The last 13 months have been a crazy shitstorm of things going horribly, terribly wrong. Here's the Reader's Digest Uber-condensed version of what went down in chronological order ::
-Truck gets stolen from our country residential home. It's the kind of place where nobody locks their doors and all the vehicles are not only unlocked but odds are, the keys are in the ignition. Crackheads came to my house and took my truck. While I was in Atlanta at a photography workshop and my beautiful family slept only feet away, tucked into their beds. Nobody noticed a thing until the morning. The papers referred to them as "Bonnie & Clyde". Way to glamourize my trauma, local media geniuses. Way to go.
-A family "friend" decided to settle a score by stealing our enclosed hauling trailer. There was nothing the police could do as we had originally lent it to this person and he just refused to return it.
-Remember the country residential bit? We are so far from town that we are on water haul rather than on city water and the line that carried water from our underground tank to the house was freezing non-stop. So we had no running water for a week. Great. In the winter where we live, temps can drop to-40 (which is the same in F or C)
-Hard drive failure at work. Lost client files. Not a total loss, just a nuisance.
-March 29, 2012 my phone at work rings. My mother-in-law tells me two things. First she tells me to sit down (uh oh! This can NOT be good) then she tells me my house is on fire. WHAT?! Yep. My house. On fire.Fifteen minutes of driving what's normally a 30 minute drive, I pull into the driveway to see several fire trucks and a couple of police cars. My house is gone. All that remains is a blackened wall that is fully ablaze and a giant black scar on the landscape where my family's home once stood. Trauma. Bigtime.
-Bedbugs. Seriously? Effing bedbugs? Right, because things weren't awesome enough. (they're gone now)
-I get a new car to replace the one that was stolen. Six months later, it's written off as a result of being rear-ended by a diesel pickup truck full of teenagers on their way to a graduation party.
-the new tools we bought to rebuild our new house and to replace the ones we lost in the fire all got stolen from the building site
-Oct 12, 2012 my friend (and a friend of thousands) Jen Thompson passed away from ovarian cancer at 34.Her battle was very public and so very proudly fought. Read her story HERE
-Nov 2, 2012 my childhood bestie since age 5 gets news that her father's previously believed fully operable tumor is in fact small cell lung cancer and it was in his entire body. Four days later, he was gone.
Now, why have I told you all of this? Not for sympathy and not for pity. I am telling you this so that you can know that no matter how insane you think your life is right this moment, there is something incredible waiting for you on the other side. I have heard every platitude and inspirational quote known to man since this stupid year started to unfold... and do you know what I've learned from those things? I've learned that they are all designed to remind me of my power. My power not to change my circumstances but rather to change my behaviour in these circumstances.
Make no mistake, when I had a man standing in my living room yelling at me over some imaginary unpaid debt, I yelled. Profanities, even! But when he left, I kinda felt free. A slightly bruised ego, I'll admit, but free. Lighter and freer just knowing that I would never behave the way he did (even though my behaviour was imperfect) and it was also a reminder to not get attached to material things. Obviously, I needed to learn that lesson in a larger-scale way because only months later, I lost not one single material possession but all of them - save for what was on my body and in my car. The very car which would be written off two months later in a crash.
After all the things that happened over the past 13 months, I have learned a few incredibly important things ::
-losing precious things hurts
-hearing hateful, cruel things being said about you from people you believed to be friends also hurts
-telling your children that their home burned to the ground is gut-wrenchingly painful
-knowing that my family (dogs included, and two weeks later also the cat!) were all unharmed physically by the fire
-seeing how strong and supportive my friends are and the kindness & generosity of our community
-paring life down to the essentials allows one to really experience life in its purest form
-art heals a broken soul. - more on this later
There is so much more I could say about this but I'll leave it there. That's enough for one night. Soon, I'll have more. Not sure what, not sure when but more. Stay tuned.