I don’t know if anyone else thinks I’m as interesting as I do and it shows in the way I tell stories, which is to say constantly and with very dramatic pauses.

That might be a character flaw, but no one in my life has complained about it thus far. I don’t imagine they’d start today – but that’s because today is my birthday. I am twenty-three years old and I find that completely fascinating. Every year, I reflect on what I’ve learned, how I’ve stumbled, where I need to go, and every year I am surprised that I have reached this age.

It’s hard to explain without getting into the nitty and the gritty, the blood and tears and endless dark nights that threatened to over-saturate my personhood, but I never imagined reaching 19 years old. I’ve been shocked at every birthday since.

But this is not a sad story. This is a happy story because it leads to you and I, existing in this digital space, sharing in a positive revelation – I am twenty-three years old today. I have made it around the sun again.

I am pervasive. I, too, am amazed.

So yes, I talk about myself. I write about myself. It is the surest path to understanding and loving myself – which, at present moment, I do, but in the way one might love a painting or museum exhibit. I will only get better in time. Until then, I’d like to share a bit of silliness with you.

If you don’t know me outside of my blog or we rarely speak in the three-dimensional world, you probably don’t understand how much of a loon I am. Yesterday I burnt up the highway in an epic car dance party…by myself…while dressed as a stereotypical secretary. I make faces at babies, even when adults are trying to hold conversations with me. I think it’s important to tell animals how handsome they are, especially when they’re old, and I expect everyone in the vicinity to compliment my cat whenever she’s near. I always believe libraries, pharmacies, and grocery stores are closed on Sundays even though THAT’S ABSURD. When I want to express my love for my friends via pictures and SnapChat, I will inevitably close my eyes – because that’s how cats say I love you. I treat people like children, {hopefully} not in a condescending fashion, but instead like a proud first grade teacher who just wants you to know how wonderful you are.

I am unabashedly proud of the person I’m becoming. I am happy with the love I am able to give and the quality of the people who surround me. I cannot believe that I am here, that I am open, that I am loud and silly and kind. The best compliment I have ever received came from my therapist in college. I had just finished cry/laughing about trauma, as I am wont to do, and my therapist handed me a tissue.

“Wow,” he said. I’m blanking on his name now, but my therapist was so compassionate. He looked like a sweet badger, the kind that children faun over, and I felt safe in his office.

“What?” I wiped the mascara from under my eyes, my fingers coated in its black residue.

“Your experiences could’ve made you hard, they could’ve made you mean, but you took everything in and decided to become soft instead.”

I sat in his overstuffed armchair for a while, mouth open, as I processed his words. Before that moment, I had not realized that I had made any decision at all.

Here’s to another year of softness, of separating the ideas of vulnerability and weakness, of telling stories even when my voice shakes. Here’s to another year of pervasiveness, to growing beyond my wildest dreams, to taking the world piece by piece. Here’s to the people who got me here, to those who did not give up even when I had, to those who challenge me, to those who hear my stories first.

And, of course, here’s to you. Thank you so much for listening.




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