December is a dead zone in a lot of ways – it makes it great for planning. I love choosing a theme for the year. It tends to change about half way through, but regardless, I think it’s a fun lens to view the year and my choices through. So I ask a question.

What do I want more of this year?

This year, I chose a bold theme – mischief. I even made a Pinterest board, which makes it official, right? At the time, I didn’t even make vision boards because I’d cut and glue and cut and glue and ugh it’s not perfect and rage… and burn.

It just never fit. It never turned out like I expected.

But I wanted mischief. I had to have it. I wanted that telling side glance so that when you made eye contact with me, you could see something dancing in my eyes. There was a story there left sparkling and unsaid – and you wanted to know what it was because it was clearly a good one.

I kept my list of goals for the Year of Mischief – because naturally there has to be an associated list of goals with one’s yearly theme – rather short for me.

Go camping. Travel abroad (finally). Write 150 poems. Don’t settle. Dance.

My goals all had a thread of movement racing through them. I knew I needed something I didn’t have, but I didn’t know what it was yet. But I could feel the tides changing. There was an undercurrent of momentum that wanted to carry me along as desperately as I wanted it to.

And it was starting to. I’d gotten a great job that paid the bills plus a little extra. I felt creative again. I was writing – poetry even! The pressure that had been heavy on my shoulders for months was beginning to ease up. Instead of the ease I expected, though, there was more unrest I couldn’t quite pin down.

So I asked the year for mischief. Bring it on. I solemnly swear I’ll be up to no good. Rain down the Loki on me. (And if you find a way, Universe, Tom Hiddleston wouldn’t be so bad either.)

But when you ask for something like mischief, you never quite know what’s going to happen. And oh boy, mischief did I get. By mid-January, I was in talks for an even better job. While talking with a friend, I realized exactly how dire the situation around my marriage was. (And how insane I sounded trying to justify it.) I came on to an unsuspecting coworker. (Whoops.)

I betrayed myself to the vision of Mischief. I craved it with every ounce of my being. After feeling so numb to my everyday life, I was desperate for more. So I did something crazy.

I started asking for what I wanted.

I asked for the divorce. I asked for everything to dismantle. To come crashing down. I asked for it. Oh, I just asked for it.

And it happened. It hurt like hell, it was hard, it sucked… and I didn’t die. Hmm.

But now I needed a new place to live. What was I going to do? where was I going to go? Covered in vulnerability with a future shrouded in uncertainty, where should or could I even go?

It took a long walk through northwest Portland to meet a friend and a seemingly random stop in front of a seemingly random brick building. But I had a moment of clarity. Where would I go in this new life of mine?

Anywhere I wanted. 

So I asked for the apartment. I walked in, asked the manager if they had any availability, and sure enough – they had an opening at the end of that week. I didn’t even know if my credit was good enough to get approved. But it did.

I asked for freedom. So I bought a little red dress, fresh flowers for my desk, and started up an OKcupid profile. (That last one is a whole other story.)

I asked for help. I was afraid of being told no. I was so afraid of being a single parent. I was afraid life was going to be so hard. (Spoiler: It’s much, much easier.)

I asked for mischief.

But what I got was a life.

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