Tuesday, October 23, 2007

And it only took 38 years!

We present this short break in my lifelong series of neuroses to give you this news flash: this morning I realized that a lot of people really dig me. And rightly so.

Here's my horoscope for today, the day before my 38th birthday:

The Sun enters your birth sign today to mark the beginning of your astrological month. It's time for you to review the previous year and think about the upcoming one. You are still moving through a time of great transformation, so the impact of therapy, yoga or other spiritual pursuits is greater now than at other times of the year.
I woke up happy, and my husband and my dog just added to that. I know, blah blah blah, bluebirds routinely fly out of my ass. Then I realized I had maybe 20 seconds to run to the bus, spent 5 of them reading my horoscope, and split.

Now, my bus is not like other buses. It's gorgeous. It winds through my neighborhood, which is all Craftsman homes with leafy deciduous trees turning scarlet and gold and flaming sun orange. The breeze made tiny locust-tree leaves drift like gold snow across the quiet streets.

Cue bluebirds.

I don't know if it was the leaves or the horoscope or the fact that running for the bus had finally shunted some blood to my head, but what I realized - my emotional transformation, if you will - is that I take on a hell of a lot, most of which I have no business taking on. There's a time and a place for emotional baggage, and you know, I think my own personal train has left that station.

I was 25 when I saw a photograph of my favorite cousin standing with a girl who looked like a real sweetheart, like someone you'd immediately be friends with. I hoped they were going out, so that I could meet her.

And then I realized he was standing with me.

It was a photo from a few years back, during an unfortunate perm period. And when I recognized myself, I immediately started ripping me to shreds: I need to lose 20 pounds, I look like an idiot in that picture, my nose looks bizarre, why did I make that face?

It was shocking, how unkind I was prepared to be, how wildly judgmental, now that I knew I was looking at myself. That hurt like a punch to the stomach. How could I not love myself? And if I didn't, who ever would?

I'm not there anymore, thank God. Years of therapy closed that particular pit. But every once in a while, I find myself feeling that way again. The withdrawal of a friend feels a lot like that, actually. Even though her reasons for withdrawing have nothing to do with me, it still affects me. And it affects me like that: unloved.

But last week, five friends got together and started taking photos like crazy, left and right. And you know, I do need to lose 20 pounds - thank you, chocolate babka. I frequently look like an idiot - because it makes them laugh. Sweetest sound ever. And my nose? I've got Dad to thank for that.

Now, back at home, I look at all those photos of that chubby, crazy, imperfect me, and I am thinking, I'm so lucky. I am lucky that I am me. And I am lucky that I have all of you. So thank you, thank you, CherryCon Five.

And now, the night before my 38th birthday, here's a present for you: I hope you have the kind of friends I have.


Blogger Kelly said...

Well, happy birthday, Brooke!!

and thank you for sharing such powerful insight. I hope that light stays with you always. And doesn't blind the bluebirds as they fly out of your ass.

; )

3:36 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Thank you, Kelly! I swear those bluebirds have some kind of uncanny ass radar.

7:30 AM  
Blogger inkgrrl said...

Happiest Pending Birthday!

Something I was asked about that inner voice a long time ago was if I would ever talk to a little kid the way I talk to myself... it was eye-opening to realize how cruel and twisted I am to myself - I think we all do it, and it's a marvelous gift when we finally realize that we can stop. May the next year and every year after bring you everything you want and nothing that you don't.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Eileen said...

I adore you. Although the bluebird thing is a bit disturbing. What happens when you wear pants? Maybe you should stick to skirts just in case.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

E! The feeling is so mutual. And skirts: check.

Kari, you said it!

9:43 AM  

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