So… it’s been awhile.

While I’m not sure if anyone else missed me, I know I sure did. This site has become thick with cobwebs. Life overwhelmed me for a couple of years, starting the moment my husband and I began a scary discussion of whether we were still happy together. That was in June 2013, which was also the last time I posted something here.

Over the last two years I have done a lot of soul-searching, and also had life drop on me like an avalanche. My husband and I decided to amicably separate after months of marriage counseling. “Amicable” was painful enough, thank you. I learned I had Lyme’s Disease (though it was oddly comforting to finally know why I had endured years of worsening joint pain and fatigue), and I began the arduous process of beating it into remission. Against the master plan I devised for myself, I accidentally fell in love with an extremely unlikely person. My divorce became final four days after my 20th wedding anniversary, and my name changed from Jindal back to Hatfield. My father died, and I plunged into a grief more profound than any I had ever known. I helped (in a small way) someone dear to me who had a double mastectomy for breast cancer, someone I could not bear to lose. And I survived an IRS audit.

The good news is, I have had plenty of life experience to fuel my writing.

I also had an epiphany.

All my life, I have struggled against aspects of my personality that I disliked. For example, I’m easily distracted. Sometimes I’m lazy, and I know I’m not ambitious enough to be as successful as I could be. I’m selfish and fear others will find out. I have a strange sense of humor. My temper is quick and fierce. I veer towards hypercritical perfectionism. The list goes on… I repeatedly pledge to change, but the efforts are Sisyphean and eventually I’m back where I began, knowing I should be “better” and failing.

Here is the epiphany:  These weaknesses, these failures, these parts of me that make me feel shameful about myself –  they are crucial parts of who I am. They contribute towards my creativity, my empathy (even the selfishness!), and my ability to see something (and write about it) in a new way. I don’t need to struggle and hate these things, and trying to change them is a waste of time. I don’t have to change anything about myself before I’ll be “good enough.”

I am gloriously imperfect. I am the best version of me that I could possibly be.

As the demolition dust from the last two years cleared, I thought I had to be all sorted out and have my act together before I could write in earnest again (there’s that perfectionism). Yeah, well, forget it. Ideas and stories and opinions are bubbling up and will not wait. And at the rate that the universe continues to send challenges my way (an IRS audit… seriously?), I may never have a chance to truly catch my breath.

I’m back, doing the best I can, and I’m fucking fearless.