For You

I have this habit of marking dates and times in my life around events rather than calendars.  It's kind of like how, once I drive somewhere one time, I can get there again at any point in time but I could never ever tell you how to get there, simply because I've created my own private roadmap with landmarks that mean something only to me.

So the night before last, when I was mapping out the next day's events and I realized that tonight was my kids' spring fair at school, I remembered that it's been just about one year since your whole world bottomed out. 

A year ago, the person that I just barely was getting to know disappeared completely. It's not like I've known you all that long or all that intimately, but in the time I have known you, I feel like I've gotten a pretty good handle on your story mostly because it so blatantly mimics my own.  But only in the cliff notes, of course.  The chapters have been written differently, the characters changed, but the story is nearly the same.

Since that night that everything went so very wrong all at the exact same second, since that minute that my phone rang and you did something you'd never really done before and asked someone for help, the you on the other line has faded into obscurity and given way to the you that, a year later, hardly resembles her former self.  In a year, you've done impossible things, improbable things, uneasy things and truly brave things.  I've watched you teeter back and forth between the life you knew and the life you wanted.  I've watched you, one by one, burn down the straw walls holding up the house of you and rebuild them with bricks that no amount of huffing or puffing is going to blow apart.  

I see you traveling down much the same road I did at your age, and I've tried to keep my mouth shut and let you do things your own way because dear god, no one likes an overbearing know-it-all.  And so I listen.   I listen to your stories, I read them, I hear them through the grapevine and I learn things from you.  I see that your strengths lurk in the exact places my weaknesses go to hide, and I learn from you as you pile up and sort out the exact shit I'd swept under the rug to be forgotten about until a later day.  I see you wrestle the demons I've already exorcised, I see you walk over the roadblocks that had tripped me flat on my face, and I realize that you are leagues ahead of where I was at the same point in time you are now.

I honestly don't have any business even thinking about all of this; I'm just some wanna-be blogger chick who only really knows you on the fringes, but I like to think that those of us who share this common thread are stitched together by it, that we're all a part of each other a little bit.  And the fact that when it all crashed down for you, that I was the call you made, and the fact that I have spent hours, nights, days, thinking about your life in relation to my own, tells me that maybe I'm right.  I watched you have to move beyond the house that you and I and all of us who share this common history build for ourselves.  I've seen you start to lay a new foundation for your life with real, solid people.  I've watched as you've let yourself start to cultivate your own garden, and I've seen you bloom.  I've watched as you've dug your roots into the earth and started the very heavy business of growing upward, soaking in the breeze around you and opening up under the warm sun and reaching for the sky.

And it's been an incredible thing to see.

The road that you and I and so many others are walking down, this path of reckoning, this improvised grace, it may never be easy and it may never come naturally, but we keep walking it anyway.  We know we have to, for our children, for our souls, and through stubborn will we continue down a road that feels right but not necessarily natural.  Undoing is so much harder than doing, unlearning is something we have to teach ourselves while the learning just happened to us, and the one thing that makes even the hope of this succeeding is that we have each other.  We can look to each other for strength and inspiration and understanding and for reality.

You do that.  You give people, others like us, others who are just starting down the road you fell on head first one year ago this weekend, hope.  You give them the hope that it might be hard and it might really really really suck balls, but it can be done and it can be worth it.  You are a reminder that it's possible, that lives can be reconstructed and stories can be rewritten and lives can be redefined, if you just try hard enough.  If you just realize that you are worth it.

You, my dear, are worth it.

I'm leaving you nameless.  Because your story isn't mine and I have no business telling it.  I just wanted you to know that someone noticed, that someone is quietly keeping score for that you are beating the house.