Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

This afternoon, I took a five-mile walk to clear my head. I do this pretty often if the weather allows. I'm so grateful the sun has been shining this week. I can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel called winter.

I'm reading The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I've been writing down some of my favorite lines and phrases. One that I jotted down was this:

"All the evil hate in the mad heart of February was wrought into the forlorn and icy wind..."

Yes, February does have a mad heart! I'm totally feelin' you on this, F. Scott! A friend sent me a link to a job opening with Frontline in Boston, but I think I'd rather be a hotel housekeeper in Key West than a respected journalist in the cold-as-Voldemort's-nipples northeast.

Anyway, during my walk, I tried to talk myself out of giving up for Lent. That's right. Not giving up something silly (like "meaningless gestures" as my brilliant friend Christopher Davis does every year), but simply giving up. I'm sick of being rejected. I'm sick of being told by agents that they can't sell my book.

They don't tell me that the book is bad. No, I've been told that it's good and powerful and intense. No, what I have heard repeatedly is that they just can't sell it.

If only my book had a shirtless werewolf or a sparkly vampire or a story that is wrapped up with a pretty bow at the end. If only I'd once had sex with a president or some other famous adulterer.

So I've been thinking about giving up, sliding the book into a drawer and forgetting about trying to get an agent. I walked four miles and I did a really good job of cleaning out the crap in my head (at least for the moment) and then, boom, by the end of mile four, I was telling off God.

Excuse me, sir, but where are all the rewards I should be getting for putting up with all the crap that has been heaped upon me? When can I expect delivery of the order I have placed with the universe? Hello? Are you listening? What's the freaking deal here?

"It's always darkest before the dawn" is something some dumb ass once said and that people like to repeat. So then we, as human beings, are brainwashed into believing that the darkest moments are actually followed by a dawn. We expect it to be as splendid as a sunrise. Sometimes it's just a slightly less dark darkness, that's all.

But, at the end of mile five, I thought about how my mom is coming tomorrow. We've been talking about how much we want to spend some time together. Unfortunately, plane fares are too expensive right now and my mom doesn't like driving on the interstate. Not two weeks ago, we were trying to figure out how and when she could come see me and Kate and Jacob. Then, boom, my mom found out the track team from Northwestern, where she works for the football coach, is coming to Birmingham for a meet at UAB, and the coach invited my mom to ride the bus with them.

She'll be here around 5 pm tomorrow and I can't wait. My mom is my hero and my best friend. She believes in me and understands me. This weekend, when I will tell her that I want to give up, when I will tell her - not for the first time or even the fifteenth time - that I am afraid I made the wrong decision (that I've made a million wrong decisions), and when my eyes fill with tears as they do every time I admit this fear aloud, she will listen and then she'll reassure me.

When she hugs me, I'll feel better. I've noticed only recently that she feels like a grandmother when I hug her. She feels a bit smaller than she used to. "I'm getting shorter!" she has exclaimed. She feels warm and comforting. I hope she doesn't mind this, because it's pretty wonderful. It reminds me of how my grandma used to feel.

For a good long while after she hugs me and says uplifting things and makes me laugh and goes home again, I'll give up on the idea of giving up.

Sometimes when it's dark, what dawns on you is that you are looking in the wrong direction. You are looking at things you don't have instead of focusing on what you do.

Sometimes when it's dark, what dawns on you is that you are incredibly loved, that someone is looking out for you and believing that you can be all the things you want to be, believing that you already are someone amazing and worthy and living a life full of rewards.


  1. This is so true Amy. Enjoy your visit with your mom.

  2. Once again, by being honest you're helping so many other people. I am so glad you get to spend this time with your mom -- enjoy every minute of it. And thank you for reminding me that the "darkness before dawn" thing is a crock and that we find light and hope from the people who truly care, no matter how dark it is outside.

  3. I like to call this the Elizabeth Steroid Shot. We all believe in and you love you. Maybe we'll just start selling that book door to door, like old encyclopedia salesmen. Hee!

    Wait, no, stop laughing. I'm serious.

  4. This post made me tear up. I don't know you, but I so admire your struggle, and your ability to be honest about disappointment and "giving up". That's something we can ALL relate to. I LOVE reading your blog.


  5. I am all teary eyed after this post. Maybe there's a little something we can both take from the quote I sent you this morning about Grief. Maybe it is a window that opens at its own accord, opening less and less each day, and one day we'll both wonder.."where has it gone". And the light will emerge and things will be right again in the world. Even if it is for just one day. Keep the faith Amy B. I love you!


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