Whatever Doesn’t Kill You, Or: The Scars of 2016

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Well, 2016, you damn near killed me. Statistically speaking, you should have. 1% survival. That’s what you left me with. And I’m still here. Despite the plot twists no one saw coming, I still had a blessed year. How do you like that?

It was a horrific time, by most accounts, and as such, I feel guilty in a lot of ways for feeling like 2016 was one of my more successful periods. If that doesn’t say a lot about my wacky world, I don’t know what will: I nearly died, and I still count the year as being a major win.

That’s part of it, I guess. I should have died and didn’t. I’m still handling the fallout from walking away from the hospital, mentally and physically. I will never be the same. In a lot of ways, I think that’s for the best. God knows, I was appreciative of a lot of the little things in life before…but now I cherish them.

Look, I am appalled with the political climate here in America. I didn’t vote for the guy coming into office and I find him to be morally reprehensible. The loss of people like Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, John Glenn, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali…those hurt. A lot. I’m still reeling from the loss of Carrie and her mother Debbie on consecutive days, as Carrie has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I’m seeing the worst of America’s culture put on display as people guilty of horrible things are allowed to continue their hateful and destructive ways.

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Yep.

Part of me wonders if I went into the operating room in one universe and woke up in an alternate, bizarro world that is similar to-but not exactly the same-as my world. It’s the scifi writer in me. Or it’s the good-person-coping-with-the-horrid-crap-that-keeps-making-headlines in me.

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Some days it feels like this.

That’s why I’m damned happy to still be here. It’s a challenge, and God knows I love a good challenge. This world needs good people to stand up and lead the way. Decency should never be optional. Goodness should never be sneered at. Justice is something to strive for, not spit at. The truth must be upheld, not bent for one’s personal benefit. I believed these to be true before I went into surgery and I believe them even more strongly now.

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We need to rescue ourselves in 2017, not wait to be rescued.

I was horrified by the scars I received from open-heart surgery for the first few weeks. I couldn’t even look at them for the first few days. They scared me. They reminded me how fragile I was. But as the dried blood washed away and my body healed, I started to realize something: they weren’t a sign of my weakness. It’s a sign that I made it. That I get to tell more stories, shape more minds and share love and wisdom for more days.

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I have more work to do. We all do.

I write stories and hope for Happily Ever Afters. I also know that just having an Ever After is enough most of the time. So you’ll have to pardon me when I look at 2016 and picture this:

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A win for the Good Guys.

That was a day 12 years in the making. It was a day after mid 20s weather and a day before mid 60s. There were more leaves the days leading in and less the days after. And it was perfect. We were surrounded by people who loved us, had supported us and, for many, needed a break from the Larger World beyond the safety of our dance floor.

There were so many things I did right this year (and did Write, including this blog). There were a lot of things I did wrong. I saw good people leave and graduate and move away…but I saw so many grow up and evolve and become more and accomplish small wonders.

I have no resolution for 2017. It’s going to be a day-to-day strategy most of the time. I hope to find more ways of spreading positivity to those around me. I’ll make mistakes. I’ll stumble along the way. But I pray that I’ve got it in me to see this story through for many more years to come and make 2017 a fresh start.

There is hard work yet to come. But if 2016 has taught me one thing it’s this: be grateful to have time with the people you love and to have the time to spread that love.

Here’s to fighting the good fight in a new year. Here’s to the dreamers, the people left behind, the survivors, the people who have more to achieve, the ones who hold us up when we’re weak and the ones who make us feel strong.

Up, up and away.

Until next time,
S

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