Reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December designed to reflect on 2014 and project hopes and dreams for 2015. Throughout December,Sarah, Kat and I will post each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. Follow us on Twitter @project_reverb and #reverb14.
Thank You | Write a thank-you note to someone who broke your heart, or made your life harder than it needed to be. Bonus points for sharing it here.
My ex used to say to our little dog, Moose, thanks for wreckin’ up the place! He meant it as a statement of endearment. She was a tiny, ferocious little dog who could make a mess exponentially larger than herself, and we loved her for it.
In truth, I’m the one who wrote this prompt, and now I’m feeling squirrelly about mustering up the vulnerability required to actually write on it.
And my go-to for this kind of topic is The Bad Events of 2011, but I’ve beaten the Long Dead Horse of 2011 so hard that it’s now unrecognisable as a horse. It’s just a lump of hair, and teeth, and hooves, and bones and blood where a quadruped had been. I have long screamed and cried: I didn’t do anything to you people — why did you hurt and humiliate me? And the only response I get is my own voice echoing off the walls of my home.
So to the folks who Made a Mess of Things for me a few years back, I think I am finally able to say…thanks for wreckin’ up the place.
Thanks for letting me learn resilience on my own. Thanks for backing me up against that wall, and making me feel small, and doing all those bad things that you thought you were doing, like we were sophomores in college, except we were in our thirties. Because with my back against the wall, I learned to push with my feet; I learned to duck and slide; I learned to move with a sureness I’d never have learned otherwise.
Because of you, I learned how to be deliberate in selecting a partner; in making my needs and wants known; to be wary when dating; to stick it out when things were rough but to fight when necessary.
And when necessary, to fight like hell.
I also learned that sometimes people don’t care about proof. And you have to live with that, because that’s what being a grown up is, and sometimes, people are uncomfortable with the truth because it’s easier to play nice in the sandbox than acknowledge our baser instincts, and that people do shitty things for no reason.
Thanks for teaching me to take it. That life is Supremely Not Fair, even if/when you are Right.
Life is not always about being Right or presenting Proof. Sometimes, it’s about who sells their version of the story most convincingly, even if the facts demonstrate otherwise. That was a lesson I needed to learn, because as a lawyer, one is raised to believe that facts will light the way and win the day.
How innocent I was.
And I always knew that slow and steady wins the race, but I didn’t know how slow and steady one had to be. Because I had to learn not to react to you — both in the moment, and over time — it made me a better person, and professional. Thank you for teaching me to be slow to anger, even when I wanted (and still want) to shout and scream.
In sum, thanks for trying to make a mess bigger than yourselves. You might’ve wrecked the place and then some. But what came out of it for me is so much bigger and better than I could’ve imagined.