1. Edie Windsor. What else can I say? This woman is class – truth – possibility and patience incarnate. She moves through this life with what seems like an ease of conviction, telling tales of truth, struggle, empowerment and the fundamental, unexplainable miracle of one true love. Edith Windsor loves Thea Spyer – nothing more – nothing less. And in that timeless, true, insurmountable love – she found the voice that would carry her through a magnificent life and a love affair for the ages. She took a stand. She was done pacing at the back of the line for civil rights in this country and took her story to the US Supreme Court. Her love for Thea carried her – motivates her still – and radiates from her smile and conviction. Her love and her undying belief in all the power it holds has given each of us who dares to love outside of the boundaries our society has kept us imprisoned within, civil rights and equalities that have been too long in coming. Edie is a woman for all time – and in 2013 – she shone bright and purposeful and stole my heart just a little.
2. The Ride. I will always be a girl on a bike. The freedom and empowerment of the open road define a part of me that very few will ever really understand. Rides for charity – forming a woman’s philanthropic motorcycle organization (Organized Chaos Chicago) – long road trips through circumstances unplanned are all reasons for the ride. Friendships and independent interpretations formed from the two wheeled adventures that are only a pull of the throttle away keep me coming back for more. I am grateful for the open road and the endless possibilities it continues to hold.
3. My Dad. In this – his 80th year – my father continues to inspire and transform me. The son of Irish Immigrants made a life for himself through hard work and great faith in God. He is that guy who goes to church everyday and prays to St. Anthony when he loses his car keys. A deacon in the Catholic Church who is respected by parishioners and church hierarchy – he is the man who accepts and loves his little Kathleen – because of my life choices – not in spite of them. I am humbled by his selflessness and hope to live my life with the integrity, generosity and empathy that he has always shown.
4. Amy Kelly. Yeah – that is what I said – Amy fucking Kelly. This friend inspires me – moves me – makes me laugh and motivates me to do better. After the heartbreaking loss of her brother Sean – Amy started a bit of a revolution in the Chicago area. Every spring Amy and a ton of friends shave their heads to raise money to find a cure for childhood cancer. St. Baldricks had no idea of the waves that were about to land on their shore when Amy decided to pick up where Sean left off and host a fundraiser every year. To give back – to do something for others – to lift a community and work hard while having a damn good time – that is what Amy brings to my world. It is an honor to raise a glass with a friend of such capacity – and I look forward with great hope to the possibilities of the years ahead.
5. Sons of Anarchy. This is not a type-o. I fucking love Gemma. This show had been running for a number of years – and I just got on board….what the hell had I been doing?? Running guns and muling Coke – a–soundtrack to end all soundtracks – hot freaking bikes and bad ass gangstahs….what more could a girl want?? The writing is not half bad – but the shocking violence – the flawlessly flawed characters and the lore of the biker gang mystique captivated me. I watched 6 seasons in 2 months – yeah – I know – get a life Guzman…..
6. Downsizing. The kids are both out of the house – and as I looked around me – I realized that the life I had built in that little grey shack did not exist any longer. It was time to let it go. Funny how, when we really take the inventory, there is not all that much worth saving. My valuables are locked deep in my poetic heart and live long in my selective mind. I have a couple pieces of art, some photographs, a needy dog and my Harley. Twenty four years spent inside those walls building a life that no longer exists – and it has been an easy heartbreak letting it all go.
7. Work. In these uncertain times for so many – I find myself grateful for the job that pays my bills. I have been fortunate in life – and although I dream every day of making a living writing that book that screams from inside my head – I know I am blessed and lucky to be respected and needed in this corporate playground. “Work is the curse of the drinking classes” – Oscar Wilde.
8. Bourbon. No kidding. It really took me this long to appreciate and understand a slow sipping luxury for my palate. Not a knock them back and get me wasted type of pleasure – but a slow and deliberate dance across my tongue kind of dealio. I am new to this world of wonderful whiskies – but I am unpacking and staying for a while. A special shout out to my girl Tammy Sciortino for showing me the way…..
9. Community. I have been out and about in this community I love so much for a very short time. The L Stop – CMSA – Organized Chaos – HRC – TPAN – SHE100 – to name but a few of the places I have found my place. I am blessed and so very lucky to have a voice and so many amazing places to use it at this stage in the game. I have never felt so alive. I have never felt so much a part of something so much bigger than myself – and I have never been so sure of where I belong and why I belong there. I love this place and will continue to work hard to communicate and support and assure we get others to be at home in this amazing community I so proudly call my own.
10. Love. Yeah – so cliché….I know. But damn it all to hell and back if I didn’t fall into it. She took my cool and she continues to take my cool with every passing day. We are oil and water – sure. Our views are from opposite ends of the spectrum but somehow fall together in a peaceful loving middle ground. She saw through my walls and refused to let me hide untouched behind them. There is laughter and passion unplanned. She reminded me of all I was capable of giving and continues to give what I had been so hesitant to take. My heart sings every moment I share with her – lost in those green eyes and hopeful in the tomorrows we so eagerly wait to share. Damn it – crazy, sappy love stuff – she stole my cool – and I let her.
2014 is going to be my year I think. Peace, kindness and all the love your heart can hold – from me to you.
About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.