It's a new year. Or as I like to call it, "Halleluiah-It's-Over-Pass-The-Wine." (Except, don't really because I'm trying to have a baby, and I'm not allowed to drink.) I've always liked looking back on the year and figuring out some of the best moments. In this panic-inducing year, finding the positives were easy — they stuck out like two diamonds in a field filled with muck and threats of nuclear war. One: I got my first television writing job, and two: my husband and I made embryos.
LOS ANGELES — This year, my husband and I decided to purchase a "living" Christmas tree. Did you feel that? That was my entire, Midwest family rolling their eyes in unison. We wanted a living tree as it felt like the responsible thing to do because, you know, global warming. Plus, we liked the idea of someone delivering it to our house and then taking it away when the holidays were over.
LOS ANGELES — Last week I was sick. I had the kind of cough that makes people scoot their chairs a few inches away and look at you with a mix of pity and disgust — like I was a poor Victorian woman dying of consumption. My husband, Jason, claims the only time I'm ever truly honest about how I'm feeling is when I'm sick. If I'm healthy and he asks me a question, I'll usually respond like a good Midwesterner, "Fine." "How was your day?" "Fine." "Is your steak undercooked?" "It's fine." "Are you angry at me?" "I'm fine."
Last month I wrote my first script for a television show. I had a week to complete it, and I spent the first two days staring at a blank screen, frozen in terror. Most of the scripts I'd written up to now were tucked away safely in a file on my computer. Or, at best, read by Studio Executives who called my agents and said, "We loved it, but can it be more murder-y?"
I've always had an active imagination. As a kid, I believed in all the classics: mermaids, fairies, unicorns, elves. I was even convinced trees could talk. Raised on a small farm outside of a small town, my imagination knew no limits. It was free to unfurl through the wheat fields and shelterbelts, happily leading me on epic adventures of my own creation. One summer, at the height of my imaginings, my cousin, Grant, and I decided to plant a rock garden. (These are the kind of things we did for fun back in rural North Dakota, before cable television or poop emojis.)
Last week I got a tattoo. Wait, Grandma, don't stop reading! I'm still your sweet granddaughter — the same girl you once hugged and whispered in her ear, "I love you just as much as all my other grandchildren." Special words spoken by a true (always fair) Midwest grandma. I hope you'll still love me a fair amount. If not, I'll have to start divulging secrets about my cousins, and I know you don't want to hear that one of them lived with their husband before they got married. Wait. That was also me.
I've always loved the Fourth of July. Growing up in my small town, the Fourth meant three-legged races, watching the parade on Main Street and covering my ears during fireworks. Eating corn on the cob in my flag shirt with butter dripping down my face, I remember feeling so grateful I lived in that exact part of the country that celebrated in that exact way. It was the only America I knew — with rolling wheat fields, pink-sky sunsets, lots of hotdish and wide-open spaces.
Last month I was hacked by the Russians. OK, it wasn't "the" Russians but rather one Russian. He hacked into my Facebook account, changed my password, assumed my identity, and promptly deleted all of my friends. It was my very own Election 2016. When I tried to log in and report the hack, a message popped up telling me there was no account associated with my email. Panicked, I asked my husband, Jason, to bring up his page. He did and we discovered that every photo I'd ever been tagged in had been erased of my name.
LOS ANGELES — Last week was the first week of my new job as a television writer. It was also my nine-year anniversary in Los Angeles. In other words, I've been working toward a job like this for almost a decade. I should have been giddy. I had the beginnings of my dream — I was holding it right in the palm of my hand.
Hi Katie. It's me, Jessica. I'm the woman whose article about infertility you responded to in a letter entitled, "A strong faith is all you need to live a full life." Thank you for your letter. I'm grateful to have an open dialogue about such an important issue. I was also so sorry to have read about your miscarriages — a heartbreak no one can begin to understand until you live through it. Thank you for bravely sharing that part of your story.