This time of the year is always fragile for me. Holidays have always been difficult for me since my family is strewn across the ocean in a few foreign countries. For many of us, it starts at Thanksgiving and my birthday is right after.
I recall turning 6 and wanting a guitar for my birthday. When I was gifted a plastic one, I didn’t want it, specifically stating that it “was not real”. I threw it and it broke as it smashed on the side of the iron radiator. I was reprimanded with a heavy hand.
I remember Prince’s 1999 coming out. I was 9. I just couldn’t fathom 1999! .. at all! The Port bottle in the fridge was now my friend as I started my own party.
When I turned 21. I walked out of a club, past the bouncers somehow, with a full drink in my hand. My friends laughed as I stumbled into the car, amazingly not spilling the drink. Although I wasn’t driving that night, I had already spent the past two years driving in blackouts on a fairly regular basis.
The day I turned 23, I had a show to play that evening and no marijuana to “get me through”. I had my first full blown panic attack as I was scared to death of facing an audience without my “safety net”.
As the years went on, I started celebrating a week before to a week after. It was an extra excuse to “party” and “have a good time”. My favorite gifts were drugs and alcohol. My second favorite was money. That way I could easily get whatever I needed for the day, but still required some extra steps.
30 was a dream I couldn’t ever dream of.
Before I knew it, it was my birthday everyday and by the time the party came to a halt, I was chronically “hungover” for a good three years.
As I thought that I was living life, the reality was that I had been killing myself for over 25 years.
All that time. Never satisfied, always looking for something outside of me to make everything alright, ungrateful, self-centered, self-seeking, selfish, take take take….All I ever wanted was to connect. To love and be loved. To belong.
Thing is, I was looking for the Ferrari while following the wrong roadmaps. No guide to get me through, let alone a destination to reach.
I once had a counselor, Ms. Roz from Brooklyn. I can still hear her in her thick accent, “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda… ain’t no gooda!”
It can take a while to process things. As I continue working on sitting with my own thoughts and feelings, I’m generally OK with that today. I just turned 45.
I allowed myself to sleep in, got up at 7AM. I did some yoga. I had some homemade sugar & flour free pie. I spent time with my family whom I made a lovely steak dinner for.
I received one gift, a score card from a game I played at a carnival this summer. One of those stars on a paper that you have to shoot out with a semi automatic bb gun. It was framed with a written quote,”keep shooting for the stars”.
Today, the awareness that there are endless possibilities is greatly satisfying as I work on living. In the words of Bob Dylan, “..and I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”
What is your Birthday going to look like this year?
Love Life Today. THiS ReCoVeRY LiFE.