Tootsie Rolls

Across This Universe

(Thursday) March 13, 2008

Dear Universe,

You and I have been through a lot in our 24 years together. And, as such, there are some things I have to say to you.

You’ve given me something which I’m not entirely sure I deserve, but am happy and proud to claim as my own: an incredibly loving and devoted family who has provided me with a house filled with memories of echoing laughter and shoulders to cry on. They have put up with me these long years, and not only have they never complained (much), but they forgive my mistakes, sympathize with my fears and uncertainties, and occasionally give me a swift kick in the ass when I need it. Their love is unconditional; you have shown me what family means.

You’ve bestowed upon me the blessings of a small number of close friends who are loyal, forgiving, and equally as loving, if not somewhat eccentric; friends who not only have taken the time to really get to know me, understand me, accept whatever flaws are packaged with me, but who recognize what I have to offer in return and appreciate my shortcomings nevertheless.

You’ve given me a number of amazing gifts in my lifetime, gifts that come with shedding fur and names: Sammy, Hercules, Lucy, Mikey, and, most recently, Riley and Cody. I’m not sure exactly what I have done to warrant their presence, but I am eternally grateful for their predispositioned, unquestioned love and loyalty — even if it means putting up with howling and slobber and bed hogs (Riley!). Through them, you have shown me what true loyalty and comfort is — there is no greater happiness than coming home to a wagging tail, completely forgiving of your absence. Even though I have lost many of them, the gift has been loving them.

With all of the experiences you have thrown at me, you have molded me into a person I am proud to have become. Above all things, I am grateful for my capacity to love and my annoyingly positive outlook on life. When I’m rejected, I hope. When I get hurt, I hope. When I feel lost, I hope. When life generally sucks, I can’t help but hope. Yes, I’m hopeless. But this Pollyanna view is what gives me faith and what helps me muddle through the shit that you throw at me, making me stronger in the end.

I’m grateful for my passions, including my love of learning. Thanks for not making me a genius, by the way. Not only because my fear of being John Travolta in Phenomenon will never be realized, but it’s also very humbling to know that there’s always someone who knows more than you. This is what connects us. Plus, there’s the bonus of my love of reading and traveling and experiencing, and what fun is knowing everything anyway?

I suck at sports, my musical aptitude is well below average, and my sketchpad more closely resembles a kindergartener’s refrigerator masterpiece — and trust me when I say that the kindergartener’s drawing is a masterpiece compared to my own. However, you’ve given me a talent that I’m not quite sure I deserve or would even label as such. If anything, it’s a passion that I just won’t give up on. I don’t know what I would do without my writing — to have the ability to exorcise these “what ifs” from my mind and transfer them to paper in a story or a poem is something that will never cease to amaze me. Ideas and thoughts freely traipse through my mind and I’m grateful to have an outlet for them — whether it actually produces something worthy or not, that remains to be seen and is certainly up for debate. But it’s something that I love to do and that’s quite enough for me.

Hey, Universe, you’re doing pretty well!

You’ve brought people into my life that I have loved and taken them out again despite my protests. You’ve provided me with opportunities that I have analyzed, weighed, and either taken or rejected. You’ve shown me signs, which I admit I have ignored, and opened doors that probably should have been padlocked in the first place.

But I have learned. You have given me the gifts that I need in order to shrug at the missed road sign and turn down another road, to follow that road as it winds through fields of missed opportunity and breaks sharply at hard lessons, to realize that detours are short and inevitable and eventually I will find and travel along that highway again.

You have given me a taste of love and opportunity and have taken it away again. Despite my tears and my curses and my wondering just what the hell I had done to deserve this, I have learned that you’ve treated me fairly and well. With a taste of both, I can now move forward and recognize it. Now I know what to look for, now I know that I am capable and deserving of both. Now I know, if I just let go, it will find me again when I least expect it.

Thank you for my life.

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