Are birthdays supposed to be a happy day? Well today is my birthday and I am feeling a bit melancholy. I am thinking of everything I haven't done this year. No book. No baby. Those are the two things that stick in my chest. There's a rock there right now. A stone that hinders my breathing no matter how much I will it to go away.
Funny thing is, I don't think sadness is always a bad thing. At least for me, sadness can be motivating and inspirational. Some of my best stories were written with tears streaming down my face so fast I couldn't catch them. In fact, I used to cry quite often, deep heaving sobs that acted like a catharsis. It may be a bad omen that I feel like I can't cry anymore. Perhaps, I am wrung dry by it all.
I am going to date myself now. I am forty-four, born in 1971. I grew up in Ontario, California in the era of free range parenting. My childhood wasn't perfect. But, it gave me much story making fodder and I would not change it for the world. I have a twin Jackie who (obviously) also turned forty-four today. I am childless but not loveless. I have much love from friends and family. I am blessed in so many ways. I know this.
I represent the mentally ill and feel a special empathy for them. When I visited the state hospital the other day, it made me realize how glad I was to be able to leave. My husband joked that I better get out quick or they would keep me there. I quipped back that I felt oddly at home there because I grew up with crazy.
My dogs are my kids. I love them so much that it hurts. And it also hurts to admit that I talk to them out loud when we are walking in the mornings. To others, I must seem like the eccentric lady who thinks her dogs can understand what she is saying (I actually believe they do in their own way), but in reality I am just an (almost) middle aged lady whose affection must go somewhere.
This morning, when I walked outside to write this, I looked up into the sky and it was filled with stars and a bright white, gleaming crescent of a moon. It made me hopeful. As if the stars and the moon were put there for me to see this morning. I stared up into the sky for at least a full minute. Searching for something.