This year’s birthday hit differently. So much has happened in the last year and a half and I am flat out tired. I finally came to that breaking point where, to paraphrase a quote by Maya Angelo, I belong everywhere and no where. I’m not looking for belonging in everyone else anymore. Even though I so often feel like I’m standing alone, I know it’s something I have to do. Someone, somewhere will say something to remind me that I’m strong and loving and I’m not alone but I no longer need them to confirm that. I can be surrounded by people I love who love me and yet I’m learning I don’t feel the need to seek validation from them to know that I’m worthy.
This next year I have goals for myself. Things I need to do to live life with a wild open heart.
I’m going to love with no expectations.
I’m going to be fierce but I’ll be kind.
I’m going to be tougher yet I’ll still be tender with everyone I come across.
I’m going to be open to people who come into my life. I will soften my heart and be better to those who choose to stay in my life. I will throw my arms open wide and love wholeheartedly those who return to my life. And I shall guard my heart with cautious optimism but never shutting it off to the love and possibilities of good friends, new experiences, and the hope of second chances.
This is the year I’m going to live as I should’ve been living for a long time now. I’ve lost so much in the past few years. Friends. Opportunities. My sister was obviously the worst to knock me off my feet. I’ve faced loss before. The “they’ve left your life by choice but are still around” loss but I’ve had forever loses too. I know the loss of losing a baby. I know the loss of losing my Mom. And now I know the loss of losing my sister. I’ve always leaned on friends for each of those.
I think the loss of my sister is what opened my eyes to how truly alone I am and threw me into the deepest of depressions. I wasn’t surrounded by friends when she died. I’ve lost most of them. Some because my depression kept me from being better at keeping in touch. Some chose to move on. Some I guess just “weren’t that into me” as they say. I’ve never needed a tight-knit group of friends like I did then. And I didn’t have it anymore. And I broke. I shut down. A year and a half later and my therapist and I are just now beginning to deal with the loss of my sister. I am just that good at shoving trauma down deep enough to not consciously feel it. I’ve never known how to do it alone. I still don’t know how to do it alone but I’m learning how when I have to and also (and this is the hardest) trying to learn how to ask for help. That last one is a bitch when you don’t know who to ask. But it’s time. Picking myself up sucks. It hurts. I will learn how to do this while I keep an open heart. But, damn, pulling yourself out of quicksand without a rope isn’t easy.
But this is my birthday gift to myself. I’m taking this year by the [fill in your word of choice] and remembering not only who I am but what I can and should do to make myself happy. This year I will do what I can to be a better me. Part of that has to do with you.
If I ever told you you’re my friend, you still have a place in my heart. Say hi. Kick me and remind me not to disappear.
If I’ve ever told you I love you, I still love you. I may be afraid that too much time and life has passed to reconnect but know you’re still in my heart and I’d be overjoyed if we did reconnect.
If I’ve ever sat with you and laughed or cried or both, I miss that. Can we do it again?
I suppose in this new year of being older and becoming wiser what I’m trying to say is… I need you. I really do.
And that’s not as scary to say as it used to be but it’s also terrifying.
Here’s what I am going to do. It’s my new project for myself for the year. I’m going to snail mail everyone I hear from at the very least a letter. If you want to reconnect, connect, or just see if I’ll follow through, drop me a comment. Either here or on Instagram. Who knows what else. If only a few reply, I might learn to crochet and make you a whole blanket. (But I really hope more than a few of you do! I am not very good at crocheting.)
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to do this damn thing.
I hope you’ll join me!