The closing of last year I sat at this very beach and thought of the word, “humility,” and how it brought me to my knees in anxious desperation. I’ve gained the courage to stand, only occasionally knocked back down by the rocking of waves that challenges my stability as these words come to my tongue, spun in the silk that competes with their silver.

The seagulls and cranes and herons listen, hopping on one foot in the same surf and pausing to preen their feathers, curious eyes fixated on my arms covered in a knitted purple sweater and naked legs dusted in sand and salt.

I’ve held deep memories of what it’s like to be humbled. My pride doesn’t forget and neither do I. Though this year, humility has gained a partner in growth, and I’ve finally come to appreciate the saving of grace.

Grace in the chaos of chasing down rogue waves with little birds, laughing when I’d lose my footing and crash into the wet and heavy sand, scraping and scarring my shins, careless and unashamed at who saw me.

Grace in owning my body, in shedding weight and hateful baggage, of years of self loathing and the voices of the ones I loved and blindly trusted to love me back, but will never get to love me for who I’ve become.

Grace in becoming a memory.

Grace in heavy silence, making a conscious choice for forgiveness. Because we’re all a little broken.

Grace in insecurities, in nakedness, in rawness, in knowing there’s no turning back the truths that spill from my clumsy tongue, in the loneliness from the wreckage.

Grace in failure.

Grace in the sweat of summertime, held in black lace and gold, dancing with a handsome stranger atop a roof on an island, hands on hips, swaying, laughing, memorizing the magic pouring out of every breath in the sweet honey thickness that poured over the city.

Grace in accepting that everything I own, the life my family built, may be washed away by the forces I play in, I ground myself in, I find peace and comfort in.

Grace in gratitude and humility that washed ashore with Irma; we were so lucky.

Grace in knowing my limit – in political commentary and tequila, in hollow words and hard lines.

Grace in an entire calendar year of being no one else’s but my own, the illusion of falling in love with a beautiful man who couldn’t love me, and the fierce stillness of falling in love with the woman who fell out of fear.

This year I found grace buried deep inside me, not by choice, but because I had no other choice but to swallow my pride and hold my head high, humility in check. My broken compass slightly normalized, I held steady when I could, took a deep breath, and repeated the word, “grace.” Now all that echoes is the word, “go.”

Lovers Key State Park, Florida. December 2017. Original photo.

Originally written December 31 2017, on the beach at Lovers Key. 

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