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Sometimes when I need some perspective, I flip through my archives. Although I have always held a lot back, I’ve been more open here than anywhere else. It’s interesting to go back and watch the road unfold because although I chose the words I wrote, once I made the decision to change the direction of my life, I had little control over the journey itself. You can read about the events that led to that decision here. In the overall scheme of things, the reasons why are not that important.

When I posted my book (it’s over here, if you would like to continue not reading it), I read it again. It was all I could do not to edit it, but I didn’t. I just let the story talk to me. One of the things I’ve always said is that it is impossible to write anything without putting a little of yourself into it. People asked me if the book was based on my life, or more to the point, if Rachel was me. The simple and short answer is no. Rachel is a fictional character. While I am a character, I am imaginary not fictional. (Never mind). We do have one thing in common though – isolation. It was as hard for Rachel to reach out to people as it is for me. And yet, fictional or imaginary, we both need people.

Through FB, Twitter, the blog and school, I’ve reached out as much as I am able. And, to my surprise and delight, people reached back. You showed me that I am only alone when I choose to be. As I’ve hung out with some of you (Archie and Mickey B and MoC and “Michael” and Jo AnnE) in person and others through email and blog comments (Wende and Lass and Penelope and Erin and Delmer and Len and Tug and Bryan) I see how blessed I have been. Blessed for the people in my life and blessed that I can recognize the blessing.

I can honestly say that this has been the best year of my life – which is kind of crazy considering that this is probably the most uncertain I have ever been. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring – and while it’s true that no one really knows what’s coming, uncertainty is unfamiliar territory for me. For so long, my world was black and white. Now, I’m learning to not only see the gray, but to live in it.

Sometimes, though, it gets to me. Juggling one or two flaming torches is one thing, but everything in my life is up in the air. Last night, I almost had a panic attack. Maybe I did – I don’t really know. I’ve heard it feels like a heart attack … it didn’t feel like that. But I felt like I was being stabbed in the gut while my lungs were being squeezed in a vice which is not a pleasant sensation, either, so I guess it’s a tie. And then I said something stupid and hurt someone’s feelings and that’s when the roof crashed on my head. All I could see was the past when I’d pushed people away because I felt stressed or pressured. When I feel down, or overwhelmed, or scared, I can’t go back into my shell … I would be there for a friend, no matter what, and I wouldn’t think a thing about it. That’s what friends are for. Why do I think my friends wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be there for me?

I choose to react differently today. I choose not to be alone. I choose to put myself out there and I choose to trust that I will land on my feet. So far it has worked. So far the risk has paid off.

I have a lot of faith in … something. Wende calls it the Universe and that’s as good a term as any. I believe that I will get back tenfold what I put in. I believe that half this game is 90% mental. When I see the bright side, the bright side sees me. Looking back through those archives, I can see where I’ve been – and I can see where I’m going. I found my road home – to myself and to my tribe, my chosen family.

I’m sorry I’m a little late.