Dear Family and Friends



The first Christmas I remember is the year I turned four. At the time, my mom, brother, and I were living in a yellow house with French doors and—of all things—a carpeted kitchen. Ever the insomniac, I crept out of my room sometime after midnight and discovered a mound of aggressively pink Barbie accessories. And to tell you the truth, I loved them. I loved them hard. 

I don’t expect dolls this year. In fact, I don’t expect anything. It’s been more than two decades since “the year Santa brought me the Barbie pool,” so I’ve had time to learn that Christmas is less about getting and more about giving—about sharing love, time, effort, a kind word. It’s about selflessness, and about spending time with those whom you love. And, as we all know, it’s a celebration.

I’ve had “Birthday Party of the King” stuck in my head for a few days now, and I was humming it earlier, when I tested strands of lights and consequently glared at the ones that didn’t work. That aside, there’s a lot to be grateful for. At this time last year, I had already slipped into what would be a year-long depression. As you may know, I took a six-month leave of absence from my job at the state. Things were just too much, and I resigned in June.

In July, I started writing for Pivot Marketing (whose office is a ten-minute walk from my apartment). Getting used to “#agencylife” has had its challenges, but I love it. I’m so thankful that my boss is understanding, flexible, and encouraging. In the few months I’ve been there, I’ve written newsletters, blog posts, NPR radio scripts, ad copy, web copy, and video scripts. My clients include an architectural firm, a Jewish nursing home, an Episcopalian church, and a Lafayette-based law firm that gives me an excuse to swing by Purdue. 

Outside of work, I’m involved in a few preservation groups. I’m actually a board member for a non-profit that is trying to revitalize a historic theater that’s been vacant for 20 years. This means I attend meetings, listen to folks talk about tax credits, and then find a way to insert a joke about cats. I’m also involved in the Instagram community here in Indianapolis; I help plan monthly “Instameets” (photo walks) and help manage the account. It may sound trite, but I am thankful for Instagram, too. The heartfelt conversations that resulted from starting #depressionisalyingbastard helped me fight through an incredibly challenging time.

Things are better now. I laugh. I eat. I put on pants before 4:00 in the afternoon. I’m still head-over-heels for Ty, who’s been my “other,” my better three-quarters, for more than two years. And I’m madly in love with my brother’s son, Max, named for our grandfather. He was born in October, nine months after my brother told me, “You need to get your shit together, because you’re going to be an aunt.”

And I did, just in time. After months of desolation, I find that I’m filled with love—for my family, my friends, my “other.” I couldn’t have gotten through this last year without them, without you. So thank you, too. For your patience, support, and understanding. Thank you. I wish you the happiest and merriest of Christmases. May every strand of lights you own work, and may your days be filled with the things you love. 

Merry Christmas,
Dawn
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