My 39th birthday was September 22, 2017 (exactly 2 months ago) and I wanted to reflect on some things that happened around that time and since then that have changed my life…
Birthdays are usually super happy occasions. After all, it’s like your own personal holiday, right? About a month before my birthday I found out someone that I was seeing for almost 3 years was also seeing someone else…the ENTIRE time we were together. It was a crazy time for me filled with anger, sadness, confusion, and doubt. Who was this person that I had allowed in my life? Why did he do this to me? Was the whole time were together one big lie? It felt terrible because I was living my life truthfully. I really cared for this person and thought the feeling was mutual.
As I processed it all, I began to take stock of my life. I began to ask some important questions. What do I want for my life? How do I get there?
Thankfully I have AMAZING friends and family that came through to help me process my feelings.
As my birthday neared, I started to think about things I wanted to do. One thing I decided to do was go to breakfast. It was a tradition that the guy I was seeing and I had done while we were together. I’d take the day off for my birthday (and for his birthday) and we’d go out to breakfast. I really liked the tradition so I decided to keep it and make it my own. The day before my birthday, I created a Facebook event letting folks know what my plans were. If they could come on by, great! If not, I was still going to enjoy my birthday breakfast. My birthday arrived and I made my way to The Grain Cafe. My beautiful and wise friend Dellis was already there waiting for me! I was so happy!
I was so happy that she came and had breakfast with me. It was good to talk to her over our yummy food. I love and respect her so much! My other friend Adjoa stopped by to say hello and my friend Valerie just missed us, but the love shown that morning was amazing.
Afterwards, I went to The Getty Center. This was a special destination for me because it was a place he and I talked about visiting off and on over the last 2 years, but we never got around to going. My friend Pia helped me to realize that I could “go to the museum by my damn self” so that is exactly what I did!
For those of you not familiar with The Getty Center you have to take a tram up a hill from the parking lot to get to the entrance. I was filled with so much emotion while climbing up the hill. The view was beautiful! I could look down and see the world famous 405 freeway (so glad I wasn’t sitting in traffic!) and I could look up and see the mountains and all the big fancy houses. It was really cool!
As I walked to the entrance after getting off the tram, I started to cry. I cried for a number of reasons. For one, I was still mourning the loss of someone I really cared about (and who I thought cared about me). This was something that we were supposed to do together. Secondly, I had arrived at this place all by myself, which was really important to me. I go to all kinds of places alone, but considering the circumstances, this was a big thing. It reminded me that I am okay by myself and that I can do all kinds of cool things solo.
I got myself together and quietly walked around the grounds, taking pictures of any and everything that caught my eye. I really enjoyed my time there and would love to return soon. Here are some pictures from that day:
The next day, I hung out with my kiddo! She’s 20 years old now, so our relationship has changed. I will always be her mom, but there is now a friendship that has developed over the years. During all of the drama regarding the relationship ending, she really came through for me and provided a lot of support. I am forever grateful for that.
She came to the house on Saturday, walked in the door and said “Where’s the sage. We need to sage the house”. The crazy thing is, I already had picked up some sage and had been meaning to burn it but I just couldn’t get myself to do it. I had decided that I would ask my daughter to help me, but before I could ask, she was already walking in the door talking about “saging” the house, LOL! She took the lead in walking around the house with the burning sage to clear the house of negative energy. We even burned a 6 page letter I had written about my feelings. It felt good to let go and I was glad I was able to do it with her help. I didn’t even have time to get emotional because we were laughing outside while the letter burned and flew in the wind. Afterwards we had a good ol’ time and she helped me get my makeup together for a night out with my friends.
That evening all my friends showed up to take me out drinking! We went to a cool fundraiser for a local nonprofit organization that was literally a collection of a whole bunch of bars in one location. That was super fun! Afterwards we did what everyone does after a night of drinking, we went to Denny’s! They really took care of me during what could have been a super low point and I am so grateful for them.
On Sunday, I hung out with my parents. They took me to my (and now their) favorite restaurant, Mohawk Bend. Ever since I took them on Father’s Day, this has been the place to go. I guess because they know I can eat there too (they are a vegan friendly restaurant). My parents gave me such a wonderful birthday gift: a diamond ring that belonged to my great grandparents. I am still scared to death to wear the darn thing outside! I felt so happy that they thought I was responsible enough to keep it. I guess I’m old enough now, LOL!
Through it all I’ve learned 5 important things:
- Give yourself time. A break up can be devastating, especially if the person was dishonest. I allowed myself to be mad, sad, irritated, etc. If I needed to cry, I let it out. I understood that this was not the time to be “hard” and hold it in. I gave myself time to feel what I was feeling.
- Surround yourself with people that have your back. The first people I told were my 5 best buddies. I sent them an instant message and immediately got the support I needed. I told my daughter right away as well. She was an amazing source of support and often called to check on me.
- Take responsibility. Is he excused for what he did to me? Never! However, someone I met soon after it happened (Natasha McCrea) said something that resonates with me to this day. She was talking about her past relationship experiences and made reference to men that she should have not allowed in her “personal space”. BINGO! There were many signs about the person that I was seeing that I ignored. I had to take responsibility for that. Otherwise, I’d always be looking OUTWARD and assigning blame instead of looking INWARD and doing the work to make sure it didn’t happen again.
- Always be you! As crazy as this might sound, it was kinda cool that all this drama happened so close to my birthday. It was like getting a new start. I was able to take time to think about who I really am and work to get back to that place.
- When you take out the trash, your treasure is sure to come. Y’all. All sorts of CRAZY good stuff starts happening once I let go of the drama. It’s like the universe was like “FINALLY!!!!”. I got a promotion that I had been waiting for for MONTHS! I was elected into a leadership position on a committee I’m on. I applied to two fellowships I was interested in (I didn’t get one of them but the experience was awesome. I’m still waiting to hear about the second one). I made new friends and connections with people who have offered advice and awesome help. It was the most amazing thing! Once I cleared out the mess, all this opportunity opened up for me.
There were also 5 things I didn’t learn, and that’s okay! Sometimes things don’t come to us right away or they’re things we’re better off not knowing:
- I didn’t learn to hate. Sure, some crappy stuff happened to me leading up to my birthday and there was PLENTY… PLENTY to be hateful about. But I didn’t accept hate into my heart (well, not for long at least. Come on now, I’m human!). It’s really hard to heal if you’re focused on hate.
- I didn’t learn all the answers. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to life. I’ll probably never know why things happened the way they did. I also didn’t all of a sudden have the answers to life’s problems come to me in a dream, but I’m okay where I stand today. I got enough information from my reflections and thinking to move forward. That’s an important life lesson. Stuff will happen without any rhyme or reason, but it’s important to move forward, even if you don’t have all the answers or the next steps aren’t clear. Just get enough info to take one or two steps forward and you’ll be okay.
- I didn’t learn how to put on eyelashes (okay, I’m being silly here). But yeah, just gonna have to go through life rocking my own or have someone do it for me. It’s okay. But there is a bigger lesson here. Let people that know what they’re doing help you!
- I didn’t learn how the story ends. I love that though, cause guess what? I get to DICTATE how the story ends. After all, this is MY story! It belongs to me to shape and mold and manage. A friend once said “I am the PhD of me” and I so believe that.
- I DID NOT LEARN TO LOSE HOPE. I’m as hopeful as I’ve ever been, even more so. Can’t go nowhere but up from here! Next year I’ll be 40 years old! These are the best years of my life and I will continue to hope for better days for myself and those that I love.
Have you been through a tough time during an important time in your life? How did you make it through? Share your tips below!