Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today was my birthday. I celebrated it over several days with some of my favorite people. There was a party with a Mexican luchador pinata we named Jorge (#RIPJorge), appetizers and the most amazing cupcakes baked by my friend Amy, and more cookies and beer and wine and presents and even more cupcakes than any girl has the right to expect. Then on Monday I went to Fort Worth for a meeting and spent the afternoon and evening with some of my fabulous friends who live there. And if that wasn't enough, I took today off work and got my hair all done up and a massage and ate horribly unhealthy things like leftover bean dip and cupcakes and didn't feel guilty about it at all because that's what 31 year olds do, right?

(Humor me.)

Truth be told, I wasn't really looking forward to this birthday quite the way I did the last one. I've had a series of disappointments over the last couple months and I didn't really want to make a big deal of my birthday, but I was convinced to celebrate and I'm glad for that.

That wasn't the way I planned for this post to begin. In fact, I've been stewing on an entirely different birthday blog post for a week or so, but I just couldn't get it to come together the way I wanted. The gist of it was this: again and again over the last year, life (or, more accurately, people) has shown me that I can't really rely on anyone except myself. People let me down in ways that are seemingly small but that deeply fractured my trust in them, perhaps irreparably. Other people let me get my hopes up only to prove that they never really meant to fulfill them. And still others made promises I should have known better than to expect them to keep. Over and over again, I felt let down by the people around me. It seemed like the lesson of year was that the only person I could rely on was me, and my birthday present to myself was going to be to avoid disappointments by only relying on myself from now on.

There's just one problem with that: it's utter bullshit. Yes, all those disappointments happened. But every time I've been let down by one person, another one has been there. I had a friend offer ("threaten" might actually be a more appropriate word) to fly me halfway across the country to spend the holidays with his family because he didn't want me to be alone. Countless other friends in Austin offered to let me spend the Christmas holiday with them. These people invited me into their homes and their families at a time of year that's supposed to be reserved for those closest to them. They did the opposite of let me down; without being asked and without hesitation, they propped me up when I needed it most. Other times, when I was frustrated or disappointed or depressed, they were there. Some listened, some brought me food, some made me laugh, some forgave me, and some prompted me to throw a birthday party when I really wasn't feeling up to it, but they were all there in the ways I needed them to be. Not once did my real friends let me down this year, and that's the lesson I need to take away from it all.

The people who really mattered were there when it counted, and they probably will continue to be.

So here's my revised birthday present to myself: the knowledge that I am surrounded by a community of supportive, funny, loving friends near and far who are there when I need them. It's just a bonus that they will also watch me drunkenly beat the hell out of a Mexican luchador pinata affectionately nicknamed Jorge and filled with pixy stix, condoms, and single servings of booze, knowing full well that I will leave Jorge's head swinging from the tree in my front yard for at least a week after the festivities are over.

That, right there, is the face of friendship.


fortunecookiejunkie said...


Katherine said...

What she said. And I love you!

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