I felt compelled tonight to take a million photos of mine and put some of my favorites of the last year into print. There have been many firsts for me this year, lots of seconds, thirds and fourths. But this has been a whole new year of independence. Milestones. Paying off debts. Cutting ties with things that bring me down and make me believe weird things about myself. Drawing in closer to people, places, and things that are life-giving. Believe me there were also lots of horrible things I took on – like the belief that pizza is a vegetable and wine is but an aged fruit.
These are just a few. Flowers from work events, cuttin’ pumpkins with roommates, many a jog on the Walnut Street walking bridge, Drake, Dad, confetti at a work event that I was NOT responsible to pick up at the end of the night.
These photos remind me that there is so much good that surrounds me. It reminds me of the good choices I made this year. It reminds me of the good that I know will still come. Like this collage across my bedspread — and like each of these moments reminds me — there were times between each of things where good was absolutely no where to be found. Blank space. Static.
These beautiful people and these beautiful sights remind me that there are glimpses of the good life from time to time, and be thankful for them. Not everything I do or that has happened in my life is worth sharing, worth crying over, worth remembering, or worth taking a photo of (though some of you would insist that I believe otherwise!). Between the highs, there are lows. Good cohabits with evil. Sweet n’ salty.
This urge to print out photos was triggered by a sweet yet unassuming email that I received from a very acquaintancey kind of acquaintance — the kind of “friend” who you must say hello to in public because you could be really good friends one day. At least you hope so. We had been firing back emails about this and that – all work-related, mind you. And out of the blue I get a response, albeit personal. She called me out for ignoring her at the Y two days ago when she yelled my name (guilty, though NOT intentional on my part, promise), and followed it up with a frank yet caring comment or dialogue of empathy. She was direct and to the point.
“I’m sorry to hear about your divorce.” Quite honestly, a lot of people are sad to “hear about it.” I took no offense to this, though, because this is what people say because there’s nothing else to say. It was quite refreshing to hear someone say the “D” word besides me without imagining that they probably went to vomit after they said/typed it. But she did follow it with this, which elated me:
“No matter what the circumstances, it is awful.”
A. Men. Amen. The reality of divorce, I am learning (at least for me), is that it doesn’t matter where the silver lining is or that there even may be one at all. Divorce is an indicator of death to some degree. It’s the death of a relationship, it’s a death of wishes and hopes, it’s the death of something that moments, months, and many moons ago there were people crying happy tears over, not sad ones.
Anne Lamott once wrote that “forgiveness is giving up hope of having had a better past.” Forgiveness of self, forgiveness of others. Two needed things for my new year indeed.