Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Birthday Letter to a Rebirthday

I'm turning 28!

It's my birthday next week! Meaning: birthday month. Meaning: time to make excuses for anything and everything I want to do (or eat) because "it's my birthday!" Y'all know how it goes. Y'all KNOW.

Birthdays always make me reflective.

So does the 4th of July. So do rainstorms. And a good meal. And the movie Meet Joe Black. I guess I'm easily reflective.

I was thinking about how this whole phase of my life, recently, has felt like a rebirth, more than anything. So maybe this is my 28th as far as traditional birthdays go, but I'd also like to count it as a *rebirth* to a lot of new things, and a reawakening of a lot of pieces of me that I want to nurture more than I have been.

And so....

Dear 28, here's what I want from you:

I want simplicity. I've said this before, but not always succeeded at it. I want fun, and I want adventure, but also....on most of the days....I just want a smooth ride. I want a steady rhythm. And dependable circumstances. And my people. God bless my people; I have the best people. I want midnight snacks and lazy weekend mornings and hard work with fantastic coworkers and secure benefits and happy lunches and afternoon walks that fill in all the cracks and make me feel full, full, full when I go home instead of stressed or drained. I've got some of those details now -- just need to round it out :) I want less facebook, and more of the universe. Less frenzy, and more flavors on my lips and tongue. Less noise, and more songs that make my heart swell and tears leak out of my eyes. Less exhaustion, and more satiation. Less stuff, and more living. Less quantity, and more quality.

I want wonder. Lately I find myself curious about the world around me again. I'm slowing down and taking delight again in snails, banana slugs, roly polies and the sound of rain on my window. I stared inside of a tulip the other day, and couldn't get over the perfection of the colors and symmetry. Aren't humans just trying to catch up, all the time, to the magic that nature is already pulling off? In our science, art, technology....we're making formulas and machines and equations, and it's right there. Inside a flower. Just being perfect without trying. From a random little seed, some sun and water and dirt. I want to spend more time looking at the insides of flowers, and stars and trees and less time looking at my phone. I want to drive out of town, lie in truck beds packed with blankets and look up, up, up and feel like the tiniest part of something breathtakingly huge.

I want to give myself permission. I want to trust myself. I want to believe in my intentions. I've had a shift in my faith and beliefs this past year. And it took me for a ride, for many months, of grief and sadness and anger and betrayal and anguish of soul. It really did. Good hell, it did. I have been grateful every day of this last month or so that I feel like I'm finally starting to make peace with that. I write in my journal all the time that I feel like I'm getting happier every day. And it feels really good to honestly mean that. And so....permission. A big part of what led to this shift, for me, was a really conflicted feeling that several things I was being asked to believe or do were not things that my soul or conscience were telling me. But religion requires sacrifice, right? And faith? And....shelving things? And....and..... So I fought and fought and fought for it to work. Dammit, I fought. And suddenly, somewhere around last September, I had a moment of clarity while standing on a hill on a Sunday afternoon. And a voice inside me said, "You can choose. And it's all OK, however that ends up looking." And so, I started giving myself permission. And I have never felt more free in my life. The ability to approach any decision in life, big or small, and worry about nothing more than "does this feel right and good to me" and "does this do good to other people and the world," without comparing it to an external standard or what the people around me will think, is.....I don't have words for what it is. That self validation is priceless to me. It is precious. It is LIFE to me right now. There is no more other voice conducting my every move. No more man behind a curtain. There is no more weight. There is no more guilt, shame or conflicted heart. NONE OF IT. There is just honesty. There is just authenticity. There is just me, my relationship with the divine, and a universe of good to be had. I have never felt lighter, and more free, and more simply genuine, in my entire life. And if that means marching as an advocate in a gay pride parade instead of seated in a church pew on a future Sunday morning....there you have it. I give myself permission. And, "it's all OK, however that ends up looking." It really is. And that's what I have faith and hope in. No shelves needed anymore.

I want to give. I used to volunteer more. I used to fuel my soul with Saturday afternoons at Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters and Special Olympics events. I used to have piles of laundry covered in mud, sawdust and paint. I want that back again. I want to fill my Sunday mornings with sandwiches, water and a friendly word to men and women at freeway underpasses and park benches. When I was in college, the first time I volunteered for Make-A-Wish America, I drove home crying and feeling like my heart was about to explode out of my chest because I felt like I'd just found myself. Which, is why I went to work for them for awhile after graduation. I want that feeling back -- my lifeblood -- I want it back.

I want to need and be needed. I  want to be dependable. I want to be a listening ear. I want to always be down for lunch and dinner and fro yo plans. I want to show up to birthday parties and give rides to airports and take soup on sick days. I want to be the person that people can call in the middle of the night when they need to cry over the phone, just so someone can hear, instead of all alone. I want to drive to houses and sit on couches and be there with my people when they just need a warm body to take up space with them. And I want to not be afraid to be the one making those phone calls, when it's me doing the needing. I've always been a lot better at answering those calls than I have been at dialing them. I used to just pray that someone else would think to call so I didn't have to be the one to reach out on my own behalf. Why is that? What is that? I want to be so much better at admitting when I am the one who needs.

28 is going to be so good. 

It's going to be genuine. It's going to be full. It's going to be light. Or, at least that's the intention I'm starting with.....and I guess we'll see :)

For starters, I'm going to Italy. See ya on the other side, bellissimos :)
(Obviously, you can follow along at @katildagrams ....pshhh like you ever thought I wouldn't gram the crap out of a trip to Italy. DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME)


emi said...

your writing >>>>>

Selena Pallas said...

My heart and soul just went thru all of those emotions with you. You are such a wonderful writer. Enjoy Italy! Happy birthday! Love life!


Chantel said...

oh man THIS POST!! The writing is fantastic. But the messages and the things you say are so perfect. So so perfect. I am saving this to read again and again and make sure I am always aligned with your bolded points as well. You live so truly, so strongly. It's remarkable. And such a light!

M said...

I would really love to read a post elaborating on where you are at now religiously/spiritually. I know it's kinda vulnerable stuff though so I understand not wanting to throw that out into the vast interwebz. :)

FWIL Sentimental Blog Content said...

So much goodness in one place! It's amazing how we fear aging and how it only makes us happier as we truly find who we are, what we want, what we believe, and life's meaning. And I'm glad you're happier these days!

The Judd Family said...

The only person you're accountable to is Heavenly Father, and I have come to find he is a lot more loving that I originally gave him credit for. So, "Lead on, McDuff" :)