10, 21, 25, 28. My most memorable birthdays. 10th was a pool party at my high school’s public pool. Double Digits. I vividly remember asking my mom if this could be my last birthday. I didn’t want to get any older.
21 for all of the obvious reasons. Sloppy drunk at Ugly Tuna with my dear friend Theresa. She was determined to have me out at the stroke of midnight. Particularly because I was the last of my friends to turn 21-always the baby of the crew. Rolled down a hill in front of my residence hall and passed out. A friend hosted a house party for me too somewhere around that time. That’s when Sophia and I’s RA relationship started. I got broken up with the day after the party, not truly broken up with- we weren’t formally dating. He liked someone else more. Went to Bob Evans that morning- borrowed his Kid Cudi CD, and later that day he said he “just wanted to be friends”. Something of the sort.
I had a mental breakdown and didn’t leave my dorm room for several days.
25th birfday was the last one I remember spending with my grandmother. I went to Steubenville to get my new license and then to her house to hang out. We watched Steve Harvey re-runs…maybe some Gun Smoke? Went to lunch with my mom, dad, and cousin Julian. The waitress spilled hot coffee on my dad. We haven’t gone back there since. They didn’t even comp. us at all…oh steuby.
28. Took my first totally solo trip to the city of my dreams. Rode a bike 9 miles from Pier 41 down pass Crissy Fields all the way around to the west entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge. My eyes welled up with tears and I literally just paused to try bottle the moment. I didn’t want a picture. I wanted to remember with everything in me the extreme sense of accomplishment that comes with packing a single backpack, looking myself in the mirror and saying- I’m doing this. No matter what. I took a picture just in case.
If I die on this trip so be it. Okay, I know that’s a bit extremist; the point being I refuse to sit still any longer waiting for the world to make sense. It’s just not going to. I’ve lived a successful 28 years, and I vividly remember 4 birthdays. Probably a few more if I really sat still long enough (sleepover with 21 girls at my house in middle school where one of my closest friends had peanut butter spread all over folks… She’s severely allergic… 😶 I have the best mom ever.)
4 birthdays. This 28th birthday my momma told me the story of my coming into the world. Everything that was going on around her. I listened on the phone and silently cried. I was her dream come true. A baby girl. Her girl. She would give her life for me to live- she almost did.
I refuse to allow her dream to be a waste. Sept 16th is the day God chose to bring one of her greatest dreams to life. 28 years later I know exactly why He created me. To live, to travel, to share, to experience near death moments and survive in His light to tell the story. To challenge the world built with suffering and fear. To step in faith with Him as my companion. To understand why I’ve never feared death and always struggled with the choice to live. Not to breathe, but to live. To have moments where it doesn’t make sense, cry through it, and move on…at my own pace.
When I die I’m going home. I’ll be with my Aunt Alexis, my Nana, my Mama –all my previous pets and whomever else God takes that way between now and then. I’m not looking forward to it happening any time soon. I hope the plan for me is beyond year 28, but here’s the thing, I’m not afraid of that. I’m afraid of sitting still–breathing and not living.
What an experience. To have your heart flutter with the unknown. To step on to public transportation with a slight tinge of am I absolutely crazy/ will I get shanked today, and how freeing it is to know that I have no control over what happens next. May as well, live.