I woke up on this beautiful Saturday in November and was happy.

Just that. Just this realization of an expansive kind of contentment sitting somewhere around my solar plexus. Not some kind of frantic euphoria, not the bubbly whatever that is when you have a crush on someone -- nothing laced with anxiety. Just a solid kind of the contentment that comes with some hard-won balance.

It's been a while in coming.

This isn't even that great of a time for me. For one thing, the house I still own with my ex-husband hasn't sold (Quick! Sacrifice some spaghetti in hopes that it sells soon!) and this semester has been really hard. I'm still dealing with some residual skin issues leftover from the radiation treatments, and about to start my first batch of testing post breast cancer treatment. Both of my kids are struggling a bit with the impending holidays. I am, too. Well, not struggling exactly, but aware how different life is post-divorce. This Thanksgiving was the first time in their lives that I wasn't with my kids. It was a hard, hard week and I didn't always exhibit the healthiest ways of dealing with it. (I mean, nothing destructive, but I kept myself good and distracted until it was safe to feel the Big Feelings. I stayed so busy on Thanksgiving that one of my dinner guests said, "I missed seeing you today.")

But today...today, I woke up and it dawned on me that I feel like myself again. I feel really content with my life. I have the BEST friends --y'all, seriously, the BEST. People who call me on my delusions and love me so hard that I can barely breathe from the goodness of it. I love my little rental house--really love living here. It feels like home to me. I love going to graduate school. I love being in school, I love what I'm learning, I love the whole field of counseling. I'm falling back in love with Austin and seeing lots of live music.

And guess what? On Jane's impetus, we adopted a cat. Meet Peanut Butter.
Look at that smile!

He likes it when I sing to him.

He likes to pin you down and force you to nap with him.

We're fine with that.

He is HILARIOUS and a snuggler and sort of a cross between Edward and Thomas (the orange tabbies we had forever, now departed from the earthly realm.) He's eight-years-old and the family he lived with surrendered him because they had fallen on hard times and didn't think they could afford his care and upkeep. He came with the name Butterscotch but we changed it a little to Peanut Butter because that's more accurate, color-wise. (We call him PB or Buttah.  Or Butter Bean.  Or Butter Ball.  He doesn't care because he's a cat and doesn't answer to any names anyway.) We have plenty of love to share and I think he loves us back--I mean, it's hard to tell but I think he's happy here. He is a great addition. Here's a video Jane took of the whole adoption process. (Language, because Jane is unfiltered at all times and we like her like that.)

Today, I went and walked around the lake, and then came home and took a nap so complete and solid that when I woke up, it took me a minute to come back into my body and remember where I was. I ate leftover Thanksgiving appetizers (my favorite) and studied for the final exam I have on Tuesday. In a little while, I am meeting a really great guy to go see a holiday show featuring a favorite musician, Bob Schneider. Jane comes home tomorrow from being with her dad out in California visiting Ramona during the Thanksgiving break.

Life is just good. Really good. It's amazing how much better things get when you stop trying to please all of the people all of the time. When you stop forcing your life to meet other people's expectations. When you stop letting obligation and duty inform your every action. When you set healthy boundaries and communicate what you need. I'm a little late to the party, but I'm glad I finally got here.

On our last day in Austin in 2008 before we moved to New York the next day, the (now) ex-husband and I went to find my brick on the trail around the Lake. I hadn't been back since --not in nine years! But recently, I've started walking the lake again several times per week. And I kept looking for the brick but I couldn't find it. At first, I thought maybe it was one of the bricks in a high-traffic zone--some of those have worn away and you can no longer see the names.  Which, you know, would have made a good metaphor for everything that has happened in the past few years.

But then I found it. It's there, and pretty much unscathed. 

Which is a much better metaphor.

Happy Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for your unwavering, steadfast support. And for this life and for cats and for music and for school and for connection and for all that has emerged intact and thriving after the total firebombing of my life. It's pretty wonderful to be consciously heading into what promises to be the best time of my life on a lot of levels. I'm acutely aware that none of this would have been possible without a lot of necessary loss, but I've always felt if you can make a conscious choice not to get stuck in those times that leave you flattened and bereft, what comes afterward will take your breath away. 



KAinTX said…
Just lovely!
Your life has been firebombed but you are obviously a phoenix.
Judy Lee said…
Clearly, you're a carrier ... I feel happier just having read this <3 Thanks!

But this leads me to the thought that Butter is the Typhoid Mary of happiness - lol.
Susan said…
Sharing your journey helps everyone in their journeys. thank you.
Kathy Ireland said…
My week has been rough but I just feel so much happier now and HOW MUCH did I love watching that video!!??? Oh. My. Gosh. That was worth the wait (you know, from the last time you blogged) ;-)

Love you.