I just wrote a big long post, and then took it down. I felt too scared. Too superstitious to write about all the things I’m grateful for, all the things this decade has brought me. This wonderful wonderful decade. I’m sad to see her go.
Instead, I’ll talk about where I was ten years ago, for a minute.
On December 31, 1999 I was depressed. Or confused. Something like it. Rabid. I was sadly rabid. Too unhappy to see clearly. Too bewildered to think about other people. I couldn’t stop shaking and dancing and shaking. My life was at its messiest, most confusing point thus far.
I was living in Iowa, in a cold apartment, with a roommate I didn’t know very well. I was in the process of ending (and oh, what a process! Oh, what an ending!) the hardest relationship of my life. Which meant a great deal to me then. I was destroyed by it all. I was drinking a lot of whiskey (see above).
I was wanting kids, feeling that pull, but I knew that whiskeydrunk rabid dogs make poor mothers. Which only made me feel worse. I was unsuitable for the things I thought I wanted most.
I was getting ready to finish my MFA, but I wasn’t writing much. I was listening to a lot of Lucinda Williams and feeling like she made a ton of sense.
Ha! When Lucinda Williams is making sense to you, find a therapist!
I was on the cusp, the brink… but I could only feel that it was an edge. Funny that–the difference between an edge and a brink.
I didn’t know what I was tipping over into. I had just met the man who would become my husband, but we probably hadn’t spoken 100 words to each other. I had just begun to think about genres outside poetry, but hadn’t found my genre yet. I was waiting for something to change. Grasping at straws.
Then, painfully, slowly, it all tipped, and I slid into what is now my life. It was a bumpy ride, but it happened, which is all that matters now.
One year later, I was with Chris. Three years later, I was writing Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, Five years later I was in Atlanta. Then I was a mom! A mom again! Publishing poetry! Publishing books for kids! Finding a career, my footing. And so… and so…
Here I am, now, looking back, and wishing I could send a message to that sad girl I was. At twenty five I was buying a pair of sturdy hiking boots and getting ready to disappear into the universe, because I felt like I had nothing. Really! That’s what I did–bought boots. I figured as long as I had sturdy boots, I’d be okay.
I want to say to my old sad self that the answer is always around the corner. That change is inevitable. That almost all edges…
…turn out to be brinks.
So I say goodbye, now, to this decade, the decade, my favorite decade. So far.
And I will toast departure as I toasted her arrival.
With whiskey (see above)!