I hate birthdays. I've always hated birthdays. Which is odd, since my love of cake is pretty well documented. It's being the center of attention. Everyone staring at you, singing at you, waiting for you to say things. Too much pressure.
Alas, as my mother told me last year, my birthday is not about me. It's about her and 28 hours of agonizing labor.
Thank you, Mommy.
So how about instead of an awkward serenade, we do a blog instead? Here’s 29 on my 29th (<- the year everyone thinks you’re lying about your age)
5 People to Address
Dear New Friends,
I am not a person who has ever made friends easily. Believe it or not, I’m shy. But more than shy, I’m insecure. Whenever it becomes apparent that a person is interested in what’s going on in my life, concerned about issues I’m facing, supportive of my triumphs, and sharing things with me they know I’ll relate to, it surprises me. Truly. So in my most dramatic, heartfelt voice, “You like me! You really like me!” And that has made me feel so blessed this past year. Here’s to more IRL moments.
Dear Old friends,
I lost a lot of you, and in 99% of the cases it was my fault. I picked jerks over you. I withdrew from you. I talked too much about me. I didn’t ask enough about you. I screened you. I ignored your texts. I missed your important moments for something not as important. I asked for too much. So for those of you who’ve stuck with me, or those of you who’ve been willing to give me a second chance, thank you. Thank you for not giving up on me. I’m finally growing up and ready to make it up to you. You’re the ones who’ve got my number and know the real me. ((Old School Hugs))
Sigh. Another year. More drama. More tears. For that I’m sorry. But as each year passes, I love you more and am more grateful for you. Know that I would crawl under hell and over heaven for you. That you’re in my prayers every night. That I look for you in my children. That I know how lucky we are to live close and be close. To be honest. To not have secrets (<- even though sometimes I wonder if we’d be happier if we kept a few). Let’s do more this year. Let’s make more memories. Let’s hug more. Let’s share in each other’s little victories more. If you need me, I’m there. Always.
I’ve become aware that there’s a few of you out there I annoy. That think I’m full of shit. That are sick of hearing about me and from me. Know this: there is nothing you can say about me that I haven’t said or thought about myself 10 times more harshly. No one thinks I am more unworthy to be seen and heard than I do. So it’s pretty simple. Unfollow me on Twitter. Defriend me on Facebook. Don’t read my blog. I don’t need everyone to like me, even though sometimes I think that I do. No hard feelings.
I <3 social media. I love connecting with people and hearing different perspectives and sharing and watering each other’s little gardens. So for those of you who aren’t quite my “friend”, but are still watching and reading and keeping tabs on me: don’t read too much into me. I’m fluid. I’m changing. I’m evolving. I say crazy stuff and do crazy things. I am a damn mess, and most days my biggest fear is that my children will grow up to be like me. My shit stinks. I just like to make people laugh, look at things from different points of view, play devil’s advocate, and live life like it’s short, because it is. Just fyi.
In almost every facet of my life, I am in a perpetual state of confession, because I want people to know that I know that they know….you know? My husband and I live on the verge of divorce, I am going to have to declare bankruptcy this year, I think I am terrible mother, I suffer from sometimes debilitating anxiety and depression for which I have been medicated most of my life, and I have, on more than one occasion, eaten an entire cake. Go ahead and judge me if you must, but I’m not going to hide things about my life and risk making someone else think that they are less of a person because they have problems.
But once upon a time, I did a bad thing in love. It was costly. In fact, it almost killed me. I wear it like sackcloth. And it’s the one thing I never talk about in public. However, this year I have decided my bill is paid in full. I have paid enough. I haven’t forgiven myself yet, but I have finally decided I *should* forgive myself. And that is something to brag about.
Um, so yeah. I lost 60 lbs through nothing but hard work and dedication. I have become an adult onset athlete. I feel (pardon me) FUCKING AMAZING. Yes I do. So there.
I have figured out that I can be and do anything I want. Learn a language? I can do that. Run a half marathon? I can do that. Write a novel? I can do that. I have never believed in my own ability to choose joy for myself like I have this past year. It doesn’t mean I’m very good at choosing joy yet, but the fact that I know I can is epic. Watch out for me this year. You might get run over by my stampede of awesome.
I have always viewed myself as a super selfish person. I’m a very internal person. I internalize other people’s problems and make them my own. I tend to talk about myself more than I talk about other people (e.g. look at this freakin’ blog I’m writing RIGHT NOW). I like my own little routine and my own time and my own space and I don’t like to share my stuff (emotional or physical). Motherhood, especially being a mother to more than one child now, has made me more selfless than I ever thought I would have the capacity to be. I get joy out of giving to other people and helping ease other people’s burden. I realize that being able to make someone stop crying or sing someone to sleep or have someone light up just because you’re in the room is true magic that we humans have and take for granted. I am not a perfect mother, but I am a magic one.
Some very cool people in Lexington know my name. That may be shallow to say, but I think it’s pretty cool. Not because it makes me important or special. On the contrary. It just means that I am doing something that people with lifelong depression and anxiety have trouble doing. I am not withdrawing. I am reaching out to see what I can offer. To see if I can say something that means something to someone else. That someone besides those biologically compelled to will miss me when I’m gone. Yay. Morbid. But yay.
I am going to take a bigger stake in making myself marketable and opening up new professional doors. Holy crap, I am almost thirty. It is time to take my future seriously. I am in a youth based industry. I do not want to be 70 and trying to figure out how to market flying wheelchair vans. I want to be looking back on a successful career from a beach chair with a Hurricane.
Spirituality, Physical Health, Cognitive Development, and Emotional Fulfillment. Let’s figure out a way to devote an equal amount of time to each of these, shall we?
I need to not be on my iPhone when my two year old wants me to sing Old McDonald for the 20th time. I need to not be up late reading running articles and then sleeping in when my butt should be at Church saying thank you for all my many blessings. I need to not be logging calories to be healthier and then give myself an ulcer because I am so obsessed with my weight. Priorities. In order. Now.
Kindness towards Self
If I heard someone say the crap I say about myself about one of my friends, I would commit MURDER. I’m not perfect. But I’m also not going anywhere. Take it easy on Ann. Give her a break. She’s been through a lot. She tries hard to be a good person. She comes to people’s defense in times of injustice. She’s good for a laugh. She worries about people. She’s fragile. You’re going to break her. Be gentle.
You know that feeling you get when you haven’t showered in a few days? Self-conscious, gross, run down, not yourself? That’s how I feel when I don’t write. It’s not a hobby or a pastime. It is as much a part of who I am as the color of my eyes or my one ear that sticks out. I’ve been doing it since before I could do it – drawing pictures and making Mom write down stories on them so I could see the words before I could read them. I won awards for it. I went to art school for it. I got a degree in it. I’ve been paid to do it. I’ve got to get back there. I’ve got to get back to consistent creative writing.
5 Lessons Learned
Some things never change
People will say mean things about you behind your back, even when you’re an adult and should have better things to do. People you love will disappoint you. Some wounds will never fully heal, but the pain can be managed. Some things never change.
Life is short and that's ok
Babies turn into kids. But they still surprise you and need to be cuddled. Love turns from passion to familiarity. But it can still give you butterflies and make you feel young. We could all be dead tomorrow, but if you love Jesus you know it’s better on the other side. Life is short and that’s ok.
The comfort zone is a cage
Go to your comfort zone when you NEED to, but don’t live there.
I've got 99 problems....
But perspective ain’t one.
A lesson learned isn't the same as a change made
My boss read my Skirt! article and ever since EVERY TIME I say something negative, he mocks me with it.
“I thought you had a transformation of the MIND?”
“I’m going to transform your face.”
You can learn things, but still need time to adapt to your newfound knowledge, and even then you’ll forget sometimes. It’s cool.
Us - Regina Spektor
Love the boldness of this song. Love the tangled up love in the lyrics. Love the unabashed, crazy runs she does with her voice. Obsessed.
Someone Like You – Adele
Playing this to death. Just ask the Little Squirrels. Doesn’t everyone have a “You”? Or is it just me?
Rootless Tree - Damien Rice
Sad to say this was my soundtrack for the better part of the last three years. Things are looking like I could maybe retire this from the playlist, though. We’ll see.
Anna Sun - Walk the Moon
“Your hands on my cheeks, your shoulder in my mouth.” Goosebumps. Passion. Memories.
Suitcase - Over the Rhine
Sweet, sad goodbyes and letting go. “Why’d you love me in the first place?”
Bullheaded. Comedic. Loving. Busy. Hungry. Curious. Concerned. Surprised. Easily broken. Easily Renewed. Secret. Special. Unexpected.
Beautiful. Miraculous. Strong. Steady. Tried. Aware. Wise. Experienced. Blessed. Guarded. Unafraid. Quiet. Chill. Poised. Required.
Just want to close out some books. Make some fresh starts. Get some balance. Get some clarity. Carve out a rock to stand on. Put my things in order. And then live. Just live. Just survive and endure and love and pray and experience and fail and succeed and die with my boots on.
I think I’m headed toward the above. I think I am finding my footing. I think the devil has had me by the tail my whole life and I am finally seeing things for what they are. So I wish for continuance and to not be distracted from the right roads. More lights for the path please, Oh Lord. That’s all I need.
Happy Birthday to me.