birthday

Toddlers are so cute. Especially virtual ones.

My blog is 3 years old!!!!!!!

This blog means so much to me. It changed my life, proving to me that I have a voice. It is my baby, my virtual darling.

To celebrate, I spent way too much time re-reading my posts (#modest), reminiscing about the good times and bad. Behold, my favorite 10 posts: a motley crew of smiles and feels from the past 3 years.

  1. That time I had a real boxing fight
  2. Microsoft Paint is required for this story
  3. It’s like a Kinder surprise, but without the Kinder
  4. Mr. T has nothing on this guy
  5. My street cred: that time my bedroom radiator decided to take me down
  6. Clair de lune
  7. That time Vanilla tried to be sexy
  8. The Dynamo trip: bow ties and feelings
  9. All I’ve done is eat, chat and watch ppl smoke shisha
  10. My facial expressions are not correlated to my happiness levels

Thank you to everyone who takes time out of their busy days to read my words.

Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for caring.

Thank you.

And thank your mama too.

 

I’m a creature of habit

This time last year, I was getting ready for a hybrid work-pleasure trip to France for my 3rd 30th bday. Today, I’m sitting at my desk, watching my inbox fill-up with reminders of my impending trip to France that begins tomorrow.

  • 4 days in Toulouse (pleasure – sight-seeing à la touriste)
  • 4 days in Paris (work)
  • 2.5 days in Nîmes (pleasure – a mini dance festival)

I’m really digging work’s habit of sending me to France around my bday. This is a habit I am embracing wholeheartedly – may it continue for as long as I turn 30.

Like last year, I intend on cramming all of my clothes into 2 carry-on bags, to facilitate flopping about cities. Like every trip ever, my plane is leaving in 24 hours and I haven’t started packing. I haven’t even done laundry. I’ve no idea what to bring, the weather, anything. Will I rush home after work, and get cracking? Nah. Dance class, y’all. No way I am skipping my weekly 4-5 hour dose of kizomba. #priorities Will I have an exhausted meltdown tonight, as I try finish packing at 1 or 2am? You know it. #thepoweroftradition

Still…

I’m hyper. What else is new?

C’est mon anniversaire, du coup!

So I was going to write this really long post about how this year, I’m filled with gratitude and joy on my birthday, instead of my usual dread/shame, or mere happiness. And that is true. I am. I don’t understand why I’m surrounded by so many good people, from acquaintances to blogging-friends to coworkers to close friends to family: my life is filled with funny, generous, smart individuals from all walks of life. No idea why these losers have had such a lapse in judgment as to like me, but hey! Nobody is perfect and it makes me SO happy. Toe-tappingly, goofy-grinningly happy.

OR that might be caused by all the champagne I drank today. Not sure.

Instead, let me brag about my amazing birthday so far.

Like Winnie-the-Pooh wisely advises , it is necessary to have a “little sometin'” to tide you over till supper


As I was walking down the street, happily enjoying my macarons snack, a French dude called out to me, “But watch out! You’ll get fat if you eat too many of those!”

Watch me, bro.

I then proceeded to have one of the most posh suppers ever:

Bougiest supper ever: kir royale, foie gras, boeuf tartare, biscuit rosé, strawberry gazpacho

Observe the happy tipsy bday smile #stillclassy


But was that enough? No! I wanted a 2nd dessert. I wandered about Reims at 11pm searching for the perfect sweet bite.

Macarons? Mille-feuille? Crème brûlée? Profiteroles? Any other French delicacy?

Nope. 

I had a Burger King chocolate sunday and it was AWESOME. #zeFrenchgaspedinhorreur

Tomorrow, imma finish the celebrations by going to a champagne winery (Taittinger), and doing an intense dégustation, bien sûr! I considered squeezing in two champagne tours, because I am not ashamed of being a lush on my 3rd 30th bday, but then I realized I’d miss out on seeing a famous palace, and I love indulging my princess side. So instead I’ll start off the day with a café crème and a fresh warm croissant, sitting on a cobblestone terrace.

Gratitude and joy are easier in France.

#socheesyyetsoblessed

#happy

#mypeepsaregoodpeople

#champagneismybae

#seriouslythoidontgetwhyihavesomanyawesomefriends #theyarethebest

Putting the ‘happy’ back into happy birthday

It’s my 31st birthday tomorrow (Saturday). I’ve started the celebrations early by bringing donuts and timbits to work, so that everyone knows it’s my bday and gives me hugs and attention. (The only child that I am was raised a princess, and will always remain a princess!)

While I’ve always enjoyed being the center of attention, the past few birthdays have been very bittersweet, starting with my 25th birthday. Every birthday felt like a day of reckoning, where I realized just how far I was from achieving my dreams. With every additional year of reckoning, I felt increasingly stuck by how unsatisfactory my life had become. Sure – I had moments of happiness, but the weeks leading up to each birthday were filled with shame and regrets, as I accumulated years without any significant life events to validate that I was living life to the fullest.

The year I turned 28, I handled my frenzied shame by partying with friends. I was in the midst of a then-undiagnosed depressive episode. I’d blown out my knee one month earlier, and had spent the preceding weeks in pain, crutches and a cane, with intensive physio. I felt like a fat, unattractive cripple. My birthday that year fell on a workday – I was working late at the office, and didn’t do anything other than take a 5 minute call from my mother. She wanted to make plans to celebrate that weekend, but I chose instead to have a celebration with my friends, and skipped seeing my parents entirely that week. I promised we’d have a nice day together the following weekend (approximately 10 days later). I felt a pang of guilt when she apologized for not making the trek from the suburbs to my place downtown, because her health issues made that too difficult for her, but I successfully ignored my conscience, choosing convenience and friends over my family. She died in her sleep the night before our delayed family celebration together. I found out later that one of the last things she ever did was go shopping for my birthday present with my father.

Needless to say, the guilt from my choices that year has followed me every birthday since. There is no way I’d rather spend my birthday today than with her. Coupled with accumulated feeling of life stagnation each year, the birthdays since my mother’s death have been uncomfortable events, although I’ve managed to squeeze in some good moments with friends and family.

This year feels different. Building on my recent realization that despite my aloneness, I am not isolated, I do not feel shame and regret leading up to this birthday. I feel hope and gratitude. I also feel pride that I have weathered the difficult past 5 years, and acceptance that although things are good now, the Universe is guaranteed to throw a few more rough(er) patches my way. Depression sucks, guys, it really sucks joy out of life: I look back at the past 5 years as a wasteland of misery. But it also makes me count my blessings, for now that I am not in the throes of a depressive episode, I can appreciate just how wonderful and full my life truly is. My lack of significant life events seems irrelevant now: I survived depression – that is my significant event. I’m still here, and I am happy.

Happy birthday to me. And happy un-birthdays to all y’all. God bless.