I am having a strange day today. Rather giddy, giggly and jelly-like with relief, with joy, with trepidatious anticipation...after such a long time, my memoir is finished and off to the printers. I have little else to do but unwind and embroider for the rest of the year (a commissioned piece). I was at work, hauling fish on trays and shrimp on skewers, when it suddenly hit me. I. Have. Nothing. That. Needs. Immediate. Attention.
I got home, took a shower, laid down to embroider and fell fast asleep. I woke up with the needle and floss in my hand, embroidery hoop draped across my belly. It was seven at night when I awoke. Such a strange thing, after such a long haul, so much work, so much angst, making sure that everything is just so and flows exactly right. There's a beauty in being boneless with relief. I started laughing and my roommate asked what was so funny. "I don't know," I replied, cackling. It was glorious. My hair looked like a Brillo pad, my eyes were ringed with smeared mascara and one foot was peeking out from beneath the comforter covering me, sock hanging half off.
Being the marvelous creature that she is, my roomie brought out a book and read to me. One quote in particular struck me with its truth and beauty: In the depth of winter, I find within myself an indestructible summer.
When you're born, you get strapped, kicking and screaming, into this roller coaster called Life, with a doctor smacking your bare butt and a sudden burst of cold as your body hits air for the first time. Floating in warm goo, with the symphony of your mother's heartbeat always in your ear for the first nine months, does little to prepare you for the ups and downs and gut-wrenching thrills of a breathing future. But we hold on, regardless of the rush of gravity and terror that's just around the corner. Who would have thought, given my nutty past, that I would be in a position to give aid to others just by telling my story? This memoir is a snapshot of Rebecca O'Donnell, straight out of my soul and graphically told. With all these edits and rewrites and re-reads, I've visited those rough-as-hell memories over and over again. To my surprise, I have seen a value in my experiences. I'm not grateful that they happened, not the terrible ones, but I'm grateful that I'm not a crack whore or drunk, as so many, many others in my family are. I'm one of the lucky ones. So, I raise a metaphorical glass to myself, and to all my brothers and sisters of circumstance. May you find yourself boneless with relief some day. May you cackle like a witch and look like a hag with really bad hair, and may you do it all with a grin, just happy to be alive. At long last, so very happy to be alive. Hang in there.