Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dear 2011

*Click the links throughout for relevant past posts*

Dear 2011,

Wow, you're gone. You're really, actually gone. And I'm still here! Phew.

2011, we had quite the battle of wills, this year, you and I. There were knock out, throw down brawls, when I wasn't sure who was going to come out on top. You kicked me in the teeth, literally! And when that wasn't enough, you went for the money shot: a scissor kick to the kidneys. But, that's okay, because bed rest led me to a discovery that helped me through the pain.

After two surgeries, more money than I care to name, a total of more than 5 months time spent in bed, I'm still here, kicking it. Yes, my foot actually works now, so I can literally kick, now.

There was also the robbery, which took with it all the video footage from my childhood and all my pictures from the last 5 years, in addition to the novel I was writing and numerous other works. But, it also brought a new camera, which led to my pictures being published in a magazine. That was an unexpected diamond in the rough.

While I was down, you showed me who my real friends were and brought me new ones. You showed me who I couldn't count on, and more importantly, who I could. You forced me to ask for help and accept it. You made me grow.

You took several beloved people from us, most much too soon. Because of these losses, I allowed myself to grieve in a healthy way, for probably the first time in my life. I wish I hadn't had to do it as many times as you made me, 2011, but I now know how to live through it. My health, and seeing others slip away has made me appreciate and celebrate life, and also to accept and forgive death.

There was the period of steroid-induced-Hulk behavior, where I hated you and then praised you, followed subsequently, by the steroid-withdraw-thirteen-year-old-heartbroken-girl emotional period when I felt let down by you. Both difficult, very different, but equally eye-opening and enlightening experiences, that I started off resenting you for, and now thank you for.

You saw me through moments of feeling sorry for myself and moments of gratitude, only laughing at me minimally for both.

You brought me an abundance of salads and vegetables, and trying duck and buffalo for the first time. You forced me to step out of my comfort zone and try new foods and recipes, many of which, to my surprise, I actually don't hate.

You allowed me trips to Washington DC, where I couldn't eat anything; to Virginia, where my friend showed me a new recipe; to Vegas, where I ate a lot of almonds; to Chicago, where I didn't eat pizza; to NYC, where I also didn't eat pizza; to Philly, where I was robbed of cheese steaks; to LA, where I ate like a king; and to Texas, where I currently am, and about which I will be reporting on soon.

Despite your attempts to thwart me with cancelled flights and hotels, delays, frozen bank accounts, and broken down or wrecked cars, I enjoyed myself. You truly kept me on my toes and challenged my ingenuity more than any other year has, but I can now say I'm continentally street savvy.

You even allowed me to spend an enormous amount of time, every couple of months, with my family. That was a huge blessing to me, so thank you for that gift.

You slipped in Artichoke Fest and Pride to make up for missing The Texas and California State Fairs (they were too much to bear attempting, anyway) and didn't throw too much salt in the wound.

You gave me cause to open up and share my secrets and answer questions, opening up dialogues that wouldn't have otherwise happened.

Even though you forced me to undergo tests, and more tests, and even more tests, and handed me big decisions to make, you gave me hope via new research and promising results. This led to a new treatment option being started, which (*knock on wood*) seems to be working.

You made sure my days were full of foot braces, crutches, canes, scooters, and wheelchairs, too. I guess you thought that could stop me, or at best, slow me down. You thought wrong. You can have your wrench back, now, because as many times as you throw it at me, it won't kink my plans. In fact, I'm doing better than they thought I would, and I don't intend to stop.

2011, I'm thankful for the hardships you've put in my path, dropped on my head, and snuck in my pockets, because they have made me stronger, smarter and softer. I am thankful for the blessings you've laid at my feet, placed in my lap, and whispered in my ear, because they have made me thankful, hopeful, and more giving.

Thank you for being both a challenge and miracle. Thank you for showing me the silver lining in every storm cloud. Thank you for driving home for me that I must always count my blessings and not my burdens.

Oh, and one last thing, tell 2012 I've got my game face on and I'm out for blood.


This year, I resolve to:
- Continue living like I'm dying
- Be better about updating about my health (I sure hear about it, when I don't!)
- Post more recipes. For serious. (I know I said so last year and only did a handful)


  1. Your strength, resiliency, positivity & humor are ever an inspiration. 2012 will definitely be the Year of the Rad!

  2. Awesome Bren! You continue to be an inspiration ! Happy 2012 :)

  3. You are amazing Brenna! Your journey, whether you wanted to take it or not, continually inspires me!! Here's to 2012! It's going to be SOOOOOOOO amazing!