Last night I had one of those crushing dreams.  You know the kind.  You're flat on your back and it feels like something (or someone's weight) is slowly settling on top of your chest.  Ever the practical one, I knew it was a dream, that it couldn't be real life, and there was no heavy presence sitting on my chest and immobilizing my hands and arms.  And yet I couldn't move them.  I lay frozen for a few seconds (too long) persuading my limbs and trying to will my body to just move.

I fully intended on writing a post today explaining my brief unplanned and unannounced blogging break.  I planned to (and still plan to) share what I've been up to and tell you all about how my favourite holiday was (both the good and the bad), how the table looked, how the food tasted, and how the pies turned out.  But I really don't want to leap into December forgetting the gratitude part of Thanksgiving.

These past few months have taught me a lot about the hidden pieces of lives that are veiled from the public and kept behind closed and locked doors.  The quiet battles, sometimes daily, that the people we think we know around us are fighting.  The number of people alone, particularly those that I thought I knew well, was staggering.  That each one of them imagined themselves alone in that struggle was the most tragic, feeling so isolated, misunderstood and out of place.  And I hope that each one of them, by sharing a bit of their story, feels a little less burdened and a little less lonely.

This year has been a tougher one for me due to obstacles I haven't encountered before and I have had the luxury of having you all as invisible (and sometimes visible) companions through it all.  I've very, very rarely felt alone with the blogosphere and I can hear my cheering section from across the oceans - sounding more like a rallying battle cry.  And so I've been able to stand taller and stronger.  I am grateful for you all and so much more in my life.  Grateful for the little things - cards in the mail and inside jokes.  Grateful for the big things - my mom's recovery and Siri's seamless adjustment to life in Portland.  Grateful for the hurtful things - those lessons that I wouldn't have learned any other way and for teaching me the way not to do things.  Grateful for the sweet things - RACs aka "random ass compliments" from strangers.

So maybe that's what the crushing dream felt like, the weight of the year, the weight of that gratitude sitting on my chest.  It's the invisible pressure I put on myself, those fabricated expectations of disappointing the cheerleaders, those I'm grateful to, and myself that are paralyzing me into inaction despite the need to just move.

But eventually, I did.  Of course, I had to.  I raised my arms and then, woke up.  Much as I expect to now.