I read a hilarious piece and then watched a parody with Tina Fey on "girl squads," the new jargon-y hip word for a group of girlfriends. I love watching Taylor Swift's Bad Blood video. I love hearing about groups of friends supporting each other. For so long I didn't have anything like that.
The last two years though, everything changed. I may even go back and say it has been the last 5 years- when I first met Holly and Breann, and three years ago when we created an online community and added my sister Jen, and two years ago when those folks (not all ladies, actually) facilitated and pushed me back into writing and taking a few risks (like riding the MegaBus to Georgia for a writer's retreat).
My "squad" isn't all women, but I am grateful every day for the support, the late night phone calls, the visits, the encouragement, the friendship and support. This last year was especially difficult for me and through it all I had folks sending me more encouragement and love than ever.
I can't list everyone here, but I am going to call out a few.
Thank you to Jennifer J, for actually flying out to be with me after the kids and I moved out and then again for Christmas so I wouldn't be alone. Your friendship and family love means more to me than these words can tell. May you find true love, good work, and creative space this 2016.
Thank you to Breann for being my random chat gal, holding my dearest fears and hopes, and generally encouraging me to laugh and love with reckless passion and write that way too. Your house burned down and you still showed up for all of us. May your tummy cease to be queasy and you finish your novel in 2016.
Thank you to Holly (Hollywood) P. and your incredible humour and grace. A conspiracy of oestrogen may have influenced you, but your support in my leaving Iowa was key. It was your words that ultimately gave me courage when I was doubtful and scared. I was in an abusive and toxic marriage and too drowned to see my own way out. You were my lighthouse. And now? I can count on you to talk me out of panic, get me to write through it. You've been my light since 2010 when Isaac was born. May your light burn bright and you keep on speaking your truth, fiery and brave, this 2016.
Thank you to my Ossabaw Literati. Tamara and Neil pointed me to the Vermont Studio Center, Neil also introduced me to James which led to the summer in Prague (which I needed for graduate credits to keep my job, a breathtaking space to recover from heartbreak, and the writing......), Tracy who emails me at just the right time as we each make our way travelling all over the world, Patty who gave me the very first advice through her advice column wisdom to put my own and my children first and let go of trying to care for and fix someone who needed to make the journey on their own, Tony who started the retreat that brought us all together to create a community and continue an island legacy, Victoria of the Midwest Crew who also has great taste in music and food and will be in Tybee soon, Lenore and David for opening their home to me on my journey South and for encouraging me to write the monsters out of the woods, and so many others. Thank you. May you all write your way back to the island soon!
Thank you to my mother, for your grace and forgiveness and your apology too. Thank you for sheltering and clothing all the lost souls who show up at your doorstep. Thank you for doing so with my children too while I recover from drowning and build our new home. Thank you for dedicating your time and home to creating a safe space for us. May your 2016 bring more laughter, more family, more stories, and more of everything good.
Thank you to Ms. Sparkles. You really do leave a trail of glitter everywhere and hope too. Watching your path through the mess that is divorce, one that is similar to mine in the reasons, the wounding, and the toxic aftermath, special needs parenting, homeschooling, and now healing and finding your way too, has helped me and others more than you know. Thank you for sharing your truth so we all know we are not alone. May your 2016 bring you more love and more magic.
Thank you Dawn of Morning Rain. You helped me heal. Blew oxygen on my nearly dead ember to help kindle the fire again. Your touch pulled out the fear and the grief. You have a gift, love, for healing. May your 2016 bring more fire, laughter, and may you find good bacon again!
Jen H.- thank you for your time and words too. The website design, Art on the Prairie, and artists worry sessions. You know. May 2016 bring peace for you and space to create and more friends and music and also a trip to Savannah to see me, love.
Jen B- I do have a whole crew of Jennifers! Thank you for your sobriety. I am so proud of you. Thank you for being you, for lifting me that day when I could not stand on my own. You were a lifeline in a crisis, and so so brave. We are all lucky to have you in our lives. I miss you so much, love. I raise my glass of handcrafted local root beer to you and make secret plans for a girls getaway and beach time with you. 2017? Maybe? Yes? May your year be full of glitter and stage lights and feeling pretty and feeling loved.
And so many others too. This is but a short list and my gratitude goes so far beyond this. When I can't fall asleep at night, instead of counting sheep I count all the people and things I am grateful for.