the goddess we made the ultimate most of that time!
I’ve known N for exactly 10 years, and in those 10 years, she has felt more like a sister than any of my family of origin. She was the first I called when we got my youngest’s diagnosis 6 1/2 years ago. I’ve known H for about half that time, but she has a more solid place in my life than anyone else.
I was struck by a realization that it’s been 5 months since I walked away from someone who had felt so important to me, and who also broke my heart. 3 of those months were to recover from the heartbreak, and 2 months to begin forgetting their face. They no longer occupy my dreams, and I don’t feel the burning weight of betrayal and anger-shrouded grief anymore, which is a blessed relief.
And in those 5 months, I have officially registered for summer and fall classes at my community college, finished my book, and am deeply aware of how completely I am closing the chapter on the past 10 years of my life.
10 years ago, I wrote for the first time about my parents’ abuse and used my real name on my writings. It brought so much loss into my life, but also released me from the chains keeping me confined and held back. I have lost so much over the past decade of my life. I have lost more friends than I can count. More people spat on my name and cut me off because I had the gall to speak up about the abuse I have gone through. I lost the majority of my extended family, the only exceptions being a singular cousin and 5 of my 8 siblings. I lost stability, I lost every shred of who I was.
And then I rebuilt. Slowly, painstakingly slowly, I put myself back together. I tried on hats and skins and masks and constantly asked “is this me?” But one day that changed, it felt different, and I could feel how my identity was starting to form. Where I once struggled to name even just one thing I liked, I can now name 4 or more. Where I once felt abandoned and invisible, I felt seen and known by myself, and the previous few who showed up for me.
I wish I could name every single person who has been genuinely true and honest with me, and who has accepted me wholeheartedly as I’ve accepted them.
As I’m about to hit publish on my book, I am astounded by how my book feels in my hands. Holding the legitimate finished copy of my book is intense to say the least. I wrote that! Those pages are full to the brim of my story; my work, my loss, and joy, failures, and victories. The 350 some pages of my book hold the very core of what I had to work through to become who I am today.
There is a sense of overwhelming vulnerability knowing my book is about to be in the hands of people I do not know. But for those know me know that I do not put anything out into the public eye that can be used against me. I have spent the past decade hiding and working in the background. It is time for me to come out and be bold and open and in public now. I have done my work, I have faced the hardest and most broken parts of myself and I am still here.
I will always have work to do, and I will never stop seeking to better myself. I will never stop learning to how to be a better and more caring and compassionate partner and friend. Anyone who knows me knows this is who I am to my core, and they know that I am always willing to hold my shit and own responsibility for my part in a conflict and in causing harm.
That all being said, here we go. Just a few more days before my book is available and ready to be read by those who want to know my story.
For the survivors
For the wanderers in the dark
For those who share my story
I see you.
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