Tuesday, August 14, 2007

If you're going to read the whole thing in one go, you might want to have a snack and a beverage handy

I know it's not January 1, but I'm treating this as a new year for me.

Usually I love my birthday. I throw my own party. I like hosting, partly so nobody has to take me out or treat me, and partly because I love having a reason to invite people from all these random areas of my life and put them together in one place.

But last year, last year I decided I wasn't having any more birthdays. It wasn't age; it was everything, all together. My birthday fell on a Sunday. Saturday night I had a party. And then late night I had a conversation with a guy friend about dating in DC. Going into the particulars is pointless, but it left me with the certainty that I would always be alone. Forever and ever.

The next morning, Sunday, my actual birthday, I woke up crying. And cried the entire day, save the two hours I went walking down on the Mall with a friend.

My two closest friends in DC took matters into their own hands. I clearly was not about to be cheered up. And so they parked me in the back garden of T's house. And pulled out a bottle of wine. And just kept filling my glass. Until they needed a new bottle. And just kept opening bottles as the hot muggy mid-day turned to mildly sweaty afternoon turned to a mid-summer night's eve. Minus Puck and Oberon.

And I just sat there and cried. I recounted the prior night's conversation. We discussed the state of dating in DC. And the ins and outs of my dating life in particular.

I was hoping for a call from B. After five years, could he really forget my birthday? Did he just not love me anymore? And was this proof that nobody else would either?

I sat in a chair in T's lovely back yard and they indulged me the whole day long. I was in a complete and utter pit of despair.

This was when I decided I'd move to Europe and be a lesbian housewife. And then they both insisted I'd be a terrible lesbian.

Prior to that I was just sitting there weeping gently. This made me wail hysterically. "See? One more thing I can't do!" Further proof that I would always be alone.

I'm not suggesting any of this was rational.

But I felt it so deeply in my bones at the time that if I'd had to choose between two facts, one being, oh, let's say the existence of gravity, and the other being that Lisa would die alone, I'd have looked you straight in the eye and chosen the latter. Because gravity? Who really takes that seriously?

They tottered me home somewhere around 11 pm, and I got a happy birthday email from B. Who went on to say that of course he hadn't forgotten my birthday; I'd told him not to contact me. Remember? I sobbed as I read this.

This is where I was a year ago.

And I can't say that the year that passed between August 13, 2006 and yesterday was easy. In fact, a lot of it sucked ass. I had my own personal challenges. Much of this spring was occupied with massive family trauma.

But somehow, in the last couple months, it all started to settle down. Happy, sunshiney flowers started flourishing in my mind again, eradicating the weeds of insecurity and despair that had taken root the prior year.

A month or so ago, one of my best friends, one of the two who spent my entire last birthday with me, very gently broached the birthday topic. She knew I was done with birthdays. But would I like to have a couple drinks with friends?

This, this sounded perfect.

So she organized a cabal, and we went to Proof, which I have said before is my new favorite bar. Some of my closest friends are out of town - summer birthdays are like that. But I still had some of my nearest and dearest. It felt like a lovely low-key catch-up evening. Except that I got a decadent spa gift from Jen. And birthday toasts.

And a random treat! I got to meet one of my readers. Who gave me a lovely book - The Last Song of Dusk - to read on my upcoming trip. We don't actually know each other. She reads LG, and I know a little about her from her comments. I know this sounds silly, but meeting her felt like a present. I can't explain why - it just made me giggly happy. We gave each other a big hug hello as old friends would and I introduced her to my friends and got to meet one of hers.

I was thinking as I went to bed how lucky I feel, and how starkly this stands in contrast to how I felt last year. I have made my way back to the me I like, existing in a space I like.

This is the outlook on the universe that feels good to me - the belief, and more importantly the trust, that random, positive things happen, that strangers come into your life and add to it, that the world is (mostly) a good, kind place. And that life is fraught with possibility and adventure.

So far, it's a sparkly year. I like it.


  1. Ohhh, I pathetically had lunch alone in my cubicle today. What a treat this post was!

    What you described, where you are in life, now THAT is a Happy Birthday!

  2. We all go through those periods of self-doubt, but most of us come out as stronger and more determined people. Sounds like you certainly did!!

  3. hey, happy birthday a day late! mine is actually tomorrow, and i have zero plans, which i'm mostly ok with because we're flying back to MA for some rest and relaxation the day after that. glad you enjoyed your laid-back celebration...and here's to a great new year ahead...

  4. HKW - Thank you! How sweet! And I have lunch in my cube a lot.

    Jordaan - Thank you! :) And that article was hilarious.

    VVK - Hugs back to you!

    G&D - Thank you. I think that's true.

    Kate - Happy birthday! I hope you have a totally lovely, relaxing birthday and great trip to MA.

  5. L,
    I remember talking to you on our b-day last year.Despite all the difficult times, you do seem happy this year.I'm so glad!Keep up the good work!You're one in a million.

  6. You could be a lipstick lesbian housewife.

  7. I've been randomly reading your blog, and I just had to de-lurk because August 13th is MY BIRTHDAY, TOO!

    And last year, I spazzed and yelled at my husband and my sister that I DIDN'T want to make my own DAMN birthday dinner, and then . . . they finished making dinner and this year, my husband warned me NOT to make dinner, and we ate carry-out. It was lovely.

    Glad to see the sparkliness is everywhere!

    Happy belated birthday!

  8. And to think I wasn't invited.

    For shame, woman. For shame.

  9. M - Thank you! Ugh, that was so awful. I'm glad we both had good birthdays this year!

    Dr. MVM - That's the kind of positive reinforcement I like! Thank you!

    Suniverse - Happy birthday! Thank you for de-lurking! And you shouldn't have to make your own dinner on your birthday - so I'm glad you didn't and it was sparkly all around!

    Justin - Ah, the thing is, the only people invited were people I've known for years and years. It was a tiny gathering.

  10. I love this post. So glad you're sparkly and happy this year.

  11. I've been behind on your posts - so first off, the best of birthday wishes to you. But perhaps more importantly - I can FEEL how differently you feel from last year in reading this post and it gave me goosebumps. I'm so glad you're in a good place!!!

  12. Happy Birthday a day late
    Mine is coming up in October and I can only hope I feel "sparkly" (I think I will but who knows what will happen between now and then)
    Best of all my Dad will be here and my sisters are threatening to!
    (Which reminds me I need to start painting and paying a lot of money to home bepot so the girls dont think I live in a shack!)
    May the next year be as sparkly for you

  13. SL - Thank you! Me too!

    MI - Thanks so much. Wow - that's lovely!

    Pidomon - Thank you! I hope you do feel sparkly! It's so nice to have family around for birthdays.

  14. What a great post. So positive. I like you. I hope you'll update from London.


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