Tip number one: When having a panic attack, record yourself on camera. If you’re anything like me, you probably sound like any of Jessica Lange’s characters on American horror story, crying and sobbing and hyperventilating. Just Photoshop in some aliens and some demon possessed nuns, maybe a non-sequitur song and dance number in a delicious evening gown, and you’ve got yourself made.

Tip number two – Try to have your panic attack when you’re gassy. Farting when you have a panic attack is a very good reminder that there is an unpredictable world outside of you that doesn’t cease to be strange and hilarious because of your concentrated misery.

{but in all seriousness, i’m not encouraging you to dismiss your feelings just because funny things happen.}

The weight of all the little losses I’ve experienced this year finally came crashing down on top of me a few days ago. I sat on my best friends back porch and looked at the trees on the skyline, tried to focus on them. They reach up so tall and out so far, but stay so so rooted. I want to be like them.

My loss is so little compared to so many people’s but I still feel it immensely.

I still miss Andee of October of 2014 so deeply, so achingly.  I miss watching american horror story with my housemates on the couch, and the patch jacket boy I’d meet under the bridge to play board games, and making new traditions with my friends. (My annual Nic Cage movie festival chief among them).

I miss feeling somewhat secure in my country, in my education, in my religion. I have so much, but this cute commie little queer feels so much more instability now. As I’ve stepped into true me, my political, religious and social involvements have shifted, like the tectonic plate, and it feels like there’s gonna be an earthquake.

I’m unsteady.

Andee of December 2016 is so much more her true self than Andee of 2014. I’ve left so much behind, stripped of so much false self. I’ve had to move on from truly healthy, beautiful relationships, experiences, situations, jobs, because I couldn’t be fully myself. (Or I couldn’t figure out how to fully be myself.)

And I’ve gained so much from that stepping out. I’ve grown and cultivated and harvested.

.but it still feels like loss.

It’s interesting the way different calendars  live into the rhythm of loss, gain, and abundance.

I can’t write super eloquantly about this because I’m just starting to incorporate it into my spiritual practice, but the Lunar calendar seems to root itself in loss and growth.  You go through expectations and welcoming in newness (waxing), abundance (the full moon,) and letting go (waning.)

All in one month.

Right now, on the Christian calendar, we’re in advent. It’s a time of expectancy. We know we will encounter the divine, what work must we do to get ready? How can we make space for Goodness and Love in our lives and our spaces? Even unexpected low places. Like a barn. Like in a time of genocide.

It’s a time of welcoming in blessings, and it’s a time to make space. It’s a time to work our ass off, and a time to wait expectantly.

Loss and growth intermingling, so intimately.

I guess they’re inseparable.