In Summary

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I'm Still Here.

I acknowledge it weekly, at least. Sometimes there are several days that pass where I whisper it to myself like a pep talk. I think it out loud when I have had a good cry, for the millionth time. I think it when I look in the mirror at what I swear are rapidly appearing wrinkles. I think it when I try on clothes and feel the scar on my new breast with my opposite hand because I still have no feeling in the place where my real breast used to be. I think it every time I am reminded that my niece, McKenzie is missing out on something. Hell, I even said it while watching the news, stumped and worried about what lies ahead after January 20th. 

It's been a shit year (my worst so far!). I have faced my greatest physical challenge as well as my greatest loss of family and all that pain and trauma placed unbelievable stress on my marriage and kids. We were broken and though we work to piece together our lives, we quietly accept that we can never go back to the Before days.   

I marvel sometimes that I am still here.

As the year draws to a close, I realize that statement is a surprise and a relief and a warning.

'Cause here's the thing.

You know all those wonderful people we lost in 2016? Guess, what? They are still here too. They live on in me and you and the magic they created and the lessons learned and the memories that cannot be taken from us. My niece? She's part of who I am. She lives on in my two kids who will never forget her and her countless friends and family who think of her every day. My friend Steve, he's there in his kids smiles and laughter. His family is his legacy. Carrie Fisher and Bowie and Prince and Alan Rickman and Harper Lee (Damn, the list is long) - all of them. Still right here. We have their films, their books, their discoveries, and the music. Best of all, we have the way they changed us, individually and as a whole. We are better for having experienced their gifts and those experiences cannot be lost.  

Politically, the road ahead looks daunting. But hey, guess who else is still here? Every single person who did NOT vote for Donald Trump. All those people who fight tirelessly for equality and compassion did not disappear. Those people, just like me, wake up in the morning and head out, hoping to make the world a better place and they won't stop just because there's a crackpot in the White House. 

I'm still here. And this is the warning. My being here counts. Because as long as I'm here, I get to decide how history changes me. I get to decide if I will lay down and cry every day or if I will get up and bust through 2017 and all my years after with the determination of Mohammed Ali and the wonder of Gene Wilder. 2016 was painful beyond words, yes. But if I learned anything from that pain, it's that I write my own story. In my story, I choose to fight back. I'll fight the nightmares with new memories. I'll fight the loneliness with friends. I'll fight the injustice with love. I'll fight the sickness with healthy habits. 

Fuck 2016. This is my life and I acknowledge it all, I am living in it, surviving it, growing it, changing it. As long as I'm here, I write the story. 

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