REMEMBRANCE

 

Most of my birthdays are spent alone. When I turned nine years old my mom was also getting married in the same week. Family members were in and out of the house, but no one could remember my birthday not even the woman who gave birth to me. I remember looking crazy. My hair was all over my head, probably been playing in the same clothes for two days. I didn’t even get a happy meal from McDonald’s. That made me feel forgotten, and that my step dad was taking my mom away from me.

Since then celebrating my birthday alone has been a trend. The people that are currently in my life are supposed to be here. Knowing that I had to do something different this year, I had to have as many of my loved ones around me as I could get. Didn’t matter if I had to split the days up, just as long as they brought in a new year with me.

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My celebration started with a night with JMSN, a singer/songwriter who is soulful, emotional, experimental, and takes you places you wouldn’t expect to go. Any chance I get to see him I’m going to take it, even if that means going alone. Initially I was supposed to go with my friend Taylor, but since she couldn’t make it I knew it was supposed to be me, myself, and I.  In my head, there was no one else in the space, just me, JMSN, and his band. In reality, there I was in a room full of strangers but I didn’t feel lonely. Everything else was a blur, and I was completely content.

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The next morning I decided to try something out that I vowed to never do again: bring friends together for a meal. That shit was entirely too awkward the last time. No one talked to each other, the energy was off. Bottom line, it was weird. This time around I had a slightly different group of girls. Some new, some old. I felt warm inside because the people I care about were all in one space. During my birthday brunch my friends decided to give a toast, each one expressing how they felt about me. It was a tearjerker. Naturally I judge myself from someone else’s eyes before they get the chance to say what they really think. So to hear positive, heartfelt proclamations made me feel like I am doing God’s will. I am being the person he designed me to be and it shows.

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The day has finally come; God has blessed me to see another 365 days. Calls, text messages, social media alerts have been coming in since 12 AM. Initially I wanted to start my day with a massage, right? Appointment never got booked because everywhere I looked was over priced. Because God works, I didn’t have to search any further. My wonderful friend Alissa who went to school for massage therapy came to my house early morning to hook it up. How amazing is that? She even brought her table, LOL. Before heading out my brother, Jamaal, brought me roses, balloons and a card with a little cash in it :). At this point I’m asking myself, “Can this day get any better?”.

YES! It got 10x better once I arrived at Solange’s Saint Heron Soul Cleansing event. I don’t have to say it, we all know, I love Solange. To finally be able to attend one of her gatherings is… life. (So dramatic, bare with me.) It felt like a family function, but once again your girl is riding solo. Did I mention this is all taking place at a church?! While I was sitting on the bench people watching I thought, hmm, this is a beautiful sight to see. All this color standing in front of me. We don’t have events that celebrate us often, being around that type of environment inspires you to get out and get to know your people. Getting to know your people also means getting to know yourself.

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The last day of celebration falls on a Monday night at Library Bar. Where my friends and family came together to close out my birthday festivities. Everything about that night was perfect even though I nitpicked about every detail of that evening. I wasn’t disappointed at all because the people that actually give a damn came through in a real way. Myra and Earry surprised me with silver mylar balloons that spelled out my name. Ten minutes after that I was given flowers AND a cake. At that point my heart reached its capacity. I was overwhelmed with a joyful feeling of love and appreciation. I started to cry. Because for the first time I didn’t feel like I was forgotten, I felt a sense of belonging.

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To my nine year old self: you are special, you are valued, you are loved. I am no longer waiting around for others to notice me or take initiative. I am simply making it happen with the ones I want it to happen with. Most importantly I have learned that the company I keep is a reflection of who I am. They are reminders of the things I wasn’t told years ago. I didn’t know my worth at nine years old, but I am learning now.