Tonight is the anniversary of a reclaimed life. February 14 is not Valentine's Day; it's Independence Day.
The past three years have brought me a bigger world and greater opportunities to give and accept love. I'm pleased that I've been open to it, although at times it has been a challenge. And what's more, when I look over my shoulder to look at Margaret circa 2006, I don't recognize her.
There's still plenty of damage, but the empty shell is gone. The wounded bird accepted the love of those around her, and I'll be damned ... she's on the road to healing. I wouldn't have thought it would happen, but when I wasn't paying attention, it did.
I don't take lightly this transformation from empty-shell girl to the person I am today, and I know it has only been possible because people have loved me through it. Old friend, new family, actual family or resident of my heart, you have helped me realize that three years ago tonight, I chose something more than the stagnant, dying version of myself. I chose the person you knew was there all along.
I don't know what the next year will bring, but I know the journey will be filled with tears and laughter, cuddles and cocktails, music and conversation, love ... and more love.
Life is grand. Love is real. I'm living proof.