The last two years have been the hardest years of my life. Hard because I made them that way; hard because I looked at my life and realized that I wasn’t all the way in it, and I wanted to get all the way in it. I woke up and looked around and knew that I had to change a lot of things. So I set about changing them.

Here’s the thing about saying yes: once you start, it becomes an incredible betrayal of what you’ve already done to stop saying yes. No one warned me about that. It would not have stopped me, in any case. But when I started making changes in my life, I think I believed that was a finite process. Change this thing about my habits, check. Change this thing about my body, check. Change this thing about where I live, what I want, what I do, check, check, check. But as I made these changes and my life opened up before me and I began to know myself, my real self, the way I want to be, the light that poured into my life showed a thousand little cracks and fissures and flaws. All things that needed more yes.

So I’ve gone on saying yes, and making changes and growing and reshaping and learning. And it has been rough and glorious. It’s still rough, and I don’t really expect it to stop being rough any time soon. But the glorious is so big, and I’m incredibly grateful for this life that I’m all the way in.

Here’s why.

My friends, both here and in Chicago, have cheered me on, have dried my tears, have given me their homes and their helping hands and their loving support. They have literally fed and clothed me, before, during and after the move. I would not be sitting here calm and happy and typing without them. No, seriously, they gave me the laptop, too. My friends, all of them, are tough, tender, smart and daring people, and everything important that I know about being a person, I learned from them.

I love a good man, an amazing man, and he loves me. He delights in my good days, and he lightens my hard days; he tells me his triumphs and struggles, and lets me share in them, too. He makes me think, he makes me laugh, and he never lets me forget that I’m beautiful.

My family, immediate and extended, are more present in my life than ever before. My brother and his wife have been life-savers to me this year, and seeing my niece and nephew every week is a sweet and hilarious joy beyond compare. My parents have brought all of us together through the time they’re spending with my grandparents in Virginia. One of my cousins set up a family email list a couple of years ago, and I’ve been so happy to get to know my (very far-flung) family and their lives through the easy grace of email.

This apartment is warm and light and comfortable and all my own. In an age of want, I’m truly grateful for my home. I know I’m lucky to have it, and the peace and solitude and comfort that it gives me.

I have good work, that I enjoy and that I do well. It connects me to myself, and to other people; it brings me satisfaction and curiosity and new things to think about all the time.

I could keep going indefinitely. There are books to be thankful for, and tools to be grateful for, and Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog and the gym and my growing love for shrieky metal music. There is the postal service, and Trimet and Netflix and street art and the beautiful bridges of Portland. There is the magic of Google and the stuff they made that pretty much runs my life. But there are also kids to be cuddled, and wine to be poured and pie to be eaten, and you’ve probably got a turkey in the oven. So I’m going to stop here.

Today is Thanksgiving. I wish you a happy one, and I say thank you. I say yes.

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