The year of the laugh lines

This year I was gone and I was here, I was well and unwell and I was very glad to be both when I was them. This year I curled up under a lot of streetlights I mistook for the moon. This year I loved big and whole and with a lot of guts. I used my feet, I walked and I ran and I saw things, really saw them. This year I wrote most of my poems on the breeze, hoping they’d finally teach me something. Hoping I’d finally listen. I did.

This year was realizing my shadow isn't a dark thing, it's simply the sun resting. This year I found grace for the darkness, finally understood that it was giving the sun a break from making me feel less afraid of what I cannot see. This year I learned to not be so afraid of what I cannot see. The foreign and unfamiliar uncovered in the dark look a lot like brave when the sun comes back out.

This year I wrote in every journal I own. But this year I didn't fill all of any of them, because for the first time, I'm comfortable with unwritten. I'm content with unsure, with uncomfortable, with sitting still and feeling life move around me. This year I stopped running, I let God meet me where I was, instead of making Him chase me to somewhere prettied up.

This year I held up my bandages and I stopped convincing people they weren't mine. I raised them like flags and asked everyone to celebrate, then retired them like an old trophy, put them away to collect dust.

This year, I hurt cruel, I hurt selfish and I hurt loud. My hurt became an acquaintance I got very sick of being around. I became an acquaintance I got very sick of being around.

This year I loved a person the biggest I ever have, I loved him so big and so full and with all of the zest and risk and breath in me. This year I looked into him like a mirror, seeing my most true self, and I cried. I cried deep and shallow and ugly, and I clenched tissues beneath my fingers as I picked up my chin to look again. And I cried. Then breathed. I stared into the broken, far more sharp than I’d ever fathomed. Looked at the hidden, buried deeper than I knew I could dig. And he collected it all and helped me make it into something better.

This year I became the broom, I owned up to the pieces, and then I swept.

This year, I learned the kind of happiness that gives a person laugh lines, the kind that write in cursive across your face with a certain romance and charm. I learned the kind of happiness you're never really certain how to write about, only how to feel. This year, I felt it all. And I am new. And I have so many laugh lines.