Here's to 27!
The night before my birthday, I am trying to cook in the darkness proudly sponsored by Kenya Power when my best friend calls. I ignore their call, in pretence that my hands are ‘tied’, but even my heart knows that I am ignoring this because I am afraid of the conversation that lies on the other side. I am afraid of the truth that is hidden beneath the bags of my eyes; that I am not ready to face my truth, at least not with this person who sees through my lies.
But they call for the second time, and the third, and just when it starts ringing for the fourth time, I angrily pick it up and grunt a tired “Hello”.
And then it starts. This what I have always been afraid of. This what I have been escaping all week long. This what I have trained my heart and soul to ignore. It starts; this conversation about me, and the familiarity of my rawness.
It starts. This what are you doing for your birthday? Are you sure you do not want to do anything? I know money is not a problem. Why are you not doing anything on your birthday? Just say it, I won’t gate-crash.
It starts. This I do not feel like doing anything. My birthday falls on a Thursday, I will be at work. Even if I was to invite people, who would come? No, I do not want to throw a party. Oh, please, do not drag me out of the house. Of course, money has never been a problem.
It starts. This trying to stifle the inner child within me that is always pestering me to come out to play. Me pinching her nose and ears, and reminding her that it is not her place anymore. Me trying to convince her, and myself, that we are undeserving of play. Of goodness, softness, and niceness.
It starts. This convincing myself that I have not ‘achieved’ anything so far this year worth celebrating. This telling myself that there are bigger things in life other than people and parties, when the whole time I am dying to let all this go, forget the madness that is adulting, and wrap my hands around myself in a beautiful embrace.
So when my friend insists on what I am doing for my birthday, I tell them I do not ‘deserve’ anything for my birthday. Why? Because I have been all talk, but no work this year. Because the things I said I’d do this year have just remained that way; things I said.
Then it starts. Them asking why I am too hard on myself. Them asking why I fight so hard to keep the sadness and darkness within me. Why I deny my inner child a chance to showcase herself. Why I keep on setting targets for myself, surpassing them, but still feeling as if that is not enough.
“But I…” I start to say.
“I know. You are turning 27, and you still feel you haven’t done enough. And trust me, there will never be a time, or age you will ever feel like you have ever done enough. Look at me, I am 30, and if I use your yardstick to measure my life, then there is absolutely nothing I have done in this world. Is that what you want?”
“Now tell me, what do you want for your birthday?”
I hang up, and they understand, because my voice has developed cracks because of the tears I am struggling so hard to fight. Because I start to feel an intimate kind of relief and happiness seep through my skin, and fill my body with a beautiful fragrance. Because in that moment, I begin seeing myself through other people’s lenses, and the magic that I am, the magic that I have created so far, dawns on me.
And I know 27 is going to be my best year yet!
So, here is to 27!
Here is to knowing we are struggling too much. We are hiding too much. We are putting on a ‘brave’ face for people who do not give a single shit about who we are, what we stand for, and what irks us.
We are wasting so much money, and time, and opportunities, trying to pretend that we have money, and time, and opportunities. We are wasting so much money, and time, and opportunities, trying to pretend that we do not have money, time, and opportunities. Why? Because we have been conditioned, or conditioned ourselves to believe that we are not the best. That we are too much. That our bodies want too much, and this is absurd.
Because we have glorified suffering too much, that our bodies do not know how to respond to goodness, and softness, and niceness.
Here is to understanding that we are risking the sinking of our own boats, just to gloat. Just so others could look at us, in awe, and wish they could be us. We are risking the sinking of our own boats, busy hiding our success beneath seats. Why? Because we are afraid the world will label us ‘unafraid’, ‘ungovernable’, and ‘proud.’
Here is to knowing that we are hiding our stories in the bags beneath our eyes, and concealing them with loads of brushes and powder. We are hiding our lives behind our knees, and hoping that age doesn’t show up very fast in form of wrinkles, and sadness, and hurt. Why? Because they have convinced us that these things do not belong to us. That no one who looks like us, should be carrying such amounts of brokenness.
Here is to letting our hearts, bodies, and souls understand that this is the only life we got. This is the best we have been, so far. This is the most-gorgeous we have felt so far. These things we are holding on our hands, were once just things we wished we had.
And of course, when tomorrow comes, we shall still show up, and show off! Why? Because no one else does it better that we do.
My 27th has left me fulfilled. And happy. And asking myself who are these people? Why are they sending me money, one after the other? Why is my bookshelf running out of space? Why are they going all out, just for me? What have I done to, and for them?
I rarely go out on dates. I don’t go on random meet ups. I will only meet you if the agenda on the table brings me money, or happiness, or both. So mostly, I am only always going out just with clients, or permanent people in my life, or those who have been here long enough to understand who I really am beneath all this glamour that surrounds me.
And even as I sifted through the hundreds of messages and gifts, the only answer I could come up with was my existence. That I have been here, with these people. I have listened to them. I have told their stories. We have laughed about living this life, and this means we each carry pieces of each other. That they see me in ways I have never done so, myself. That they believe in me, and the magic I try to create every day.
That they KNOW I deserve all these, and so much more!
So, here is to 27:
To knowing and accepting that we are greatness itself!
(In case you would like to read about my 26th, click here)