The 16 year recap

Happy birthday to me.

Oh, it's not really my birthday, but it sorta is.

16 years ago, today, I did something brave. I did something I didn't want to do, and didn't know how to do, and didn't think I could do. I did the one thing that scared me the most; I had an independent thought. I had the very first independent thought I think I'd ever had before that day, and that thought and its subsequent choices have altered my life in a way I don't even want to think about. The alternative was completely unacceptable.

16 years ago today, I gave myself a window to grieve, to wallow, to hurt, and to let it all end. I gave myself exactly as long without that nightmare as I had with it, 16 years, to accept it, maybe forgive it, and to move forward.

16 years ago today I snuck onto an airplane and I left my mother, my family, my church, my friends and my whole world behind. I flew all day and landed one mile higher than I had departed and that moment when I stepped out of the plane into the snow and the dryness and the nighttime sky, my life finally began. I never looked back.

For 16 years I have been working through this thing, this running, this burying of anger. I have cried, I have dreamt murderous dreams in shades of red that I have never seen with my waking eyes, I have yelled and lashed out, and each day I have grown.

Today, I almost forgot about it. This thing, the very thing that formed me and made me what I am today, it doesn't own me anymore. It is a book that I read a long time ago. It is a nightmare after too much wine and chocolate. It is of almost no consequence at all.

I had 16 years with my family, and I have had 16 years without them. I hardly remember them anymore, and I don't miss them, and I almost never think about them anymore. I can't remember the smell of my mother or the sound of her voice. My brother and sister will never be older than 13. My friends will always have zits and braces.

I am totally ok with that.

Maybe tomorrow there will be more. You know, details. For tonight, raise a glass to the little girl who thought she could.

She could. And she did.