On Day 227, I Turn 50 Years Old

I wrote this in 2018

My therapist told me that I may just have to endure my birthday each year, that I may not ever find the peace and comfort I’d like to have. It is too deeply connected to my own experiences of chronic trauma. It is not just depression or anxiety. It is tied to these fundamental developmental moments in my life.

And  this is 2017

Ledcat has said that it is as if nothing could ever possibly touch the core of my unhappiness around my birthday. And it makes sense only when I realize that I was separated from my parents on my first birthday. My pregnant mother was hospitalized for her mental health for months and my father was unable to care for me, so I was sent to live with family members whom I later learned were not safe people.

Having done some trauma processing around my early life experiences, I’m still no more inclined to feel good about my birthday. I am more aware of why I feel this unrelenting grief, but no further along in reducing it.

Each year is cyclical. I make some plans, big or small. Then I panic because I realize those plans will never be enough and I cancel them. After beating myself up horrifically for having the audacity to want a nice birthday. Obviously, there is something deep there, something my therapist and I are going to explore starting next week. We had both hoped that holding off would allow me to enjoy the simple things I had planned for this year.

Unfortunately, the grief and trauma were too much and I went crashing down into a dark depressive space this week, canceling all of my plans and desperate for this day to be over. I was going to burn some items ritualistically in our fire pit, but I see now that I’m simply appropriating that tool and lulling myself into a sense of complacency around finding peaceful rituals. I even used the word magic. I thought I had a few experiences and realize it was just wishful thinking. I’d like to appreciate those things, but I do not think I deserve them.

I set up fundraisers every year and this year, chose my blog’s Steel City Snowflakes as the beneficiary because I’ve ignored it a lot this year for other projects. I knew I was forcing things because the best I could come up with was “find 50 new snowflake donors” and that quickly got screwed up by people thinking it was the attempt to raise $50 or to get 50 donations even if multiples from the same person and I’m telling people “no, this isn’t right” and feeling like a big jerk. I appreciate that people donated, but failing to execute a smart fundraiser is incredibly disappointing. I screwed it up at conception and have only myself to fault.

I realize this is all overreacting. But at the same time, I know that the part of me that keeps reaching up to touch the sun is the only hope I have. Getting burned repeatedly is just a price I have to pay, a purgatory of sorts, for the sins of my ancestors.

The day is half over. Time to go back to normal life.


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