on going out and coming home

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I try not to talk much about a variety of topics on the internetz, including my work and my personal relationships and now, as she gets older, my daughter, whose life and image and thoughts and feelings belong to her, not me to share with the general public. But I’ve been through a lot over the past year, and there were many days when I just didn’t think I could get out of bed and face the day.

All my life, I have felt that I needed someone else to trust and to lean on, because inside I never trusted my own self to get me through hard times. I felt fundamentally unreliable and flawed. When I faced a challenge, I never truly believed I had the ability to get through it.

It’s a terrible weakness, not to trust or like your own self, and although I wish I could change many things that have happened lately, the silver lining of all of it is that I finally know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can get through what I have to, and that I am more than I ever thought I was. Part of me hates to see that written out in black and white, because my old self would feel that was tempting the universe to knock my feet out from underneath me. I don’t think like that anymore. Now I think the universe is more receptive, it’s something that responds to the energy you put out into it, and gives it back, and if you wake up every day to see the beauty in what is around you and feel gratitude for it, and love the people in your life and what you have been given, and you work to be happy, the universe responds to that. The only person who is responsible for your happiness is you.

This is a long way of saying that I flew across the country this week, and visited new places, and saw new things. I spoke in front of groups of people and laughed with them and made friends. I wasn’t perfect, but I was real, and I wasn’t afraid, and everywhere I looked I saw sunshine and warmth and new things. I trusted myself and enjoyed myself and when I came home, I was so happy for the little life I have here. California was hot and dry and bright, the Santa Ana winds moving restlessly through the palm trees against the blue sky. Traffic wound in glittering ropes along the asphalt. There were people everywhere, great waves of people pressing in on all sides. When I wasn’t presenting, during our car trips and at the airport, I couldn’t even speak for staring around me.

And then I came home, and my world was small and damp and green, full of cats and a chattering child, cluttered with construction paper and crayons and toys. I dreamt last night of five cardinals in the branches above me, and picking up a small colored bird, thinking it was dead, and having it come alive in my hand, fragile and prickly. I liked coming home the best of all. It’s so strange to feel that at the age of 40, I’ve been newly born into something I never was before. I have such a short life left to enjoy, I’d better get to it.

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