There's a tendency to only turn to you all for the very, very highs and the very, very lows and to become consumed with "real" life in the in between. In doing so, a lot gets lost and entire chapters of the story go untold.
Lately, it seems that I can only catch enough air to utter some form of, "Yeah, hey, I'm probably not dying!" -- too busy focusing on treading water and keeping it from spilling into my mouth as I try to stay afloat to share the rest, and I'm doing us all a great disservice by not telling more of the story.
Because sometimes I do float and, man, is it good. The sun is so bright and it is so quiet and I am so certain that one day I'll reach dry land again, and that I'll end up where I belong. But I don't turn to you all and say, "LOOK AT ME FLOATING!" because I'm busy quietly hoping that it continues for a few minutes.
But I have learned so much while drowning. And not in a cliched "silver lining" kind of way. I have gained insight and wisdom that can only be earned and I am definitely a more developed human being because of it. Although I know who I am no matter what people tell me, I've learned so much about myself from what people have shown me through this. And it's all so good.
I cannot even begin to detail the kindnesses great and small -- near strangers offering loans they'd be crazy to make (and I couldn't take) and friends offering plane tickets and a place to stay, job offers, dinners and drinks and dropped off muffins, secondhand furniture and bouquets of flowers, and messages reminding me of my authenticity, strength, and ability along with patience and acceptance of my emotional and physical distance. From everywhere. Every day. Including from some of you.
I also haven't talked enough about how sweet my little home is and how I have grown to love it.
My love seat came from a couple named Tom and Marian. They were in their 70s and lived in a mobile home he had remodeled beautifully and he glowingly gave her all of the credit. She had just hurt her ankle and he was doting and concerned and clearly in love. They both had cute convertibles in the driveway, with personalized license plates -- hers a VW Bug that said Luv Bug. The love seat was pristine and I sat on it and chatted with them about their house and history and health and lives, and said a silent prayer that one day I'd be that lucky in my old age.
My beautiful bed came from a mansion on the water, and was piled high with fine, white linen. The owner of the house was acting as a buyer while someone else worked the sale, eavesdropping on conversations about her home. I figured that out through my own eavesdropping and loved her for it.
My bedside table came from the home of an elderly man with a workshop full of clock parts who lived a well-traveled and interesting life, according to the contents of his estate sale.
I have an antique mirror that I have loved for longer than I've owned it -- it belonged to a friend who bought it from a vintage store in the U.K. 20 years ago. I couldn't imagine anything more perfect, and I feel like it's a piece of a fairy tale.
My brother's girlfriend lent me a television, my best friend gave me a side table, and I have piles and piles of books that are mine.
It is the epitome of lovely.
I went from attending galas to going to Goodwill and in spite of the struggle, I'm happier than I should be. Maybe because of the struggle. It's like after all of that treading and fighting the current and swallowing sips of salty water, floating and breathing is sweeter than it could ever be without all of that surviving.
I still cry. Unwillingly, even, like sometimes I'm not even thinking of anything particularly sad and suddenly my lungs and ribs tighten and I spend a minute or three sobbing quietly -- almost like an attack of sneezing in its unexpectedness -- before wiping the tears away and continuing on. And that's okay because I laugh twice as often and sometimes just as unintentionally.
The other day a friend said that I would die laughing, as they couldn't imagine my quickness to do so stopping even on my death bed, and I can't imagine a better ending or nicer compliment.
Right now my entire life is made of stories instead of stuff and people instead of property and I hope it stays that way, until I die laughing.