The big guns.

When you think there's any chance that you might need reinforcements, you bring them out in spades: the earrings your flaming-sworded friend gave you right after you almost sat on that last person's hat; the ring your beloved Lexingtonian gave you so that you could remind yourself of how badass you are; the necklace that helps you focus in on who you are; the ring of iron that reminds you of what you have done; the ring of silver that reminds you of what you could do, if you dared. The heels you bought to wear the year you interviewed for your job. The dress you're glad you bought, because it suits you just so. And the long-lasting red lipstick you're learning to wear without embarrassment. Trying out a new trademark, shall we say.

Then you give your friends and readers the December hedgerow rose you're giving yourself--because when no one else brings you flowers, you get them for yourself. And then you grab your key and leave for dinner, taking all your friends and family with you in one way or another.

"Make yourself venerable" is my Canadian friend's love-life advice. She means "vulnerable." But what she says is better than what she means to say. "Give your love to those who appreciate it," my father told me long ago. I'm riding on that one tonight, too.

* * *

And then, even when it turns out that you didn't need those big guns after all, you will be so glad to have realized that you have them, and to have had so many of your people in your mind and near your person as you embraced just how many excellent people are in your community here.