And Now For Something Completely Different…

Here’s a list of some of my favorite books written by women that I’ve read throughout my life.  It is by no means exhaustive, but I’ve tried to be comprehensive.  I’ve listed them in chronological order because there’s no way I could rank these even if I tried.

A few years ago, I made the conscious decision to try to read more female authors.  I have been and will continue to be open and honest about my path through sobriety, my path through life, and I greatly appreciate other women who are willing to do the same.  It can be a very isolating thing, being female in America, if we don’t all share our stories and relate to one another.  This is important work, not because it’s high brow, not because it’s all well-written, not because these women all take themselves too seriously (although, they all do take themselves as seriously as they should), it’s not even because all of it really means that much.  It’s all important because it matters, listening to each other, telling our own stories, it all matters.  Because we all matter, we all deserve to see ourselves reflected in the story of someone else.  To be seen and to be heard is to be valued, to be appreciated, to be recognized.  To be told of your inherent worth.  To be loved and accepted.  Together we are capable of incredible things, my loves.

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The Remnants Series – Katherine Applegate

WHO. EVEN. KNEW. Honestly, I’m still a little surprised how into sci-fi and feminism that I am.  It’s probably good ol’ imposter syndrome, but I never ~really~ saw myself becoming the person I am.  And then I look at all of the books I read as a small child and it all makes perfect sense.  These books are WEIRD.  Like, some of the weirdest, best, most out-there sci-fi I have ever read! And I read them when I was 12, tops.

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The Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean M. Auel

Full disclosure: I read this for the sex.  At summer camp in middle school, I heard the older girls talking about this sexy character in a book and was so in!  I got about 3/4 of the way through this book before I realized how little sex there actually was, but I was pretty much hooked by that point.  Girl knows how to WRITE!  Plus, it’s great historical fiction centered around a strong female character, we tend to not get that when looking at prehistory.

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The History of Love – Nicole Krauss

One of the few books I’ve reread multiple times.  I would read this book every other month if I didn’t have other things I wanted to read as well.  Easily some of the most beautiful sentences I have ever read in my life.

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The Hainish Cycle specifically The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. LeGuin

If you haven’t read anything by Ursula K. LeGuin, I would like you to close this web page and run to your nearest (independently owned) bookstore or library and get your hands on literally anything this woman has written.  She is a divine goddess.  Intricate worldbuilding, captivating characters, beautiful plots.  Really just masterful stuff, dear readers.  The Left Hand of Darkness is the fourth in the series and was actually my introduction to her.  It explores a world where the inhabitants don’t have fixed genders, and only have sex organs when it’s time to procreate.  Super cool stuff that doesn’t feel like it was written in the 80s, even though it was.

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Whose Names Are Unknown – Sanora Babb

This quiet tale of life in the Dust Bowl was supposed to be published in 1939 but was overlooked when John Steinbeck came out with The Grapes of Wrath.  This is why I chose to read this novel, this is what I love about it.  It tells the story of frontierswomen living their lives, the hardships and joys they face along the way.  And, you know, it’s way better than Steinbeck.

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Bodies That Matter: On The Discursive Limits of “Sex” – Judith Butler

Oh.  My.  God.  I’ve read a lot of theoretical discourses on gender, sexuality, and queerness in my time but Judith Butler is in a whole different league.  This is some dense stuff, it takes me an average of ten minutes to parse a paragraph but I always feel so accomplished when I finally understand.  She is so intentional with every word she chooses, once you finally figure out what she means, there’s really no other way to take it.  Brilliant.

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You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine – Alexandra Kleeman

If you’ve ever read The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace (and if you haven’t, you should) this is like that crossed with the movie God Bless America.  If none of that means anything to you, we probably wouldn’t be friends in real life.  I kid, I kid.  This one is weird, not quite sci-fi, not quite anything else either.  It’s a giant criticism of capitalism and American consumerism, the deterioration of culture, with a healthy dash of eating disorders, cult membership, and mild slips into insanity.  Did I make that sound appealing at all?

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The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone – Olivia Laing

Reading this I really felt like, for the first time, it would be totally okay to be single for the rest of my life.  Laing isn’t a sad, lonely cat lady looking for love to fill the hole in her life that can’t be satisfied with anything else.  She’s a woman living on her own, learning to be comfortable in her solitude and exploring expressions of solitude by American artists in the 1960s-1980s.  And yeah, she spends some time talking about my homeboy Andy Warhol, so that’s a plus.  At the end of the day, though, she’s perfectly content living her life the way that it is; she really inspired me to leave my hometown and strike out on my own.

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Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol – Ann Dowsett Johnston

This is one of the first books I read in early sobriety, and it has played a major role in sustaining my sobriety.  Eye opening, mildly terrifying, Ann Dowsett Johnston combines her own personal story with cold hard data in a way that will definitely get you questioning capitalism, at the very least.  This book helped me see that there are other reasons to quit drinking that don’t frame it as a disease or in an “us-them” dichotomy.

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Trainwreck: The Women We Love To Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why – Sady Doyle

Talk about female empowerment!  Sady Doyle builds an extremely compelling case for loving and supporting our fellow women instead of buying in to the media lies that constantly try to break us down and pit us against each other.  Instead of seeing these women as fatalistically tragic, strung-out whores with no self-respect, who are “psycho” and “crazy” and “insane,” Doyle asks us to see these women as real people, complete humans, who have been affected by the pressures of public life and ultimately end up not fitting the roles dictated for them.

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SCUM Manifesto – Valerie Solanas

It is TRAGIC that most women do not know this woman or her story.  It is fundamental to the history of feminism in America, right alongside Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.  I came across Valerie Solanas in my thesis work on Andy Warhol because she SHOT HIM IN THE GUT TWICE.  This is some hard, heavy, radical feminist literature and should be mandatory in every. single. intro to queer theory, women’s history, feminist lit, course in America.

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Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries – Kory Stamper

Okay, I’m a huge word nerd.  This book reminded me of that, it helped me re-fall in love with language.  Stamper shares her passion for words unapologetically, even as she navigates the pitfalls and frustrations of her day-to-day responsibilities.  There’s also a brilliant chapter on the inclusion of the word “bitch,” its history in American verncular and culture, that, along with Doyle’s Trainwreck, helps us see how pervasive misogyny is in everything, including our speech habits.

 

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The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

I feel like this almost goes without saying.  You’d be hardpressed to find a list of feminist literature that excludes Sylvia Plath and to be honest, I was wary about reading her.  It felt too… cliche.  And then I read The Bell Jar.  I honestly haven’t felt as heard and understood as I did while reading this.  Truly a must-read for any woman (or man, no judgment here) who struggles with depression, feels excluded, can’t make herself fit in to the “norm.”

Hey, Universe, I Have No Idea What The Fuck I’m Doing

Friday started in the rain and gloom.  I woke up dreading the fourteen hour day ahead of me, including the total one and a half hours spent walking in the rain (and you think your commute is bad).  So I brought my favorite new dress in the hopes of cheering myself up – and it worked, until I got into a fight with a man about his backpack.  Now, here’s the thing about working the front lines of a museum: people HATE being told they can’t bring their backpacks into the galleries.  They’re very defensive, territorial, rude, and sometimes really really mean.  I had a father of a really young boy who wouldn’t let me finish a single sentence during our whole interaction, wouldn’t listen to my very generous list of solutions to his problems, and then told me it was my fault his child was going to shit his pants at some point in the future.  I was so mad I was shaking, and I ended up taking an hour long lunch to cool down.

And then I got to my second job and realized I had forgotten my pants at my first job when I was repacking my bag.  Luckily, I had enough time to get home, get new pants, and get back to work before the dinner rush hit.  Unluckily, the borrowed umbrella I was using broke halfway through my walk home.

Something fundamental inside of me broke that day.  I couldn’t even cry about it, I was so wrung out.  Instead, I spent the fifteen minute walk back to work yelling at the universe and looking like a crazy person.  Hell, I am a crazy person.  I gave it all up to the universe.  Gave up trying to be happy, gave up trying to manage my emotions, gave up finding any sort of meaning in the chaos around me.  I just, gave up.

This all sounds a little… dramatic, and I’m not going to apologize for it.  I’m sure some of you are going to worry about me and quite frankly, that’s all on you.  I’m all good, over here in my expensive ass apartment.

I have no idea how to do anything.  I don’t know how to go to the doctor’s.  I don’t have any experience in finding a new apartment.  I’ve never once run out of food, or money, or clothing, or shelter.  But I don’t know, maybe I just need to experience those things so I know what to do in the future.  If life is a great big experiment, don’t I need to… experiment a bit?

I don’t know, here’s a picture of me with a cat.  I’m going to eat a pizza.

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Day 334

This morning I woke up late, reveling in the only Saturday morning I’ll have off in the foreseeable future.  I took my time eating breakfast, doing some household chores, scrolling through facebook, listening to podcasts.  And then I went to refill my weekly pill container and saw that I picked up the wrong dosage of my medication at the store.  A year ago, I would’ve gotten right back into bed and laid around in a cloud of shame and self-disgust.  But today, I got up, put a bra and some shoes on, walked a block down to Rite Aid and… fixed the problem.  That’s it.  End of story.

I’ll have 11 months tomorrow and that feels like the most insane thing and also the most correct thing.  I never thought I’d make it 334 days and I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.  Everything has gotten easier in these 334 days.

And that’s what amazes me about sobriety.  The drinking stuff isn’t really an issue, not one I dwell on anyways.  It comes up every now and then but it is so much easier to not drink than I ever thought it could be.  Most days, I don’t even think about alcohol.  It’s the emotional change, the positive outlook on life, that floors me.  I am okay, and I love myself most days.  I never thought that could be possible.

I can bike to and from work, in the cold, in the rain, and none of it is that big of a deal.  Sure, I got soaked on my way home last night, but it didn’t end me.  I know how to handle these situations and they really aren’t. that. hard.  A year ago, a night like last night would have sent me spiraling into anger, vitriolic hatred at the universe that was dangerous and terrifying.  Today, I laugh at the shittiness of the situation, hop on my bike, and ride home.  Hang my clothes up to dry and call it a night.  No second thoughts, no residual frustration.

I’ve started saying “Hey, it’ll all be over eventually” in basically every situation in my life, and while my coworkers find it some combination of hilarious and disturbing, it really is true.  If nothing is permanent, the brunch from hell will be over eventually.  There really is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I mean sure, we’ll all have to wake up and do it again tomorrow but for today, there’s comfort in knowing that it won’t last forever.  And if we can get through today, we can get through a whole year.  A whole lifetime.  It really is that simple.  It isn’t easy, not at all, but it’s pretty simple.  There’s a certain sort of comfort in the instability of this mindset.  I’ve found some sort of inner peace, inner clarity that just knows that everything is going to be okay.  I have no idea what’s going to happen a year from now, ten years from now, tomorrow.  Okay, I have a general sense of how tomorrow is going to shake out – I know I’ll be tired, excitable, grumpy, hungry.  I’ll get sad and lonely when there’s no Adam to share goofy looks with in the middle of brunch rush, and then I’ll realize I can find a smaller version of that in my friends.  And I’ll breathe.  I’ll drink water, I’ll run around, at some point I’ll be overwhelmed with appreciation for my body’s ability to function.  I’ll laugh, I’ll do a stupid dance, I’ll get to sleep without crying.  I know I’ll feel a full range of emotions because that’s what it is to be human.  I know that life will bring surprise after surprise, and I know that I’ll come out stronger and more alive after each of them.

I’ve found a way of life that doesn’t intimidate me.  It allows me to set long term goals that I don’t have to worry about in my day-to-day existence.  If I project my desires into the future, they end up happening.  I regained a trust I never knew I had lost, a trust that the universe has my back.  I know that through the good days and the bad days, everything will even out to be perfectly okay.  It’s a lot easier to do the hard stuff these days, because I know that it isn’t that big of a deal.

This Too Shall Pass

When I was a very small child, my entire world was upended.  One of the most important things I have ever known, will ever know, was taken away from me.  Here one day, gone the next.  Poof.  Fucking universe, right?

Needless to say, I was a pretty angry teenager.  More than angry, actually.  I was rage personified.

Over the past year, I started coming to terms with that.  Yes, fifteen years later I was finally allowing myself to move on.  Allowing the shit to pass.  Embracing the cyclical nature of the universe.  Finally pulling the stick out of the cogs so time could move forward.  Finally.  Fifteen years.

I know that the bad things, they always end.  The extreme sadness?  Passes.  The violent heartbreak?  Mends.  The intense anger?  Dissipates.  Eventually.  It may take 20 seconds.  It may take 15 years.  But it ends, it always ends.

2016 was the first time I felt pure happiness, and it scared the shit out of me.  I was terrified of losing it.  I became overly cautious, tiptoeing through my first few months of peace not wanting to disturb anything.  Afraid of loving too loudly and alerting the universe to my happiness, afraid that if the universe knew, it would take it all back.  That I had somehow tricked the universe into forgetting to torture me for just a second, never wanting it to remember.  Not wanting the reality of pain and sadness to come crashing back through.  Knowing full well that it would, that it had to.

Because the thing about happiness is that it passes, too.  If the bad stuff is allowed to pass, if we’re allowed to process anger, grief, depression, and come out on the other side, we must allow happiness, joy, amazement to pass as well.  There can’t be a low without a high, a peak without a valley, a now without a then.  As they say across the Twelve Colonies, all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again.

So how do we enjoy the good times, knowing they’ll come to an end?  How do I fall in love knowing it isn’t forever?  Why should I trust that the happiness will subside?

I know why the bad things happen.  The lessons I’ve learned by dealing with the bad stuff are the truest parts of my character today.  I wouldn’t be as honored and as humbled and as grateful if the maelstrom had missed my heart.  If I hadn’t spent so many nights wailing and feeling the unbearable weight of the world.

So maybe the good things happen so that they, too, can end.  For when a good thing ends, that ending becomes a bad thing.  The heartbreak wouldn’t hurt so much if the love wasn’t as good, as kind, as pure as it was.   The death wouldn’t rip you apart if the life wasn’t fully lived.  Maybe, we grow the way muscles do.  You build muscle by ripping apart the tissue and letting it heal, growing stronger and more resilient every time.  And maybe that’s why the good stuff happens, so the hurt is enough to make us stronger.

I find it sort of funny that I continue to put my heart out in to the world after all it’s been through.  (There are days I find it down right hilarious that I’m still alive given what that damn organ has survived.)  Isn’t it amazing, the human capacity for resilience?  That there’s still so much goddamn love in the world after everything its been through?  That the heart of humanity gets so broken, so wounded, so ripped apart, and still has the capacity for tremendous love?

I would rather be alive and continuously heartbroken than dead and never loving anything.  Perhaps the only thing we ever really have is love.  If the only thing you’ve done today is to continue to put love into the world, even after all the pain its given you, I think that’s a pretty impressive act.

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This is me, ca. 1993, being a very, very happy baby.  And, thank god, I still get this excited about pizza.

Life Never Stops Happening

Where was I one year ago today?

I was packing up my dorm room for the very last time.  I was saying sloppy goodbyes to people I’m still not sure I’ll ever see again.  I was getting ready to embark on a new journey.  I was full of hope and excitement, but I also wasn’t.  I was terrified of doing it all on my own.  I didn’t know how to live a life without asking for permission.

Sometimes, I get really scared about the future.  We all do really, we aren’t comfortable with the unknown.  And there’s nothing less certain than the future.  Will my relationship last?  Can I find enough work to pay my bills?  Where will I live when my lease is up?  When do I stop using my mom’s address as my own?  What happens when I need to get my own health insurance?  WHY DON’T THEY TEACH US HOW TO DO OUR TAXES?  But then I think about where I was a year ago, looking out onto a future that, for the first time, was completely up to me.  It didn’t involve school, it didn’t involve built-in structure.  It didn’t involve anything but choices.  A year ago, I had a plan.  I was sure enough of this plan that I was anxious to enact it.  And then, inevitably, things didn’t go according to plan.  Life happened.

Looking back at this year, it’s hard to believe it’s only been a year.  So much has happened in 2016 it feels like it should’ve taken multiple years.  I’m amazed that so much growth could be contained in only 365 days.  I finished college, I had invasive surgery, Elaine came to visit, I got sober, my sister got married, I learned how to cook, my heart was ripped in a thousand pieces- twice, my sister had a baby, I moved halfway across the country, I mended my broken heart, my grandmother’s house sold, my car broke down, my bike got stolen, I started two different jobs, I found an amazing support system, I found myself.

But what sticks out the most, what’s most prevalent in my mind looking through all of this, is the pure meditative joy I had driving my car.  Not the anxiety, fear, worry, that paralyzed me in bed most mornings.  Not the despair, not the pain, not the tail end of my drinking days.  What I hold on to is those peaceful moments crossing Montana mountain passes, visiting friends, driving to doctors appointments.  The open spaces between the mundane activities, the place where muscle memory takes over and I finally allow my mind to wander, to find peace in itself.   Where I look out and know that the world is a good place, full of joy and wonder and merriment.  Where my soul is light, my heart is full, my mind is clear.

There’s not a lot of use in worrying about what might happen when, as I learned at a very young age, you can never predict the future.  I used to spend my time fantasizing about worst case scenarios, working myself up into a frantic, anxious mess.  I loved rabbit holing about how the world was gonna hurt me somewhere down the line.  But I’ve been through the trenches and still, today, dance around my apartment singing terrible pop music and creating things.  The worst things that happened to me, I never would have predicted.  These things, these formative moments, didn’t destroy me.  Not permanently, at least.

Life is going to continue to happen, regardless of whatever plans I throw at it.  And I am going to continue riding it, solving problems as they arise, not as I think of them. There will always be obstacles to overcome, mountains seemingly too large to summit, paths too dense with underbrush to clear.  But there will also always be those moments of peace, sun shining, wind blowing, birds singing, the smell of flowers and corn fields and prairies, driving hat on, the road unfurling forever in front of me.  The stillness that comes from knowing that I am exactly as I am supposed to be.

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Home.

I was born in Iowa City.  I was raised in the Midwest.  My family lives in Iowa.  I went to school in the Pacific Northwest.  I am building my sobriety in Pittsburgh.  Ever since I left my mother’s house I’ve been searching for home, for a place that calls to me, pulls on my soul, tugs at my heart.  But there may not ever be just one place I call ‘home.’  I am constantly, always, forever being formed by my experiences.

I am more than the sum of my parts, more than just me.  I am sculpted by the people who surround me, the places I experience, the time I spend being alive.

So where is home? 

It’s sleeping in the back of my car snuggled up against a box of food and a tent I was too exhausted to pitch.  It’s walking a path I haven’t taken in a while, and still knowing the way.  It’s eating nachos and watching football.  It’s seeing the joy on my nephew’s face as he experiments with the bodily wonder of vocal chords.  It’s returning to my safest places and feeling cared for by everyone in them.  It’s watching movies until four in the morning.  It’s driving at night after a heavy rain, the smell of asphalt, the reflection of street lights, the emptiness of the world.  It’s staying up all night to watch the sun rise with a new friend in a tiny field in the heart of Tacoma.  It’s falling asleep under the stars in a field in Montana, not a city light in sight.  It’s slamming poetry in Albuquerque under a sky lit up with heat lightning.  It’s putting the map down and going west, then south, then east, however and whenever the spirit moves me.  It’s wherever I feel deeply rooted in the universe.

But where are you from?

I am from and of my grandmother, her sense of adventure, her desire to pursue her own path, her surety of her place in the world.

I am from and of my grandfather, his leadership, his stalwart belief in the good in the world and the beauty in people.

I am from and of my father, his curiosity, his imagined lives of strangers, his captivating storytelling.  His longing to understand the universe, his strength in an unstable world.

I am from and of my mother, her inquisitiveness, her inability to rest until a question is answered. Her fondness for words, her compassion towards strangers, her faith in her daughters.

I am molded by my sister, her unconditional love, her infinite kindness towards all earthly creatures.  Her finding joy in the little things, her untempered passion for life.

They say home is where the heart is, but it feels more like home is wherever I get to be comfortable being me.  As long as I am here, I am present, I am attuned to my inner voice, I will carry home with me wherever I roam.

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(And no, you still can’t enter the Monastery.)

Things With Which I Cannot Fuck; Or, How I Put The Bottle Down For Good

Hi, my name’s Rachel and I’m an alcoholic.

For the majority of my life, I was angry at the universe.  I thought that the world was out to get me, that everything was set up for me to fail, to embarrass myself, to have the chair pulled out from under me.  I never trusted relationships because I thought it was all an elaborate ruse.  I hated myself so much that I didn’t believe anyone would want to associate with me.  I didn’t do the things I enjoyed doing.  I didn’t believe that I deserved happiness.  I blamed everyone else for my emotional well being without accepting the role I played in my own life.

These things all started long before the drinking did.  But the drinking seemed like a wonderful way to fall down the rabbit hole to a better place, a place away from all the hatred.  I felt all of those things the media sells us about alcohol – I felt powerful, outgoing, uninhibited.  I learned how to play the party game, how to drink straight vodka without a chaser, how to sneak booze in to class.  How to drink through a hangover.  How to scrub the wine stains from my lips before going out for the night.  How to make myself throw up every night before I went to bed to keep the spins at bay.  I made friends, developed relationships, wrote a senior thesis.  Somehow, I managed to graduate with a solid GPA and maintain an interest in the field I chose.  Somehow, I managed to plan some sort of future.  But I planned a future that I was never really invested in.  I moved the pieces without taking the time to understand the game.  I was building a life I didn’t care about because I couldn’t let myself feel anything.  My life had become unmanageable.

And then I quit drinking.  It didn’t magically change everything in my life, but it opened me up to facing reality.  You know what happens when you stop fighting reality?  You stop lying to yourself.  You stop living in a cloud of denial about your actions and their consequences.  You start holding yourself accountable for the things you say, the actions you take, the relationships you build.  The first thing I accepted is that I cannot, under any circumstances, fuck with alcohol.  For the first time in a long time, I began accepting life as it is, not as I made it out to be.

For the first time in a very, very long time, I felt everything I had been pushing down, running away from, covering up, ignoring.  That first month I confronted the towering narrative I had built for myself, examining every pillar of self-doubt, every wall of self-pity, every ceiling of disgust.  I tore apart the facade, brick by brick, stone by stone, until only I was left.  Just me, hiding behind nothing.  I let myself be raw, let myself be vulnerable, open, exposed, and very, very afraid.  I let myself just be.

I gave up a lot of things when I gave up drinking.  I gave up believing in a reality that didn’t have to exist.  I gave up blaming myself for everything that happens in the universe.  I gave up cheating myself out of experiencing life.  I gave up rationalizing every decision I make.  I gave up pretending to be okay.  I gave up putting other people’s emotions before my own.  I gave up doing things I don’t want to do.  I gave up trusting alcohol more than I trust myself.  I gave up making excuses.  I gave up half assing my way through life.

And what I’ve gained in return is a life that is more wonderful than I ever imagined it could possibly be.

I get to rebuild my life, piece by piece.  These days, I spend a lot of my time discovering new things about myself.  New hopes, new dreams, new interests.  I don’t have a plan for the future, but I’m starting to figure out what I don’t want, where I don’t want to be.  I’m learning to live in the space between feeling and reacting.  Learning to take responsibility for myself, and only myself.  Learning that life isn’t always easy, isn’t always going to be fun, but it’s always going to be worth it.

I get to make mistakes and own them.  I get to feel the impact of my actions and not get crushed by the weight of my emotions.  I get to stand up and brush myself off after every single fall.  And people are still here, they never left.  I never understood unconditional love until I had nothing else.  I drank away every feeling I could think of, every emotional connection I had built, every dream I had for the future.  I drank myself to the bottom of a gaping pit, cold and alone and afraid.  I drank away any sense of self-worth I had, I drank until I didn’t deserve to be saved.  And people kept reaching out their hands.  When I wanted to peel off all of my skin, rip my fingernails out of their beds,  scream my voice away, tear all of my hair out, the people I love lowered a ladder and helped me to the surface.  Rung by rung, step by step, they wrapped me up in their arms and held me.  I rode on the backs of angels, climbed hand-in-hand with saviors, leaned on warriors on my way back to the surface.

The best part of all of this is that I get to give that love in return.  I get to stand by my people when they need angels and saviors and warriors, when their worlds are collapsing in.  I get to cheer for the beautiful women in my life as they conquer every obstacle thrown at them.  I get to continue living on this earth, blessed and surrounded by love, joy, hope, and happiness.

There is no way I would have been able to do this without my people.  I will never be able to tell you all how much I love you, how blown away I am that you showed up when I needed you, when I didn’t believe I was worth it, when I kept pushing you away.  From the deepest, darkest parts of myself, thank you.  From the lightest, happiest parts of myself, thank you.  From the ends of the earth, the corners of the universe, the beginning of time to the end of it all, thank you.

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