In October 2014, Kent abruptly broke off our one-year relationship. That ending broke a part of me, and was one of the push factors that nudged me back towards California. In July 2016 I moved back to L.A., but two months before that, Kent and I had lunch. It was the first time we’d seen each other since that night, and it was a cordial and friendly closure. I learned — almost by accident — that he’d been seeing someone else for several months, and from what he told me, it seemed they were a better match. In the next couple weeks I wrote a few final poems about Kent and our relationship. “To The Woman Who Came After Me” was an ode to his new girlfriend, and has been an audience pleaser for its intensity, grief, and righteous indignance.
His girlfriend’s name was Danielle, and I’d never met her … until she contacted me out of the blue a year later. It was June 20, 2017, and I was driving back across the desert to Prescott, Arizona, for a writers’ workshop. Checking my email, I saw a message from a name I recognized but didn’t know. It was Danielle, writing to tell me she and Kent had just broken up. She described how she imagined I must have felt when I saw them being happy. She named the struggles our mutual ex faces. And she said, “I’m simply writing to let you know, that it’s all come around again. It wasn’t you.”
It wasn’t you. That email was one of the most profound moments of sisterhood, allyship, and being deeply acknowledged I’ve ever experienced. That one message was enough, but my reply initiated a spirited exchange that I believe was validating and healing for both of us.
Danielle and I have stayed connected via social media ever since, while neither of us has spoken to Kent. She’s a fine, kind human being and a spectacularly gifted artist — two magnets that keep me drawn to her. I’ve admired her art from afar for years, and when I learned that she enjoys doing commissions, I jumped at the chance to support her and bring her brilliance to my home. Her delight in working with me was so much more delicious because of how we met. My drawing was her last commission of 2021, and arrived at the perfect time — January 3rd, one day before my birthday.
I’ve still never met Danielle in person — in fact, we’ve never even spoken on the phone — but her generosity and heart have moved me. I am now the proud and deeply humbled owner of one of her precious creations, which she crafted out of the images Spirit called me to name: pelvis, hummingbird, sunflower, praying mantis.
So from across the miles in New Mexico to my apartment in California, Life connected us and Spirit spoke to us. And now, every morning when I wake up, this powerful, feminine, sacred image — crafted by the hands of a true Sister — greets me. I can think of few things more magical and precious.
Thank you Danielle. And thank you Artists of all kinds, everywhere, for making life worth sticking around for.