Last night, my shih tzu Chewbacca shivered in my arms as fireworks echoed in the air. He wouldn't calm down, and I was worried that, with his heart condition, he might pass out.
I hugged him. Kissed him. Rubbed his chest.
It made me think of all the times in my life when I'd been terrified. When I couldn't figure out what was going on. When life seemed unmanageable. And overwhelming. When my head was not in the game. But I always had heart, always.
Even when I dropped out of high school, I knew it wasn't over. Then, while working my way through junior college, I couldn't pass my Algebra 2 class. Somehow, someway I muddled through. Then my car blew up and I lost my job and my apartment.
You'll have to read my memoir to hear the story, but I made it through that time by moving into my parents' trailer with them, taking it step by step.
Flash forward to after UCR and USC Law School, when I was a desperately unhappy civil lawyer. I felt like I was trapped in a nightmare. Was this success? It couldn't be. Not for me.
After my dad died, I realized I had to do something else. Becoming a writer and then a deputy public defender. Finding and believing in my voice. Doubts persisted in my writing.
Years later, trying to have a baby and visualizing it happening over and over. Then realizing it wasn't going to happen after failed in vitro and a horrific traumatizing miscarriage.
Crying in the shower for a year. Waking up one day and seeing, finally, that my purpose is to write my stories. To publish them. To reach people's hearts. To hear my father's voice in my stories.
To merge law, writing and music is a dream come true. Two books coming out in the same year. It's a dream. A dream realized. I am so grateful to the universe.
So here I am my friends. Here I am. Listening to fireworks in the dark, thankful for everything I've been given. My life, my family, my dogs but especially for my voice and heart.