GRATEFUL: For all the places I am not welcome, for the gates and bars and fences I have peered into, and all the longing being an outsider has given me. Out of that pain, I create beauty for my kin. For the rare people in my life who truly know the defects I’m least proud of, who have seen my squishy scarred bits and somehow love me more for the vulnerability. To see a tiny shoot of green, watered with shared blood, tied clumsily to a skinny stick, pruned with love, stretching into a majestic tree. As it should be. For the lesson that home is never be made of mere walls, but a certain cozy peace in the heart. For all the beautiful, messy, half-blind unbelievers who have let me down or broken my heart, teaching me what love is by teaching me what love is not.