It's like my own personal New Year's Eve, when I am on the brink of a new year. I have been toying with the very novel idea of not letting my birthday go unannounced, pass quietly, slip through the floor boards. And I have been thinking of ways to say (in my shy, unassuming voice): "I am a year older and I like cake. I am a year older and I think we should do my favorite things." I rarely ever do anything like this... make a to-do over Me. And I was going to launch into a long, sad story about how unfortunate the timing of my birthday is (which I sort of am doing, but only briefly), because it falls between two more popular and interesting events, namely Christmas and New Year's Eve... but I am not going to do that. Today is my unbirthday and tomorrow I will be 41 years old.
Someone has inspired me to think about how I see myself and how I represent myself to the world... to consider the stories I tell, or simply repeat in my head, and how those stories and beliefs may or may not be true. Remember: Do Not Believe Everything You Think. I have some tired, worn-out, sad, pitiful, long in the tooth, short on interest stories that I keep fostering and nurturing and protecting and publishing... you get the idea.
I was reading my friend's post and thinking how brilliant she is and then I got to the part where she wrote, "And when you tell yourself the same story for years, it's kind of uncomfortable to give it up." That part made me cringe, and get flustered and sweat just a little, because sometimes the truth is hard to take. I am really, really comfortable with my stories. They guide me, and shelter me from improving myself, from changing my views, from growing and moving forward. My stories provide the rationales and excuses I need to pardon me from other truths, from new perspectives, and different possibilities.
I don't know if this means I will deny that I hate renting or that my parent's 1971 divorce still sends shock waves through my life... those things are true... but, maybe the idea is to open up new chapters and take a new position on old topics. Renting sucks, but thank God we aren't stuck holding a sub-prime mortgage. Divorce sucks too, but I cannot imagine what my life might have been if they'd stuck it out... it's good they let go. So if I can cut-back on the old stories and start reflecting on the events and ideas that are meaningful right now, the inspiration and dreams that could motivate and facilitate new and better directions, well, that would be a very good thing.
You realize this means more talk about chickens, don't you? Chickens, and hardwood floors, and the built-in shelves I want in the home I hope we'll someday have. Chickens, and more road trips, sewing, gardening, creating, making my visions realities, even the silly ones. I really want to stop suppressing my hopes and the interests I have. I want to be less apologetic and more insistent. I want to accept myself and also kick myself, because I know I can be better. I really must dare to be as good as I want to believe I can be... which is a rather pedantic statement for self-esteem, but it is a start.
Today is my unbirthday, and I like Janice's carrot cake, the Octopus Car Wash in Madison, Wisconsin, Disneyland, digging in dirt, taking photographs, the smell of Mexíco, cowboy music, being in the same room with all of my children and husband, the new ringtone on my cell phone, farms and barns and small, rural towns. I like getting mail, planning trips, gazing out the window of the car, giving directions, listening to Maria talk to herself, and the sound of a dog drinking water. I wish my children could be home with me even more than they already are, because their company delights me to the core.
I am working on some plans, some new ways of going about living... like asking someone to please take pictures of me too, and reclaiming my health,
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
-Mariane Williamson, "A Return to Love"