I am feeling especially grateful today.
I was wrapped early from set yesterday, and had the entire day to run errands around the city. As I was walking around Union Square among the droves of tourists and Christmas shoppers, I stopped and looked up at the skyline of my beautiful city.
I still just cannot believe I’m lucky enough to live in this beautiful city, with such beautiful people, and beautiful friends, with the loving support of my beautiful family.
So let me just go to a dark place for one minute, to explain why I feel so, incredibly grateful on this chilly, December day.
A few years ago I thought I would never be happy again.
I had become so accustomed to shitty things happening to me, that I started to believe that perhaps that was just my lot in life; to be unhappy and get through life always a little sad.
Reading that sentence back, it sounds really depressing, but I’m getting to the happy part, I SWEAR!
I might sound like a broken record for those of you who avidly ready my blog, but something profound happened after my mother died. I told myself that my life would revolve around loving.
Loving what, you ask?
Well, I had to start by loving myself. And whether or not you’ve gone through hardships or not, loving oneself can often be the hardest kind of love to exhibit. Loving myself was not easy. It’s not easy to wake up every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you exactly the way you are.
Side Note: I actually tell myself I love me every morning in the mirror. Try it. Seriously. You will that me later.
After I decided to love myself, I started giving more love to my family. Experiencing my mother’s death with my immediate family changed us all. I never hang up the phone with my father, brother or sister-in-law without telling them I love them.
Then I moved on to my friends (or my second family). There have been actual moments where I’ve texted friends and tell them I love them “just because.” Sometimes I don’t feel like I tell my friends enough how important they are to me.
I also decided to honor and love all aspects of my life: love for my city, love for my career path, love for my talents and creativity, love for my health, love for my body (this is a tough one).
I feel like this epiphany, or gift, or realization, or whatever you might call it was almost the universe’s way of telling me a little secret.
When I first moved to New York, after making the grandiose decision that I was going to “love” everybody and everything, I was confused about why the love did not immediately come back to me. I went through months where I was lonely, frustrated with my career and missed my old life in Boston. It took me a while, but I eventually found my core group of friends, found a groove with my starving artist lifestyle, and started living the life I’ve always wanted.
Yesterday, while strolling around Union Square, snow falling, wind blowing, I took a breath with my little asthmatic lungs, and smiled.
I wanted to run into the park, spin around and scream, “NEW YORK! I’M THE LUCKIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD!” (Someone please write a screen play about a neurotic, 20-something girl from the Midwest, and put this cheesy line in it. I’m waiting. No? Okay.)
Sure, I’m broke. I’m not famous (yet). I’m under-slept. I can get a little too drunk sometimes. I talk way too fast and too loud.
But I am LOVED.
I AM LOVED!
I had a moment this morning when I woke up and realized that I cannot even count the number of people who love me on my fingers and toes because there are just too many.
Now, this is not meant to come off as conceited, or brag-y, or look-at-me-I’m-Shannon-fucking-Allen-and-everybody-fucking-loves-me!
I’m saying this because I’m GRATEFUL. Grateful might actually be the understatement of the century. I am grateful, thankful, honored beyond belief, lucky, #blessed (even though I detest this hashtag, it is imperative that I include it to demonstrate my sheer level of gratitude), fortunate, appreciative, overwhelmed, HEART FILLED WITH ALL THE WARM FUZZIES I COULD EVER WANT OR NEED TO EXIST ON THIS PLANET UNTIL THE DAY I CROSS OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE!
(And not literally in the figurative meaning, which apparently Webster has recognized as an acceptable definition of a word that literally means the opposite of figuratively. No. Literally in the literal sense!)
The love I have received in the past few months has surpassed any and all expectations. The support for my creativity, career, life, and just in general who I am as a human being, is incredibly overwhelming.
I thank you.
I love you.
I always have.
I always will.
AND HERE’S A PICTURE OF A REALLY CUTE KITTEN… Because… Just because.