2017 began with a big stinking thud, where many of our fears of what the year was to bring unfurled before us, where those fears materialized into realities. It was a year of tragic loss of life with mass shootings, hurricanes, fires, political unrest, distrust, where ugly secrets and heinous abuses against women were revealed. Where the darkest aspects of humanity rose up and stared us in the face and could no longer be ignored. And brought us to a necessary fight mode. Staying asleep and in denial was no longer an option. And amidst that darkness, the light had to shown brighter.
I lost my Gemma, my beloved companion of 13 years, right after New Years. I struggled with a job transition, after being in one place for six years, and all the predictability and security that comes with it. I grappled, once again, with the paradox of motherhood augmented by science, with high hopes of entering into that new and beautiful phase. My novel which I worked on for six years, had setbacks (thanks, Trump). And yet, I persevered.
I found a new job that has provided me with renewed confidence, support, respect, and an environment so nurturing and stimulating that I have a newfound passion for the business of advertising (I can’t believe it either). I rewrote my novel, and a new short story, and discovered that no matter the unpredictable outcomes and speed bumps in life, I will always continue to create narratives that illuminate the invisible connections and motivations that drive us. I will always continue to ask “what if” and imagine scenarios where we can traverse the unexplored experiences that our limitations on this earth cannot afford us in real time.
What choice do we have otherwise? Amidst the darkness, we have to create light. Instead of anger, pessimism, dread, we have to invoke and manifest the opposite. Amidst the disappointments and disenchantment with my creative writing life, and the prolonged struggle with motherhood, I have so much light (which is after all, the Hebrew meaning of my name). In 2006, I made a choice to leave my former life as a married woman and screenwriter in Hollywood, to start anew. Our choices have repercussions, which in hindsight, come together in perfect order. The things I struggle with now, that feel like shackles, are a result of choices I consciously made back then. But most importantly, that choice led me to where I am now, and the blessings that surround me. My soul mate husband. My beautiful home. My family and dear friends.
I am noticing the light around me. Perhaps it is because of the holiday season, and the acts of humanity all around us, if we choose to open our eyes to them. In the span of two days, I witnessed random acts of kindness everywhere. Walking on 34th street, a cop jumped out of his car and cut me off on the sidewalk to approach a homeless man and his dog, and handed him a bag of food. “This is from my daughter. Happy holidays,” I overheard (and the dog was very happy). On a long agitating line at the Rite Aid, I noticed a disheveled woman struggling with food stamps to buy her groceries, when the woman next to her interrupted to say, “I’m going to put this on my credit card, ok?” And they hugged. When I walked into my building the other night and accidentally left the door open, a puppy who was with his owner at the elevator decided to zip outside into the street, (zippy rascal!) as me and my doorman tried to block traffic in a panic. A homeless man on the corner who had been digging through the garbage lifted the dog up as he ran by and handed him to his owner.
More light. It helps.
And as the year comes to a close, I am grateful. I’m going to rescue a new puppy (sorry my dear Gemma), hug my coworkers, friends, sisters and parents, and embrace my incredible soul of a husband and home, and say a prayer on the 8th day of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.
Wishing you all some light as this year commences and a new one begins.