In addition to the election, Syria, terrorist attacks, police making black lives shatter, the passing of brilliant artists, etc. I am personally ready to say "sayonara, bitches" to 2016 because my heart was wounded this year. Sia's "Chandelier" was my 2nd most played track on Spotify as it was emblematic of my defiant determination to continue to drink life to the lees. But my bravado was beleaguered by anguish.

Not long after we split, I took a shower and blasted the song on repeat so that I could feel the pain as deeply as I felt the love. I am not afraid to cry and, in fact, embrace the catharsis. As I sang the chorus at the top of my lungs, I surrendered to the sadness and sat down, sobbing. I pulled my knees tightly into my chest, while the water and tears formed a swirling eddy of heartbreak and vulnerability around me.

I'd spent years after my divorce ducking & rolling and sticking & moving to protect myself from just such feelings. But at the beginning of 2013, I was finally open to the possibility of love again. Late that year, he approached me at a birthday party, took my hand, and didn't let go. As I sensed myself falling I was shook. It had been almost 20 years since I'd felt this and I'd forgotten how consuming and unsettling it was. When I shared my fear with Joan she said "Soph, don't you remember? When you love, you love hard."

I'd always wondered what the man after the father of my children would look like and here he was: kind, patient, soft-spoken (but from the Southside, so definitely not soft), funny, smart, intellectually curious, ambitious, creative, supportive, and the most attentive man I've ever been with. I spent my career and marriage supporting and managing brilliant men and here I was, being cared for by one.

He guided me wisely and steadily through every experience and encouraged me above all to tell my story. He made me laugh, dried my tears, touched my soul, listened to my spirit, and held my heart ever so carefully in his strong gentle hands. And I was safe. As ferocious, independent, and powerful as I am, I need my man to make me feel protected--emotionally, spiritually, physically. Only then do I surrender myself utterly to the stunning power of love.

I knew he would be different from the gate because we never played games--no calculating how long to wait before responding to a text or call. We both hated drama and dealt with issues head on. And we never ever had a fight. The beauty of being with a grown ass man as a grown ass woman is that you have grown ass conversations about everything, including goodbye. 

I am eternally grateful for the Journey, but it's time to move on. So, here we go 2017, show me what the fuck you got.