Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And Love Saves the Day!

Today marks one of the most special days in my parents' day when they felt remarkably joyous!...Today is my birthday! 

There is absolutely one thing that I've learned to look forward to when my birthday arrives, and that's the birthday blues.  Yes, you heard me.  I look forward to my annual self-flagellation session.

Well, 'self-flagellation' might not entirely be accurate.  I guess I just call it 'birthday blues' but really what I mean is some serious alone time for self reflection.  I can almost hear some of you saying, "But don't you already do that every day???" The answer is sure, yes to some extent.  But a birthday is serious business for me and therefore I feel more pressure to make the contemplation more productive.  And while most people would prefer to celebrate with friends, I actually prefer spending it by my lonesome, and this has gotten even more pronounced as I got older. Having my birthday without getting at least two hours of alone time is something I deem tragic.  I must admit, I crave some solitude, some time to be left alone with my thoughts, and most especially my questions.  It's just who I am.

File:Birthday candles.jpg

Last night I went to my bff's house to celebrate her eldest son's birthday. Birthday boy is also my godson.  Then BFF shared that birthday boy said something profound to her.  We're not sure if it was a product of watching too much Aladdin or Mulan or some other Disney movie but he said, "When I marry, I want someone who sees me.  I want to be seen, Mama."  

This got me thinking.  Aren't birthdays about this as well?...being 'seen'.  And to be seen is not merely about getting attention and being made to feel special for a day, although those are great perks to enjoy.  

To be really seen is to be understood, to have a soulful connection with another, to be heard and felt in spite of silence.  To be seen is to be accepted and loved, truly purely loved, welcomed despite your flaws, idiosyncrasies, wounds and baggage.  It's to be treasured both for your gifts, and equally for your failures or never-to-be-realized potential.  

I had more than a hundred birthday messages online, from close friends, not-so-close friends, new friends, old friends, mentors, former students, and family. To all of you who took the time to send me your messages on this special day, I am sincerely grateful!  You have made me smile.

But what truly fills me on this special day is the opportunity to reconnect with old friends...friends (and select family members) who have known me for decades; souls who celebrate me even when I feel like there is nothing about me to celebrate.  I feel most humbled and honored by friends telling me that they value me for being trustworthy, wise and that my written words on here have made a difference somehow.  These are birthday messages that truly remind me what birthdays are about -- a celebration of the perfection in one's imperfect existence.  At the end of the day, a birthday celebrant knows that the day is not quite complete unless she hears from those who truly see her, mold her, feel her.  The day is never really quite full to the brim unless she hears from Love......well, that and a slice of chocolate cake!

Happy Birthday to Me!