Amen, Amen, Amen

An exploration of how obsessive-compulsive disorder can be a gift

My Person of the Year

A friend who's made me a better friend

Drumroll, please.

For her unwavering commitment to feeding the homeless one sandwich at a time. For the thousands of blankets, diapers, and noodles she delivered to shelters after Hurricane Sandy. For the giant puppets and thumbnail-sized pictures and homemade guacamole she whips together in her sleep. For the click of her cowboy boots as she marches down the sidewalk with purpose and passion.

I nominate and elect Missy Pockets as 2012’s Person of the Year.

Okay, Missy Pockets is not her real name. My two-year-old son dubbed her that after she pulled out a muffin tin and taught him beginning percussion—in the middle of her kitchen during one of her dinner parties, of course.

Missy Pockets suits her perfectly though. One day while we were walking through the cemetery (her favorite hangout), she reached into her coat and found a shiny pebble.

“Huh,” Pockets said. “Must’ve put it there for a reason.” Then she pressed the stone into my palm. That was her reason. To give it to me.

I met Pockets early in 2012 at a fundraiser/tag sale for an incredible charity called Jonah’s Just Begun (please check it out). Pockets was sorting through piles of clothes, books, bicycles, and humidifiers. She threw me a sundress with butterflies all over it and said, “This looks like you. Try it on.”

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We spent the next hour together trying on secondhand ball gowns and sequined tops. Nothing like making a new friend while you’re mostly naked in the back of a church cafeteria. Though I still have trouble catching my reflection in a full-length mirror, Pockets seeing me in just my undies felt empowering.

She threw me gold halter-tops and skimpy satin slips. “Do it,” she said.

“Can I email you?” I asked her awkwardly as we parted ways.

Pockets said sure, and spelled out her address.

“Wait, you’re the Missy Pockets?” asked another woman.

Turns out, Pockets is a celebrity, especially in Brooklyn, New York. She’s put together a network of 4,800 parents—connecting mothers, fathers, pediatricians, nannies, activists, magicians. Anyone can join, or just browse the treasure trove of information she’s gathered online. She truly makes things happen—whether it’s raising $17,000 in 24 hours to help Hurricane Sandy evacuees or making sure young girls have a safe forum to talk about their changing bodies. Pockets is the commander-in-chief.

Pockets is not perfect, nor does she claim to be. We share tales of kids sniffling, bills piling, self-doubt, career frustration, what’s wrong with the cat and why do I fear my own shadow? Often when I’m needing it most, she simply texts me a picture of a flower from her rooftop garden.

There are many people who’ve inspired and challenged me this past year. I feel truly blessed with incredible friends and I’m so in love with my family I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Honoring Pockets doesn’t change any of that or exclude them.

I dedicate this page to Pockets because she has helped me see how full my life is and how much more I can be. As a parent, an artist, a partner and friend.

I hope everyone gets to celebrate a Person of the Year. You’ll know when you find him or her. The shiny pebble is a clear giveaway.

Abby Sher is a writer and performer in Brooklyn, New York, and the author of Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying.

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