A few weeks ago, my mom sent me an email out of the blue:
Bí, don’t bake for thanksgiving dinner. I want u to relax and enjoy the time home.
Ugh. She knows her girl.
The sad truth, however, is that I wouldn’t have been able to muster up the energy if I tried. My life has been consumed by grad school, such that any free time is spent frantically downing wine and/or uselessly laying in bed until noon. This time last year, I was spending entire nights baking mass batches of chocolate chip cookies. Now? I spent my first vacation day at home sitting in front of my computer, troubleshooting statistics problem sets for hours. (Technically I was still in the kitchen doing this, but the fact remains: things have changed.)
That said, I’m still able to do some “normal people” things this year. Chief among these: practicing gratitude.
As always, I am thankful for the unending, unconditional love of my friends and family. These past few months have truly tested the strength of each and every one of my relationships — and what necessary trials those were. They’ve also required that I open myself up to others, to create the opportunity and space for new friendships. It has been incredibly reaffirming to know that I have so many gracious, generous people in my corner.
Unlike previous years, however, I am also grateful for change. Radical, all-consuming change.
I have never been a risky person. I enjoy, for the most part, dreaming from my bubble of safety: romanticizing lives separate from my own, safely ensconced in the world I’ve created for myself. This year, however, I closed my eyes and stepped out (or maybe sky-dived) of my comfort zone. As has been documented here, it has been terrifying, taxing, traumatizing, tearful… and so transformative.
Beyond all reason, I’m enjoying — or, at the very least, valuing — the life I’m building in Texas. I will always hold San Francisco dear, but, in hindsight, it seems a vision now: a mirage that would fall apart it I looked beyond the surface. Houston feels authentic and true, misshapen and solid and forged in fire. I clung (and continue to cling) to California out of fear. Texas makes me brave. As deeply painful as 2015 process has been, I am so grateful for it.
Other things I am thankful for this holiday season, in no particular order:
- My car. Nine years goin’ strong now (including a semi-cross-country trip). What a fuckin’ champ.
- Carbohydrates, and my newfound ability to eat all of them.
- Frank Ocean. Miguel. Blood Orange. Music by babes for baby-making.
- My beloved Houston homies, formerly known as “the Goobers” and now referred to as “Julez and the Virgays.”
- Master of None, particularly its excellent use of the fig tree analogy. Very honorable mention to You’re the Worst.
- My little sister, without whom I’d be utterly lost (even if she doesn’t know it).
- Spotify Premium. So, so worth the chunk of change.
- My huge bedroom windows, which bring so much lovely light into my space/life.
- Sleep. Oh god… sleep.
And, of course, this little haven here. Thanks for listening.