I don’t know how it happened.
I am not sure if there was one specific moment – a morning, a bright light, a great revelation.
In movies and in books you see them – that climax to the story which then guides the audience to share in that “aha” moment with the protagonist. That arc where everything makes sense – the plot. The title.
That moment where everything comes together and you know the story will now move in a direction that ultimately leads to the song playing and the credits rolling.
For me, the only way I can think about it is it is more like when the heavy fog eventually gets consumed by the sunshine. Before you know it, the fog is gone and you can see the sun again.
I look back and realize now that I have gotten out of bed more and more mornings and padded into my yoga room. Or came home from a day at this job that is coming to an end soon, and pulling on my leggings to go for a run. Even a short run. Anything to get outside and move again.
I am making my protein smoothies again.
I am eating salad again.
I am no longer drowning my mornings in coffee and my evenings in goldfish and wine.
I am looking out of windows again.
I am seeing sunsets again.
I am sitting next to my son on the couch watching YouTube videos with him and laughing again.
I am talking to my husband again. I am joking with him again.
When friends ask me how I am doing, I only say “OK” if I am feeling OK. They made me promise to be more truthful with them about that.
Letting them know when I am not OK helped eat up some of that fog.
Spending a weekend sobbing on my closest friends’ shoulders after not seeing them since all this happened helped eat up some of the fog. Really listening to them when they told me I will get through this a stronger person, and that I am still good at what I do helped eat up some of that fog.
Sharing a bottle of tequila with them and laughing into the night and waking up with a mother of all hangovers in comfy sweats and laying out in a hammock as they strummed on guitars and I quietly looked out at the lake… That ate up a lot of the fog.
Being alone helped eat up some of that fog.
Binge-watching Showtime helped eat up some of that fog.
Making Spotify playlists helped eat up some of that fog.
Buying cute gladiator sandals helped eat up some of that fog. And buying new makeup. And dyeing my hair a cool deep red color. And getting a new design on my nails. And sitting out on my deck with a watermelon beer watching the birds flock to our bird feeder. And curling up with my little dog reading a Stephen King novel. And going out with friends to see Police and Smiths tribute bands and sneaking a menthol cigarette from my friend and shocking everyone as I drunkenly smoked it down all the way to the filter….
All of this helped eat up all of that fog that obscured my view of everything fun and lighthearted that used to be a part of who I was. That dynamic and passionate part of me who thrived on taking risks and finding joy that I thought was lost forever under a down comforter and a river of tears.
There she was again. In her gold metallic eye shadow and her big, wild hair. Laughing.
One day, I simply realized that I was living my life again.
It was not a huge moment of clarity, but a passing thought.
I had my calendar open plugging in my son’s baseball game schedule and races I signed myself up for and concerts my husband and I planned to go to and weekends with beach parties coming up.
I had my pen poised to circle another date, I thought “well, here I am again. Living my life. just as everyone told me I’d do someday.”
I thought about the time where I came close to not having this happen. Because the fog was so thick I thought for sure there would never be a way out. All I saw was endless darkness.
I really believed there might never be a time where I would be circling days on a calendar where all the good things would happen again.
How wrong I was.
So maybe there was a huge “aha” moment after all. Maybe it was there in between writing down my son’s Thursday night game and the beach party planned on a Sunday.
If this were a movie, I’d probably be a lot thinner and a lot prettier and a lot younger, and a great song that nailed that moment would start filling up the scene and there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house.
If this were a movie, maybe this is where the credits would roll and the audience would sigh a deep gasp of relief and say to each other “Looks like she’s gonna be OK”.
I’m OK with my life not being a movie. I’m not ready for those credits to scroll up quite yet.
The last few days at work, I’ve had these 5th grade girls come and eat lunch with me. Adorable, vibrant, bright little girls who came to talk with me once about a problem they were having, and then decided that they wanted to keep coming to me during lunch because I was “fun”.
Today one of these girls asked me what the greatest mistake I ever made was. I scrolled through my head trying to filter out the stuff that 11 year old girls shouldn’t even know about yet.
But I did not have to scroll too much. The answer was obvious. It came right to the top of my head.
“Being affected by how other people see me.”
They nodded as if they got it. I’d like to think they got it. but I know they have a whole lot of life ahead of them where they will have to learn it for themselves.