Note: this is longer than a bad Oscar speech, so skimming is recommended.
This year I am thankful:
For life, quite simply. For the first time, I’m think I’m actually starting to understand what that means.
For my life. I’m thankful to live a life that has afforded me the luxury of autonomy, freedom, and the ability to choose how I live it. Not many women have the support, resources, education, and power to ensure their own safety and well-being. I always had those things and I never even knew it. The people below are to thank for that life:
For my parents, who have given me every single opportunity in the world to thrive, succeed, and be happy. Who are always a phone call (or a quick plane ride) away, and have supported all my decisions, even when they had concerns. Who have given me everything I needed to cross unchartered waters. Who have taken the load off my shoulders without ever letting me know what that burden meant for them. Who have been my comfort, my warriors, and my keys to a future that wouldn’t be possible without them. Who are worth everything they just continue to give and to give, but also just because they made me who I am and they’re still helping me with that journey.
For Hope, who will share everything she has without even blinking. Who offers up her home, her family, her time, and unwavering support. Who always knows when to listen, and when to talk. Who has literally held me by the arms when I wasn’t entirely sure I’d keep standing. And for both Hope and Chadd, who always looked me in the face (even when it wasn’t pretty), and gave me a safe haven full of love, laughter, food, and fresh-cut flowers.
For Lauren, who was here (again, literally) when I needed her most. For her special blend of pragmatism, honesty, support, and strength. For always being someone I can talk to after any stretch of time and never makes me feel like the distance between us matters. And then for actively striving to bridge that distance. But mostly, for being the only person I know with a soul so solid that despite all of life’s changes, is still so fundamentally the same that I can love her just as much now as I did when she was 14.
For Leah, to whom I still confess all my sins. Who is always there, no matter how near or far. I can stand on a roof with her, or stand on our respective patios with wine and Shermans and feel like I can do nothing too terribly wrong to ever be unlovable. For both Leah and Aaron who made a little girl who I can’t wait to see grow up and become the type of amazing person that they are. For the friend who always takes my call, either when the shit hits the fan, or I’m up the clouds.
For Tamar, who is always a few steps ahead in life, and yet eerily similar enough to be able to impart meaningful advice. Who has been patient, understanding, supportive, welcoming, and entirely without judgment. Who offers both vintage gowns and pajama pants as needed. Who stocks her home with allergy remedies and thinks nothing of offering her guest room as a home and her garage as immediate storage space. And to Randy, who also listened and encouraged me to write again [he is not to blame for the tense-shifting and incomplete sentences in this letter]. Together, you have given me a peek into the ways a life can take the shape of several chapters, all worth experiencing.
For Krystal, who for nearly 30 years, has always managed to be around when I really take a hit, and who always understands the best of the best and the worst of the worst. For bring Rory in the world, a girl I don’t yet know but I’m always ready to take care of in the way her mom has taken care of me. For being the one unchanging force in my life, since I can remember. For being kind of enough to be my friend when I asked in the first grade, and to still be my friend after all these years.
It’s been a hell of a year. But I am still thankful and it’s because of you. I hate that it took my own crisis to bring most of us closer together. And I don’t know how I’ll ever pay you back for everything you’ve done for me. But if I can even come close in the coming year(s), I’ll do whatever I can. I hope you love and trust me as much as I do you, and I hope you know that I’m here for you as much as you’ve been here for me.
Cheers, and to another year with you,