39

Tomorrow I turn 39 (three perfect 13s, if you’re in the know) and while yesterday I reflected bitterly on the year that brought me here, today I will honor it.

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Because while it was a year of devastating loss and grief, it was also a time of tremendous personal growth for me.

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I revised and submitted a manuscript to my agent, and my agent submitted it to publishers. I began this story in 2013, before Truest was published, before I experienced such fear and panic and emptiness around writing that I couldn’t open up a manuscript for all of 2018 and half of 2019. To reclaim writing in such a powerful way in 2020 was like rediscovering my soul in an archelogical dig.

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Most of my appointments with students and families were virtual, but I did my very best to listen carefully and thoughtfully to each student and see them not as recruits but complicated, multi-dimensional young people making huge life decisions. I wasted no opportunity to tell them I was proud.

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My family gained a glorious, chatty, adorable new member in my niece Aurora/Rory Roo/The Roo. She has softened the hard edges of us all, and the joy of watching my brother and sister in law as parents, my parents as Grammy and Grumpa, and my sister as Auntie makes my heart so full. Rory is so beloved.

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I cleaned my bedroom. Most of it. This is a bigger deal than most of you realize.

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I viewed myself as brave. For a while there, I viewed myself as abandoned.

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I pursued truth in all things.

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I used my words on behalf of justice. I voted. I watched hard hearts melts and some open like flowers. It’s been the most beautiful thing.

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I was spontaneous at least twice. Maybe even three times. Pretty sure they were all for @asherinley & the Bear.

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I read poetry while the world lamented, which is both terribly hopeful while also joining in lamentation.

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I wrote letters. Not a lot, but some, mostly to my beloved aunt and to @cam.kreye, and it was so good to let my heart pour out through the pen.

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I planned. I broke plans. I did not lose hope ever. I knew and still know the light will come. Amen.

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