I wrote this above pictured book in 2nd grade when I was 7 years old. I love that I held onto it and then stuffed into a metal-can-time-capsule after I graduated from high school (though I find it unfortunate that my stick drawing of my cousin Matt was lost to the folds of the book on page 1, sorry Matt!).
I’ve gone through an ever changing process with my own birthdays. I remember being young and having great parties full of friends and presents and excitement (as you can see from the pages above). I remember my 16th birthday, a surprise party that I found out about well ahead of time but made sure to act surprised when the day came. I remember spending one birthday at a Rainbow Gathering and being super disappointed that I had to remind my husband that it was indeed my birthday. I remember going through a phase when I held the opinion that birthdays were just another day. I remember spending one birthday in a depression, that I didn’t know I was in at the time, when my closet friends were called over in an impromptu gathering at my house, that I didn’t know about until they started showing up, and I ran into my darkened room overwhelmed and shaking with tears. I remember another Rainbow Gathering birthday when, inspired by a guy I had seen the day before wearing a sign that said “It’s my Birthday,” I made and wore a similar sign and had the best day, full of countless well wishes called out as I walked around and a collection of great gifts given to me by dozens of folks I didn’t know: cool stones, crystals, chocolates, candy, and flowers.
I used to think that celebrating my birthday was an egotistical thing to do – I struggled with whether or not it should be considered a special day. Now I see my birthday as a time to celebrate the loveliness of life – the immense gratitude I feel for having the privilege of being alive – my community – everything I am so generously afforded – my parents, grandparents, and ancestors – all of the conditions that came together to create my manifestation. It is a special day because life is so amazing and I want to remember.
In 1979, on July 3rd, I was born on a day I imagine to be very similar to today: sunny and warm, bustling with life and blooming flowers. And to my mom and dad, my grandmothers and grandfathers, every family member, friend, and boyfriend, every teacher, every farmer, clothing maker, bank teller, grocery store stocker, and transportation worker, every experience I had and didn’t have, and every song I’ve ever heard: thank you for contributing to who I am in this moment. This day is for all of you.