In the morning while I'm in the bathroom getting ready, I leave the door cracked for the dog. This is our morning routine. He spreads out on all fours on the floor like a giant dog rug, and he watches my shadow intently. Obviously since I am not Peter Pan, I have no qualms with my shadow. But the dog is an adorable simpleton, and if my shadow seems like it's going to attack one of us, he attacks it.
Every morning starts with a fight, and hopefully, a strategy.
My strategy has been to keep myself busy. As long as I have something to fill my time, I am fine. Better, even; I'm happy. I love my jobs, and the people there, and my everyday life is ridiculous and bubbly and carefree and filled with dancing and singing and laughing and driving, all of my things. I smile on my way to a double shift, and I'm laughing on my commute home even when it takes an hour and a half. I want to keep doing those things, constantly, forever, because if I slow down, I start to sink. It's like I've been water skiing, but I let go of the rope. I can gracefully glide across the glassy water for a few seconds, but as I lose momentum and start to break surface tension, I succumb to gravity and sink.
And while my life is perfect and lovely up above the water, there is heaviness that demands to be felt down below. For a girl who loves the sun so much, I sure do feel like the night. Or, perhaps it's the contrast that I love so much.
Regardless, there are still many of you who have sent kind words of encouragement and solidarity; encouragement and solidarity, two of the themes of this season, heaped on me and somehow I feel the need to dodge it. Not because I don't appreciate it, but because I don't expect it. I've been remarkably, ridiculously praised since the day I was born, and yet, every time it comes as a surprise. A strange surprise, because I have nothing to do with my existence, nor was I particularly invited into it. I suppose it doesn't matter, but for whatever reason I've bought and owned that complex and I've built myself a fortress so that, whenever something adverse occurs, I can hide behind the fact that my entire life is actually a giant mistake. I'm not real. None of this is real. So it doesn't matter.
But here's the scary truth that has to be faced: it does matter. I've been told that I matter. And since matter is anything with mass and volume, I can at least start there. Despite the fact that I can't put much of a dollar sign on my value, I matter. Regardless of the fact that the law does not recognize any crimes against me, I matter. When I feel invalidated, I wish I could always remember that my responses and my efforts and my self care regimen is valid. It matters, I matter.
And I'm glad that all of you are spread all around the world. Distance feeds me, because I can eat up the miles like the ravenous wild that I am, with your smiling faces at the end of the journey. Graciously on your part, this gypsy always has a place to land. Some of you love my wild almost as much as I do, and some of you know me deeply enough to recognize its flaws; nevertheless, it probably won't last forever, so nobody need worry. This movement is just that: a movement. A movement in a symphony that I am actively composing. And as much as many of you seem to admire the idea that I apparently appear to have little regard for the opinions of others, it just very recently occurred to me that everything I choose to do, regarding my health and safety and life, is up to me. I do not require permission from anyone, but I've spent years of my adult life waiting for it. It won't come. It's something that I must give to myself.
That, and grace.
As much as I am thankful for and depend on your grace, it is something that I must give to myself. And I crave even more grace in the process of finding it for myself, as I do not see myself the way you do. It's pure, simple optics; even when I look in the mirror, everything is always backwards.
Backwards or not, as always, I love you all very, very much. And hopefully, I'll extend the same to myself, soon.