anniversaries and new years

A couple days ago was my anniversary of terrible things. I posted the video of my little custom on Instagram, as I have done the previous two years.

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Today is my Anniversary Of Terrible Things. Four years ago today, I began my incarceration. Three years ago today, my husband died. Time has moved fast, but not always gently. Pieces of my old lives get thrown forward like rubble, and I stumble. I'm always, always stumbling. This is a hard one, for some reason. Grief doesn't seem to care that it's been years and years. I have this little tradition. It soothes me and I look back on it often. I light a match for everything and everyone I've lost– so I can see them clearly in my heart, so I can push back the dark that clouds me sometimes. And then I pretend all that energy made the match into a giver of wishes, and I blow it out, reminding myself that I still deserve wishes as much as I ever did. Today is my anniversary of terrible things, and sometimes I don't know why I hold so tightly to days and rituals… but I think it has something to do with celebrating the only things life has let me keep. #AnniversaryOfTerribleThings #widow #felon #brokenheartedgirl

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Today is my anniversary of terrible things. My loss of freedom (2014), my loss of Dave (2015). Three years ago today, I wore handcuffs for the first time, and they made the same rattle sound as the metal tassle Dave had sewn to my boots years before. (The sound made me giggle– made me want to skip– and though he didn't care for the clanging, he liked my happiness.) When the cuffs rattled on my hands as they led me away, we made eye contact and smiled.Two years ago today, I was learning to make prison-cake out of creamer and oreos, laughing and threading my eyebrows, while Dave died alone. I didn't learn of his death for days. No one did. Everything is so ugly mixed in with pretty. There's so much fault in the fated. There's happiness unpleasantly stuck in the sadness like caught spinach between a toothy smile. It's a story awful enough to be fictional, but it's not. Today is my anniversary of terrible things. This is my little ritual. Fight the dark with light, make wishes like I've earned them just for keeping on. Because an anniversary means I did keep on. And in a world of things to mourn, I'm rather protective of the things left to celebrate. #anniversaries #allthelittlelights #IfYouCanMeetWithTriumphAndDisaster #makeAWish #LightALight #instaRarasaur #widow #prison #jail #incarceratedfamilies #AnniversaryOfTerribleThings

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Light and wishes. Today is my anniversary of terrible things. My loss of freedom (2014), my loss of Dave (2015). For the losses, I lit a match– it's just a little light, but even a little light pushes back the dark. Today is my anniversary of terrible things. Which means it's a birthday of sorts, a celebration day of the life I've lived and the scars I've worn and the sad things I've learned to carry. For these victories, I think I've earned a wish. .. so I blew out the match. (Don't tell anyone, but I wished for my little light to be seen far and wide just in case there's someone out there who doesn't have a match, or wasn't as lucky as I was to have earned a wish. ) #anniversaries #allthelittlelights #IfYouCanMeetWithTriumphAndDisaster #makeAWish #LightALight #instaRarasaur #AnniversaryOfTerribleThings

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This year seemed almost harder than the last two, but of course– everyone knows that time and grief don’t really play by the same rules.

One of the reasons it is so difficult to come to May 6th is that is has become a sort of marker by which I can judge myself.

Most of the time, I feel like I’m moving, like I’m doing something, but on the anniversary of terrible things– I see how far away from a stable life I am. I went to prison four years ago. I still have nightmares. Dave died three years ago. I still don’t know what I want from love and relationships.

It’s an exhausting day. and this year was especially so. There was a lot of loss– some things I was finally forced to accept, some things I let go, some things slipped away, and some were taken away.

And some of those things were people.

It was feeling pretty terrible until May 7th, when I realized that as much as the 6th is a marker of endings– an ending where I never seem to be anywhere near a finish line– the 7th is a sort of beginning.

It’s almost like my personal New Year. And on New Years, you get to celebrate how far you’ve come rather than worry about how far you still have to go.

The universe helped me out by sending a proof copy of the book I started talking about in November with the post “And yet and so and still” —

Reading that post of plans reminded me how many changes I’ve actually seen through. I’ve pruned this blog as I said I would. It’s less than 20 posts big now. I put some of the most precious words into a book about finding happiness while healing, and that’ll be out next week. The rest are coming, the next book is forming, and this space is finally free to fill up however I want.

I’m excited for Dinosaur-Hearted. It’s an entire book of the truthful and balanced joys that I am so often drawn to. Some of the chapters are handwritten. My signboards are in it. It’s littered with my doodles.

I’ve read it over and over, and I’m proud of it. It feels like a love letter. It is a love letter, to you. And I am hoping you all love it back.


Are there any days in your year that are like your own personal New Year?