And then I reconsidered. Not because I'm interested in protecting the not-so-innocent, but because in the end, stories about where things went wrong serve no one. Well, maybe that's not true. Sometimes they can be guideposts (and it's nice when that happens) but more often? They're like rolling around in the carcass of your mistakes until you are covered in the stink and rot of them. That's an ugly image that suits an ugly practice, and I refuse to go there, even if it would be momentarily satisfying, because if the ultimate purpose is to learn and grow? Then maybe I should, you know, do that learning and growing thing, and put the stories that amount to the online version of another somebody done somebody wrong song aside and tell the good ones, the positive ones.
I should tell the story of Vanessa, who took me in when I had no place else to go and treated me like family. No, that's not true; she made me family. I had nowhere to live and she just ... Made me a key. Y'all. If I live to be 112, I will not be able to repay that kindness.
I should tell the story of Shilo, who let me weep in her living room in grief and mortification and thought while I was still trying to get it together, I can do something about this -- and started an online campaign to do just that. I could tell the story of the people who pitched in to fix some of what had gone so very sideways.
I could tell you about Neha, who stepped in and made sure that I remembered that biology is not the only thing that makes family... And that family, biological or not, will show its teeth when one of their relatives is threatened.
I could tell you about Matt, who dropped everything more than once, because I needed help (and who grills a mean steak when it becomes very clear that you need a meal, and who makes a mean drink when it becomes very clear that you need some whiskey, and who just might give the world's best hug).
I could tell you about the staff at Central Park Vet, who was unbelievably kind to me when I lost my beloved Bean. I could never tell you about the last moments with my girl, because apparently I have boundaries (I know, I'm surprised too) and it still hurts far too much. But everyone there was the definition of grace; I appreciated it then and I still appreciate it now.
I could tell you about Flinkie who, as usual, was awesome. I could tell you that she arranged for us to have a date with Bon Jovi... And that, when it turned out that I wouldn't be able to go because I needed to move? Didn't bat an eye and just helped me out. Someday, Flinkie, we WILL rock out with Bon Jovi! I swear!
I could tell you about my mom and dad, who keep assuring me that I'm awesome despite the fact that I continue to fuck up on a fairly regular basis.
And about Dan, who makes sure there's a light in the dark; about Jessica and Linda, who provide cocoa and giggles and doggie photos; about Dot, who makes me laugh; about Jamison, who's "hi, Auntie" makes my day; about Amber, my fake twin who I couldn't do without; about Liz, Kelly, and Wendy, who don't all know each other but who each made sure that I know I would have a place with them if I needed it; about the people I've never actually met but who have been super cool (among them Rob and Heather).
I could tell you all of these stories and I probably will in the next year because the good stories? We should tell those. We should celebrate those.
The terrible stories? We should learn from those, but we should not ... I don't know ... Give them more importance than they deserve. I will not give the people who hurt me this year the honour of discussing them -- to be honest, I have resolved no longer to give anyone who has impacted my life so negatively the benefit of discussion.
Live, learn, and let go.
The title of this post is an autocorrect quirk -- I wanted it to be "goodbye, yellow brick road" as in "stop looking behind you all of the time! Look ahead!"
But. Autocorrect wanted it to be a Yellie Brick road. And on a Yellie Brick road? I'm carrying what I love with me, what makes me better, even while I look ahead.
So there's that.
And that? Doesn't suck.