This is our last day together. While many friends have fretted lately over leaving you behind, I have felt downright euphoric. Ready for a clean slate, a fresh start. Ready to ditch a decade that frequently felt like an uphill climb.
But the closer I’ve come to this milestone birthday, the clearer I see what a gift you’ve been to me.
Ten years ago, I wasn’t much in the mood for celebrating. We don’t even have any photos of my 30th birthday; I’d all but disappeared by then. I’d dyed my hair brunette, mastered the almost-believable happy face, and let numbness take over. That felt so much better than panic, so much easier than heartache, more respectable than driving off a bridge. So I stayed there, comfortably numb. Sleepwalking into a new decade. I was on the verge of a breakthrough, though, close to realizing I didn’t have to exist like that forever. Undiagnosed postpartum depression and PTSD had deadened me, and I needed to work my way out.
Looking back, that arduous journey and all the soul-stretching challenges that came after were neither bad luck or punishing blows. The hardships and hurdles were like force-fed doses of truth serum. With every new challenge, I would feel the serum trickling down my throat, through my chest and into my belly – twisting through me like a tornado. As it churned, building steam, it would latch on to my untruths – my fears, my masks, my resentments, my pain – and spit them out like they weighed nothing. It would pepper me with questions about who I was without all that debris, and dare me to find light in the eye of the storm. And when I did, the truth would scoop me up and cradle me, blanketing me in purpose and singing lullabies of possibility.
The tornadoes of my 30s didn’t throw me off course; they carried me to my path. Turns out you gave me the best gift a girl could ask for.
With gratitude and awe, Liv