Today I woke up feeling slightly melancholy. Not because of the number of candles on my nonexistent cake but because I realized that I have let me self esteem slip. Today is my birthday. I am 39 years old and proud of it but my mind has been fighting an epic battle rivaling the Spartans 300. The shattered fragments of my self esteem have been battling the barrage of negativity at the mouth of Thermopylae for decades. It’s a battle that cycles, where the underdog changes by the act playing in my life at that moment. I have suffered from the delusion that it’s my personal responsibility to make those around me happy and for them to “like” me. Not for who I really am but for causing minimal drama and disruption in their lives. Now, I know it sounds fucked up and I am not casting blame on anyone else for my battle. The roles of “fire-putter-outer”, “peace-maker” and “be-everything-to-everyone” were place on me by me. The problem with these roles is that who and what I am is, and never will be, enough. My feelings of inadequacy are because one person is inadequate to carry the large sword and shield that these roles require. Nor should it be my personal responsibility to wage battles for other’s happiness. I know cognitively that I am not personally responsible for other people’s happiness but emotionally I feel a deep sense of responsibility to not be a burden and to be everyone’s personal Julie McCoy on their cruise through life. My feelings of inadequacy as a parent, lover, daughter, bread winner, and modern woman do nothing but overshadow the positive things I am in my soul. And so the battle wages on, through another birthday. But this birthday I choose a different battle cry. This birthday I will give myself the gift of love, acceptance and renewed self esteem. This birthday I choose to blow the candle with a full heart and with the confidence in knowing that I am a good lover, daughter, bread winner and modern woman. Not in comparison to others and not because that will make others happy or like me, but because I’m worth it damn it.
So with a deep breath, eyes closed, I blow out the candle, and grant my birthday wish:
“Happy Birthday, Marrie. I love you and you’re fabulous!”