02.01.2017

Letter to 2016

Dear strange, glorious, terrifying 2016,

2016 was a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve never cried or laughed so much in my life. I shook with pain, literally rolled on the floor laughing, and heaved sobs that shook the walls. I changed jobs, changed minds, changed marital status. I transformed 15 times. I loved then loved harder. I was paranoid, anxious and depressed. The world seemed lovely, then lonely, then loving, then foreign.

As 2016 rose over the horizon, I was in full wedding planning mode. Colors, dresses, flowers, cupcakes…I was in deep. Although I had a to-do list that never shortened, I was comforted by the fact that 2016 was my year. I was marrying my beautiful fianc√©, we had 2 dogs and a cat that completed our home, and the possibilities seemed limitless. Friends started discussing their travel plans for our wedding and details fell together. I met Levar Burton, a lifelong hero and he re-tweeted me. Swoon.

The spring moved at the speed of a flip book. Scene after scene of my future wife and I picking out table linens on the weekends while dealing with work stress. There was much to look forward to.

June. The beginning of beautiful summer. 49 lives are lost at Pulse, just 3 miles from us. Victims’ faces plastered all over the news, on telephone poles, on billboards. I wept in bed for days, both thankful that no close friends’ faces appeared, and also mourning our fallen brothers and sisters. I obsessively read their life stories online. #OrlandoStrong appeared everywhere and suddenly a town that had previously been uninviting at times became welcoming and splashed with rainbow flags. Vendors who previously never replied to our emails became friendlier than need be.

I began a new job. So did L. We moved apartments.

We married in October. My father and grandmother didn’t acknowledge the invite and didn’t call. In spite of their negativity, we had the most magical day of my life. We danced, we drank, we loved. Oh, did we have love. We were surrounded by a bubble of warm, genuine, comforting love.

Cue election time. I am sitting in a friend’s living room with my electoral college map, wearing my HRC shirt, counting and coloring. Little by little the glow fades from the room and the reality sets in. My now wife, born in a refugee camp in the Philippines, holds my hand and I feel it in my toes. I shove the map in my purse and we ride home in disbelief. I stay up all night watching the terror unfold.

December is a heavy load. It’s hard to breathe.

2017 unfolds quickly and we are on another ride.

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