2013, I thought I hated you. To be fair, this was not without reason. You were the year that shattered my reality and left the pieces too jagged to ever be put back together the same way. You wore me down from the inside out and left me on hospital beds, couches, in the arms of friends, strung out on pain killers and touching with useless tenderness pieces of my flesh where I will never feel again. You washed me up on the shores of New Jersey where I sat halfway in the water, always with a book, trying to escape myself or at least polish what remained of me, like a pearl discarded in the sand. You forced me into anesthetic sleep and cut me open over and over, and instead of getting easier each time, you taught me every new needle and knife brings its own special panic. You lifted me up on false hope just so I could crash back into reality. You made me call my mother and tell her I had cancer. You broke my heart.
But, true to form, ever the (perhaps errant) social optimist, I love you in spite of these things. Every time I felt like you were drowning me, you let me claw my way back to the surface, twice as strong as I was before. You let me find new meaning in my life and you brought me back to what has always saved me- writing, comedy, a good book. Most of all, I love you for the people you sent my way. I am grateful to every fighter I’ve met on this journey, to all of those who support them (and myself) and who put love above all else. I am grateful for my new home, not just in a physical sense, but for the Philly comedians I have met in the past year who make me feel like I’m somewhere I belong. You gave me fangs, you gave me perspective, you gave me love. I will never stop fighting, learning, or paying it forward. 2013, in the end, you gave much more than you took and dropped me off exactly where I’ve always wanted to be: A woman, standing on the brink of everything at once, surrounded by those she loves.