In nine minutes, I will be 25 years old. Three weeks ago, my marriage ended and I watched a dear friend jump off my 7th-story balcony. Two weeks ago, I quit my beautiful new job, packed all of my things into a few boxes, and left the city that has been my home for the past four years. This week, I may have lost another dear friend and I am not sure why.
In the past week, I have also reconnected with my oldest, dearest friends and have a real sense of hope, of possibility for a future here. I have begun to look at apartments, and may even have some leads on potential employment. Today, I have received possibly the best birthday present ever.
A month ago, I went to Book Expo and learned about my industry from the other side, at the same time that I was fighting to hang on to my marriage and slowly, steadily losing my grip.To months ago, I was in Paris and saw the Opera House for the very first time. Three months ago, I began treatment for post-traumatic stress. Four months ago, I first learned that all of my PhD applications had been rejected. Five months ago, I was first diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and began a round of medication that would eventually cure my migraines and let me sleep for the first time in months. Six months ago, I began going to couples counseling with Ed. Seven months ago, I have fought with an every-increasing sense of loneliness and separateness from my family and old friends. Eight months ago, I launched my first book and toured across Canada promoting it; then I got the news that my mother-in-law had suddenly passed away. Nine months ago, I started to suspect that there was something terribly wrong with me. Ten months ago, I had my first nervous breakdown. About one year ago, I successfully defended and handed in my thesis and thought that at long last all my trials were over; I handed in the project, waited for my degree to arrive in the mail and believed that now all I would have to do was enjoy a year off to get my life and my head in order before starting in on my next grand adventure.
So here I am, having just turned 25 (it's just past midnight now), starting over again from the very beginning. In the morning, my official birthday, I will start looking at apartments with my soon-to-be-roommates: Gennie C and Lily the Pirate. I will call my brother to make sure my glorious jungle cats are still happy and growing fatter in his care. I will breathe in the smoke and the honeysuckle here, and drink coffee with my friends, and pet Tess, my new magical familiar and circus rat.
I will not make any more apologies for who I am. I am Natalie Zed. I am here to live and to write and to wreak havoc.
One quarter of a century down. Breathe. Begin again.