for the longest time, i have hated my birthday. i had one party with a rainbow pony in my backyard when i was three, and after that it’s pretty much been all doom and gloom.
i would say this peaked around my 21st birthday when i decided to get obliteratingly drunk and had to be driven to the er where i spent the night in a gown against the wall of a hallway. i then woke up, (22!), dry heaved, and walked the three city blocks home with my high heels in a plastic bag, gray, padded socks on my feet.
listen, if i have to feed a story of my birthday being terrible, i’m gonna do it right, okay? an overintoxication hospitalization was me seriously nailing marytrdom on the head. because, believe me, hating your birthday is total marytdom. LOOK AT ME! i’m so pitiful and sad I CAN’T EVEN LIKE MY BIRTHDAY! everyone rally around and try harder.
soon after this particular display, i got some boyfriend named pat who presented a real challenge to hating my birthday. because here was someone who was willing to love me and shower me with affection in real time – and like, not just on my birthday, but like, all the time. consistently. this threw my martyrdom shtick for a loop, but i was persistent, and i kept feeding the story.
pat! i told you! i don’t like my birthday! i would yell at him every year. seriously! just accept this about me. enough with the plans, enough with the gifts. no fancy dinner. none of that!
predictably, this was a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t scenario. he would do nothing and i would sulk. he would do something and i would sulk. the common thread of much of my twenties: callie, sulking.
then at 29 i threw all the pieces of my life into the air so i could watch them all drop. and oddly, something miraculous happened: i got my birthday back. it landed right in my hand.
30 was still somewhat shitty, for reasons a bit complicated to explain here. but it was also a turning point, because i knew i was in there somewhere. i knew i was to be cared for.
i knew my life was precious.
and then at 31 i was big pregnant with plum, and i felt adored by my family and maybe also a tiny bit adored by myself as well. i was tucked away in a safe haven in dallas where i could love on my belly and prepare for all the big good changes i felt coming.
and now we are here, at 32. those changes have come – plum, austin, and the deeper, more sustainable self-love i have found and cultivated.
and suddenly, this very evening, on the eve of 32, i have a party hat hanging from my computer screen. when i tip-toe down tomorrow morning to write in the wee hours before dawn, before anyone has had time to tell me anything, i will put on my hat and i will pray – i will thank god for this gift:
that i am here. i am worthy of celebration. life is mine for the taking.
i am happy, present, lovely, smart, talented, funny, silly, patient, and successful.
i am beginning to trust the process. i trust myself.
i am surrounded by light and love.
i have regret, fear, and shame.
but regret, fear, and shame is not what i am.
and that, is worth celebrating.