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A Year

A letter, honoring a year of healing and growth. 


There are so many things I want to say to you on this new day of this new year. So much has happened in this one trip around the sun. It feels like almost a lifetime between where we were, where I was a year ago, and where we are today. The woman I am today. And even more radical is to think of the one or two trips before that. How much can change in a cycle. How powerful these days can be, the rise and fall of the sun and moon day in and day out. The tides of life and love and where they can bring us to if we choose to be washed over by them like rocks on shore, our rough edges being smoothed over by the waves and sands of time. Surrendering to the slow pounding of salt, wind, and God.

I know it has been painful. Never would I have wished for the pain, heartache and despair I remember feeling a year ago today. I could not have imagined that heartbreak, that disappointment or betrayal. It felt like a lifetime of it all wrapped up into one. It felt too, though, like a lifetime of preparation for what was being presented to me. For what was being laid out before me. As though God was saying to me in that moment “Here: This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. This is the acid test. Will you use this to grow towards Me and towards yourself? Towards your truth and divinity? Or will you run?”

I had been running my whole life, of course, so I knew how to do that. But thankfully, after years of smaller moments like that – smaller instances that felt decidedly less life threatening in which I was given a similar choice of running from the discomfort or walking through the fear towards love with faith and courage and the experience and suggestions of those who came before me to guide and hold me – it was as if that preparation had brought me to this most-important point. But it was terrifying and it was confusing and my heart was absolutely broken. I can see now that it was both you and I who broke my heart. We betrayed each other and ourselves. I was too scared to acknowledge the betrayal that was taking place before my eyes, and that in and of itself was my worst betrayal. My greatest fear.

So, in the days and months following your confession to me and the beginning of what has felt like and I hope is the most earnest attempt at an honest life you’ve made to date it was not only about putting the pieces of our life back together, mending and putting out fires around us, but little by little it was also about putting back together my broken heart. As time passed it became clear to both of us that there was only so much you could do for that. And I have to say, you have pretty much done it all. I know that it has not always been easy and it has not all happened flawlessly. It’s a rocky road to right living and we all stumble on our old ways now and then. Don’t think that is over. I am still stumbling and will stumble eternally, I am sure. But the commitment, the honesty, the willingness to sit face to face and hash it out with me in the living room or the counsellor’s room or in the car on the side of the road. Your earnest and true willingness to show up to yourself, to me, and to our family in the face of all that heartbreak, is the most I could ask for. And, in all honesty, it is all I want from you – the greatest thing I could hope for. I promise that no matter what, this IS the road of happy destiny. All you have to do is keep trudging. And it was a wise friend who ensured that I have the proper definition of “trudge,” which is: to walk with purpose. Conscious living. It’s the best we can do.

That being said, the rest of it had to be done by me. I will be eternally grateful for the space you have held for me during this time. I know it has been hard at times. I was in a lot of pain and much of the time that pain was directed straight at you. I am sorry for that, but at the same time I am not. I am sorry because I love you and I never want to be the cause of your pain. But I am not because I know that is an impossibly tall order, and beyond that I may even believe that it is part of life and love and that it has made us stronger – stronger than any partnership I have known thus far. I want to thank you for giving me the kind of love I never knew possible, which is love that is so true, so based in the truth of who I am at my deepest and truest, that it has the courage to support and hold space for me to navigate and lean into that space for myself. I was thinking about it this morning – about how comfortable I am to be myself with you. Honestly, I was thinking about shaving my legs. As I was putting lotion on after my shower, I noticed the shoddy job I did the other day shaving. I noticed the many feelings that flew by about it – some embarrassment, indifference, and a feeling that I don’t have to shave my legs for anyone! And then something stuck: It’s true. I know so definitely that I do not have to shave my legs for you to love me, and because of that – because I know it so deeply – it has given me the space to want to shave my legs, to want to take care of myself and be the most beautiful version of myself that I want to be not so that you will love me, but out of love for you and, more importantly, for myself. It is the truest love I have ever known.

When I say I want to marry you, it is not because I want a big party and lots of presents and the chance to dress up like a princess and parade around in front of people to show off my great accomplishment. I did that once already and I am decidedly uninterested in doing it again. Instead it is because I want to commit this true love to you, to me, and to God. There is such beautiful writing in the Baha’i Faith about marriage, about the power of that union when it happens between two souls committed to love for each other and to love for God. The Baha’i marriage vow, “We will all verily abide by the will of God” says just that. I have never before known what that meant. What it really meant to have a spiritual partner. I know that nothing in this life is guaranteed, no partnership except the one we have with our own self and with God, but so long as God intends it, I intend to be partnered with you. The Baha’i writings calls marriage “a fortress for well-being and salvation” and already our relationship has been that for me.

There is a quote in that Glennon Doyle book “Love Warrior” where she says that she wants to teach her Sunday school class to be “carried towards people they fear so they can learn to love and stop being afraid.” When I first heard that it hit me in the gut. It brought tears to my eyes and made me swallow hard. I have been carried all my life towards love and fear at the same time. I have feared losing the love of others so much that it has caused me to lose myself. I do not believe you were any different. They say that God gives you the same test over and over again until you overcome it. And so there you were. I was carried towards you with that same familiar force – that rush of love that feels like my life depends on it and like I have finally found heaven and will be saved from all that has come before. But of course, that was not true. Your own fall from grace opened that up for me and forced me to that jumping off place: “Will you choose love for yourself over all else? Will you do the work to finally come home to yourself and to God?” Of course, I didn’t know it at the time. All I knew in those early days was pain and progress: The next right action one action at a time. Chop wood and carry water. But little by little, space has opened. The path cleared. The darkness began to lift. Love and light crept in, slowly through glimpses of vulnerability and love, honesty and integrity, the continued showing up to each other and to ourselves. I have started to feel like I have finally come home to myself, found God inside my own heart, and been able to reside there in a way I never thought possible. It is magical and divine and something I wish for every single person on this earth. And to you, I want to say thank you. Thank you for standing by my side through it. It is something magical to look up from the abyss, to come home after a long day in the trenches of life and the spirit and find someone sturdy and full of love, willing to stand strong beside me, hold me when I am weak, and break in front of me when he is broken. I remember telling you that I knew God had great things in store for you. I was not wrong. You are strong and sturdy and beautiful and whole and so full of love and compassion. I promise you, there is more there than you know. I hope you take the time to get to know yourself and to show your fullest self to the world. There is so much beauty there - so much to be gained for us all by having each one of us at our truest residing and shining out into this beautiful and sometimes dark world.

I love you, and I am so grateful to trudge this road of happy destiny with your hand in mine. You have already given me more than you will ever know.



  1. Wow. That was so honest and beautiful, and even without details touched my heart deeply. That bit about shaving your legs is a description of the kind of love for myself and another that I yearn for.

    Also, you've inspired me to look into your faith a bit more.

    Miss you and love you Ariana.

    1. Hi Melissa! So lovely to read these comments from you. I'd love to share more with you about my faith and my sobriety. Anytime! Drop me a line via email or on FB. xx Ariana


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