A good friend took this photo in 2008. It was a sunny day away from the city, and back then I often needed sunny days away from the city just to feel safe. Back then I didn't know that it was the start of being good to myself, and that there were other ways to feel safe. I didn't know I'd come home most evenings and like listening to the sound of my own footsteps, like hearing the way my fingers fly across a keyboard or slice fruits for a midnight snack. I didn't know that once I learned to be good to myself—really, truly good to myself—that's when someone would come along who was good to me, and whom I loved being good to. Back then I didn't know that hurt was a beginning, always, and that forgiveness was a quiet guest that did not announce its arrival but stayed until you were ready to make room on the couch, set a place at the table, bring out warmer blankets and nicer sheets, the ones you'd been saving for "a special occasion." I didn't know that the things that were large and loud and heavy then would someday fit into my pocket, or be small enough to stow under the bed, like an old pair of shoes that no longer fit.
Not too long ago though another good friend asked me why I still write like my heart is broken, and my answer, of course, was: What other way is there?