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  • Writer's pictureNorma Jean Dunning

Happy Birthday to Me

I know I am far from perfect and in reflection of my past, which unfortunately is a daily occurrence, I know I fell short more times than I care to admit. I can say this with absolutely honesty though, I never not cared and I never not tried with my whole being to be a good person.

What I wonder now is why did I lose myself?

Many factors played a part in it. This I know as well. It wasn't one thing. It wasn't one person. It was a cascade of events that drove me into a shell of the person I once was. It didn't all happen at once. It's been years upon years.

How do I know who I am now? How do I even begin to find the woman I'm meant to be?

For a brief second, I thought I saw a glimpse of the girl I was. The girl who spent time with people she cared about. The girl who did her own thing. The girl who would dance around in her room to music at whatever volume because it drowned out the world for a while. But, she, too, slipped away because I can't go backwards. That's not how life works.

I spend so much time seeking validation from other sources than myself. For as long as I can remember, I've never felt enough. Never pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, funny enough. I never felt worthy of anything. So now, another year on this planet, and I'm still seeking out that validation. You'd really think I would have learned by now.

How many likes on the picture? Who posted a comment? Who's checking me out? Who's thinking about me?

Those things don't matter. I still sat home, alone, on my birthday, waiting for someone else to give me permission to celebrate me. I waited for someone to reach out and say "we're celebrating you because your presence on this planet it meaningful". But, the thing is, that message never came. Those words weren't spoken to me because the world doesn't revolve around me.

The people I love and care about have lives of their own. I know this and I hold no one to blame as their world fills with the faces of beautiful babies, and amazing dreams, and, unfortunately, sad events.

My life just feels at a stand still right now. I can't convince myself to unpack boxes because I can't convince myself that I'm home. Or at least home for the time being. I keep looking at the future for my answers and I can't find them because again I'm not the center of the universe. No one is pining over having lost me. No one is waiting for me to make a move to start their life.

Why is it so hard for me to just start living again? Why am I waiting for permission to live? Why do I care what others think of me, when in reality no one thinks of me?

I don't know what I'm waiting for, but I know right now I'm not living. I'm not doing a very good job at surviving at the moment either. But, what I do have, after so long, is a sense of hope. Hope that things will work themselves out. Hope that somehow I'm making a difference in the world. Hope that it won't always be this way. Hope that as I watch everyone else thrive that I will again too.

My world has stopped spinning twice in my life and I know I have a few more events that I'm going to have to endure. But, right now is the time to right the axis and start doing something. Start making myself a life. Start living. That way when my world stops again I'll be able to handle the unknowns again.

Moving forward, I'm going to try my best to start living as unapologetically as I can. I won't be perfect. I'll work through my shortcomings. I'll keep doing my best to be a good person. And that will just have to be enough. Enough for me and enough for everyone I allow into my life.

So, happy birthday to me and here's to another year. Let's make this one a good one.

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