That Time I Turned 40 and Wrote a Novel

As I get older, my inner circle gets smaller. I’m not sure how to feel about that except to welcome and acknowledge it. However, a lot of times I just feel a bit sad and confused… and then perspective helps. Self-worth and kindness also helps.

By the time I was 19, I was living in New York City fighting for my life during 9/11, anthrax and blisters on my heels from walking 10 miles/day in college. I had interned at ABC and casting offices around Manhattan. I’d worked for Cartier and L’Oreal near Central Park and, yes, had the occasional walk-on role in tv and film. I watched the Mets and Yankees play double-headers in Queens. I raised money for HIV and AIDS research. I marched in my first-ever Pride parade and met Hillary Clinton for the first time. I fought for marriage equality with Marriage Equality New York. I went to more Broadway shows in three years than most have in their entire lives.

By 22, I was a homeowner in Seattle. I ran my first half-marathon and then six more in the next two years. I raised money for cancer research for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I moved into South Lake Union before Amazon and worked a full-time office job + part-time jobs in theatre at The Paramount/Moore theaters. When I wasn’t working those jobs, I had a side hustle at Barnes & Noble. You could say I’ve always had purpose. It’s because I never thought I’d live a long time. Truth!

By 24, I was married and living in West Seattle. Fighting for marriage equality in WA state and lobbying with politician friends in Olympia. I became the VP of Social Outreach Seattle and worked to pass LGBTQ+ legislation in WA. I was a grand marshall in the Seattle Pride Parade. Later, I served on their board. I wrote regularly for The Advocate, Windy City Times, Curve, HuffPost, SheWired, and even started my own online newspaper called The Seattle Lesbian. I earned a $13,000 grant for The Seattle Lesbian and was invited to the White House by President Barack Obama.

By 32, I was a mother. I’d struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss for almost two years – and I wrote about it. I also helped write two books – Black, Gifted and Gay with my friend Leyla Farah and Gay Press, Gay Power with Tracy Baim. I’d helped with an incredible tome about AIDS at 30 with Tracy as well.

By 40, I’d worked for local community organizations and then Amazon. Helped micro businesses cope with COVID and held my father’s hand at his bedside after suffering a massive stroke from which he should have died. I got divorced and most of my friends disappeared. I leaned into my friendship with my ex and together we’re raising an amazing young lady named Sophia.

I’ve earned 40. I make no fucking apologies. I do have to get used to my circle being smaller, but I’ve earned that, too. ♥️ Sometimes I need to remember that I’ve earned a bit of exhaustion, too.