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"...failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive... so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." ~Jo Rowling

Started really thinking about this last night while J and I were watching the latest Chris Titus special, "Love is Evol"... he mentions somewhere in the middle, and then in more depth at the end, that you don't get a rebate at the pearly gates for the time spent in a painful, soul-sucking relationship. As with every Titus, I laughed hard enough to make me cry, and I cried some without laughing, and at the end of the evening I looked at the kind, gentle, patient, diplomatic man next to me and thought, "No... that's right. You don't. But sometimes there are lessons that need to be learned before you're ready to be done." And as I thought about Jo (whom I'd just seen read this part of this address earlier in the afternoon when I finally got around to watching the Oprah interview) and her words, I came to the conclusion that I'd previously reached the proper conclusion (yay, me!): what I've lived has made me a much better person. Not that I've made all the right decisions since then, because I haven't, not by a long shot. But because that adversity stripped away what I thought I was, I was left with only what was there to start with... simple but stable building blocks that gave me the freedom to - with a little creativity and a lot of hard work - build a life that I'm proud to call mine. Don't get me wrong - I owe a lot of people a lot of thanks for the things that happened to me that enabled me to find my rock bottom and start building, but I'm pretty sure that's part of the journey... and I'm completely sure that being grateful to people like my parents, and my sister Lora, and Eric James Matthew Padfoot Scull, and a whole host of other family and friends, keeps everything constantly in perspective. I could never repay those favors, but I can live the rest of my life in a manner worthy of them. I think I'll try. :)