Hard Truths

This time last year we were in Prague attempting IVF for the first time. What an extraordinary year. Nothing could have prepared me for any of this, and I am so grateful. Although I’m crazy proud of how Mike and I sailed the storm, if I could go back now, I wouldn’t have chosen this path. That is such a hard truth to admit to myself.

I’ve never considered myself someone who backs away from a challenge, but out of sheer love for the Suzanne I used to be, I would say no to putting her through that. It’s too much and ultimately I feel sorry that I hurt her. But life isn’t 20/20, and there was no way I could have talked myself out of it. So, instead I’m left with pride, gratitude, and the most creative 12 months of my life. Like everything in my life I find what I truly feel in the words of a song.

There’s a song by Alanis Morissette, “Thank You”. She has a rampage of appreciation and thanks to the good and the bad. I remember hearing it in the 90’s and thinking, how powerful would I be, if I could thank the experiences that hurt me as well as the ones that made me feel blessed?

Now, I understand the power I wanted to feel all those years ago. Since I can’t go back in time, and safeguard my heart and mind, I will thank this year for sculpting me into a much better version of myself.

Thank you, IVF 1 and IVF 2. Thank you, brave and fearless girl who wants to be a mom. Thank you, strong and compassionate woman for rising to the occasion. Thank you, childish ways for burning the house down. Thank you, new version of me who said, “Enough. Get off the floor.” Thank you, broken mind and hopelessness. Thank you, to the hours I spent on my knees crying and praying to I don’t know who.

Thank you, photographer friends for picking me up and reminding me what feeling supported by the universe looks like.

Thank you, for the unfolding that I have autism. Thank you, for the knowing that it will add to my understanding of myself and my creativity.

Thank you, Prague for giving us a safe haven where IVF is more affordable. Thank you, PTSD for showing me what I can overcome and that my mind and spirit are separate. Thank you, failure for letting me know how proud I am that I tried.

Thank you, to all the self doubt and confusion, because it allowed me to lean on Mike and trust him in a way I probably would have never figured out. Thank you, needing help and to my friends who checked in so regularly just to make sure I was as ok as I could be. Thank you, to Vanessa and Jen Morrison for never asking me to be happier than I could be.

Thank you, to credit card debt. Thank you, that so many people we love can’t relate to this experience at all, because I certainly wouldn’t want them to. Thank you, to heartbreak and fear. Thank you, to all the people who know what we are going through - who fight their good fight, and have shown us the way - we are following your light.

Lately, I see the last year in a different way. Somehow. I have some perspective. I have received so many gifts . . .

I am insanely creative. Photographing gives me a high that’s greater than it’s ever been before. Weddings make me feel down right euphoric.

I get along with Mike in a whole new way. I’m more accepting of who he is. I am capable of giving him more space to find his own way.

I can relate to people in so many more ways. I can see deeper into them.

I find power in gratitude and always focused on the good. Without knowing it I adopted Jess Lively’s mantra of “Yes, thank you and More, please”, to all good experiences. Yes to amazing friends. Yes to creative  jobs. Yes to paying rent, and buying groceries. Yes to art. Yes to love.

I love myself in a way I’ve never known. I’m learning to be enough for myself. I’ve learned to play outside my comfort zone. I am excited for how expansive I’m becoming. I know I can go to hell and eventually find my way back to myself. Back to feeling stable, steady, and strong.I am becoming a more beautiful version of myself.

I can add more peace to the world by speaking to myself in a more compassionate voice. I am capable of learning so much. I am meant to be an artist. I can make art even when I can't find myself. I feel powerful that I am connected to all of the other artists in the world even when I can't quite find Suzanne.

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