In the last year I have lost, the company I started, my best friend, my business partner, a lot of friends who sided with him in what I call, "the great divorce," and a lot of respect for an industry I so loved.
Let me back up... I started a small winery with my two best friends. It was amazing...at first. Then, it became apparent that one had to go. (See also: stealing, lying, over all assery).
A couple years later, at a point when we were at our most successful, our investors decided... along with my best friend and co-founder, to vote me out. (See also: Greed)
So then why am I so lucky, well dear friends, and I do truly mean dear friends, because I read each and every one of these emails with care and great admiration.I am so lucky because I hit the surprise, unplanned, genetic lottery, without which I might not have survived the last year. (See also: Charlotte June, we call her Charlie)
Last August, I received a text, from a friend that I worked with at a restaurant who I hadn't heard from in over a year. The exact words escape me but the gist was, I think you should take a paternity test. (See also: One, and I do mean one, lonely night a few years ago we went out, had some drinks and 20 some odd months later this text.)
The next few weeks were a blur of worry and shame and searching. But I took the test. The results; father hood. I wrote an email to my family (except my parents, I flew home to tell them) explaining the circumstances. I would like to share an excerpt from that email: 'I want to thank everyone and anyone reading this, whether I sent it to you, or someone close that we share forwarded it as requested for your love and support during my life. You all are the reason why I feel comfortable enough as a human to bestow all that I am and have learned on another little person. I know my life is now drastically different and each day will come with a new challenge whether small, like now answering my phone "Hi, Aunt Laura," instead of cousin Laura, or coordinating the sleep schedule of a toddler in advance of a cross-country trek to Northern Indiana in the dead of summer. I invite you all to join in on the conversation, and feel free to ask me absolutely anything without reservation, as this will in some way, small or large, affect you all now as well.'
The next day, I picked her up, started an Instagram to chronicle the journey (all of you are invited to join in: @cjsilliman) and began to learn everything Charlie had to teach me.
So why share this intimate and possibly embarrassing story with 25,000 strangers? (Except for you Lex Friedman, I've heard your voice for years) Because I want you all to know that you are only given what you can handle, and I really can't stress that enough. You are strong enough to conquer what you are faced with, what you have been dealing with, what ails you and keeps you up at night. Just the fact that you are here, reading this, means you care, means you strive for something more, and new and different. And life doesn't give a shit about your plans, and it shouldn't. Because you can't plain perfection, and I honestly believe that's what you are and life is.
Thanks for taking the time and welcome to the family. Go follow her journey, and mine.
Thank you (See also: I love you)