In the spirit of this feeling—strong, stable, supported and able to be supportive—there are things and people that I need to express gratitude for. So here, in no particular order, are some of them.
- My parents. They are truly the best. I love that they kid around with my pals; it turns out that, in my adulthood, my parents have become my friends. But also so much more: my confidants, my eternal cheerleaders, and my role models. I'm supremely lucky they are they people they are, as they've helped make me the person I am. And I'm grateful.
- My boyfriend. He is amazing, full stop. I love his unshakeable faith in us, as a unit; I love his passion and his energy; I love his sweet and curious nature. He is my partner in every sense of the word, and even in the moments when my crazy brain insists I would be better off alone—in a pit, made of tar! Hashtag self-loathing!—he knows to stick around. That is a rare and much-appreciated talent in this house.
- My friends. I am ungodly blessed by the people in my life, who always show up with food and gifts and time and energy, who give me so much and who allow me to give them my heart, too. That reciprocity is one of the engines that drives me; an emerging "friendship" that feels much too one-sided is now getting some serious scrutiny from your truly, and that scrutiny feels like good, soulful work. I just feel like I don't have enough time for surface relationships anymore.
- Nia. Is it weird to be grateful for a dance form? I don't care. I am: it's given me my body back, made me confident and strong, and, shown me a way to age gracefully into my 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. At a time when I'm looking for role models that make me feel good about myself, practicing Nia offers answers to questions I was afraid to ask, like "What can I do to feel pleasure in my body?" and "How do I act when I'm vulnerable?" (I cry a lot, as it turns out.)
- This city. Rob Ford aside, "winter is coming" aside, I really do love this town. I'm excited to see more of it: to live in different neighbourhoods, to drink in bars and eat in restaurants all across town, to keep my Annex roots alive and encourage new growth. I'm lucky to live in a place where I can eat fresh food all year round, where I can get around without having a car, where I can buy things at every price point and amuse myself for free.
- Writing. I do a lot of different kinds of writing: blogging, interviews, reviews, short fiction, long fiction. I'm a member of a writer's circle and I do a lot of the administrative work for that, which is fun. I have friends who encourage me to take risks in my writing, by trying new gigs or passing on promising leads. And the daily or several-times-weekly practice of getting creative has turned out to be a true personal sacrament. Sometimes, it takes the form of knitting or crafting, and I'm grateful for those things as well, but writing has allowed me to be so honest and true to myself. It's been challenging and difficult, it's been vertiginous and raw, but it's always been necessary. And I'm grateful for the place it holds in my life.