One year ago this weekend (give or take a few days–that is how the calendar works, after all) was my rock bottom. I was alone in Zion, IL (cue Paul and Geoff: Jew skies…smiling at me), searching my soul, which pretty much translates to uncontrollable sobbing, phone fights, and a table for one at Applebee’s. The night was completely still. The lake was like glass, and the wind had vanished. And not to be totally dramatic about it, but I had never felt such despair. It felt like everything had burst out of me, screaming. This man had changed everything I knew to be true and safe and for reasons I still can’t quite comprehend, I was alienated from my family. It was the worst night. And somehow, I fell asleep and got through it and then…I woke up.
I checked out of the motel at 7 in the morning, got a cup of gas station coffee, and drove to the beach. Beach State Park was beautiful, wild, and untamed. There was a crispness in the summer air that morning that gave me life and strength. I was still in pain, but I was less lost. I knew what I had to do, and although it hurt like nothing ever has before (for reasons he probably still doesn’t understand), I knew I could. I couldn’t cry anymore; I could only breathe. I spent an hour just sitting. I wasn’t even really thinking anything. I was just gathering the strength I needed to move. Finally, I stood up and walked to my car. When I turned the car on, I heard a familiar beat begin to play.
“When I get older, I will be stronger
They’ll call me freedom, just like the waving flag…
When I get older, I will be stronger…”
One hand out the window, one on the wheel, and my phone in the trunk–I drove away.
It is one year later. One tumultuous year later. As you know, much has happened. Lots of good, a little bad. A few biopsies here and there. But where do I stand on all of this? And why should you care? Well, ok, you shouldn’t care, because this is honestly more of an open letter. I only tell you over and over because, while I feel listened to, I don’t feel heard. And I have some pretty damning and salient proof that I haven’t been heard.
Anyhoozle. I’m better. I’m stronger. And truly, for the first time–REALLY, the first time since this whole thing began–I’m not sad. Finally, my blood boiled with rage and then I calmed down (this was just a few weeks ago). True colors were shown, and it made it easier not to feel sympathy or pain for him. I realized someone this small has no power to hurt me anymore. Despite what you might think, I have done nothing but try to move on all year–and finally, I can start. I’m listening to the same songs I listened to all of last summer, and they carry some heavy-duty memories, but they sound different. They feel better.
“And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him out!…Happiness hit her like a bullet in the head, struck from a great height, by someone who should know better/The DOG DAYS ARE OVER. THE DOG DAYS ARE GONE. THE HORSES ARE COMING SO YOU BETTER RUN!”
So a long winded way of saying, I am so much better. Bruschetta:
A few of you may know this, but CDR and I have started a rooftop garden. It is so much fun and so beautiful and we have an endless supply of herbs! Yesterday, I was having a weak day (physically) and wanted to do something fun with tuna, so I thought…TUNA BRUSCHETTA SOUNDS DELICIOUS! And it was.
I added a can of tuna packed in oil, drained partially so you still get some of the oil. I also added 1/4 of a cup of garbanzo beans for added protein. Finish it off with a splash of balsamic and salt and pepper.
Voila. Super simple, super healthy, and super yummy.
We also made a lemon-verbena simple syrup, which I’ll stir into a cake in a few days–recipe testing for Cry Eye Fatigue Syndrome. Boil equal cups water and sugar until it reduces slightly, and let herb leaves steep for 15-20 minutes.
Tomorrow is the summer solstice, and Geoff is coming over for dinner. We’ll celebrate our bounty of herbs by using them in a bunch of flatbreads. And weather permitting, we might dine on the roof. Here’s to a glorious summer!