blowing shit up
Happy 4th, friends.
I’m not really doing a whole lot today. I worked yesterday and will be back at it again tomorrow, so I wasn’t really in the mood for it. Well, that and there’s this whole country hijacked by horrible humans thing happening at the moment.
I love my country. I do. I wouldn’t be where I am without having been born here. I am grateful for the journey my Papa took to get here, to become a citizen, to work, and thrive here. I am grateful for the rights and the blessings of being an American. But I am also keenly aware of our underbelly. So, it’s hard–at times–to be proud to be an American–especially when you see who we are in the world at the moment. It’s hard not to be ashamed.
But, today, I’m embracing the hope our country has always embodied and the idea that–even in the darkness–there is light.
I was born exactly five weeks from the 4th of July, so for me, the holiday is sort of the kick off of a moody period of every year: Birthday Anticipation.
I used to love the endless summers in Denver. The dry heat. Days at the pool and park. Big slabs of watermelon in my backyard. Sundresses. It was as close to carefree as my childhood got. And 4th of July was always special. We always BBQ’d. Or, well, I did and Mama tended the briquettes. I miss the smell of our neighborhood back then–thick with smoke from grills and street-level fireworks. I miss watching it with Mama in the dark, from our porch. The smell of wet grass and nighttime in the Mile High.
I used to love my birthday. I’m not sure why since it always ended up being this huge build-up that would end in my crying–every year. But I did. Mama went out of her way to make sure I had cake and ice cream and salad and pizza–all my favorite things. These elaborate, beautiful cakes and parties. Until, one year, when I was in my teens–I just didn’t want that. So began the tradition of Mama and I celebrating together with no one else. Me her and all my favorite foods plus movies and books. No scraped knees. No mean comments. The same damn cake every year. (Chocolate, whipped cream vanilla icing, and roses of my favorite colors at the time–generally purple, blue, and pink…sometimes yellow).
Since her death, my birthday has been hard. I sort of dread it even as I want to celebrate for an entire month. I am often forgotten, and that sucks–usually because I am low key about it. Or because I opt out of it. I’ve been known to deactivate Twitter and FB on those days–for a week even–just to avoid the onslaught of whatever. For all the wishes I get, I always seem to focus on who forgot me more. I’ve also been known to leave town–go on solo trips to favorite places…which–in recent years–proved disappointing and even heartbreaking.
I suspect this year is probably going to be harder–which makes me cringe a little. Moving to the Bay Area has made everything harder, but the grief shit even more so because I am so far away from all that used to be my life. I can’t just drive to Never Summer or get a pie at my beloved cherry store anymore. And worse, even going on a roadtrip is a logistical nightmare because my cat is now chronically ill and needs timed injections 2x a day. If I go anywhere, she goes since I’m the only one here who knows how to care for her. And if she goes, I better take the other two cats too.
So, I haven’t done any exploring out here–which was really a huge part of what I wanted to do in moving here. Things didn’t go as planned, with sharing a vehicle with my roommate–so I’m often stuck using ZipCar and ride shares. So, it’s all so much of a hassle that I mostly just don’t bother.
And that’s probably why I’ve not connected more to this place and its people–why I still feel so unwelcome here.
I’m determined to celebrate this year–even if it’s just me cooking for myself–experimenting. Luckily, this year, I have a weekend birthday, so I’m planning on a beach trip–somewhere–with the cats and my camera. Really embracing being alone instead of fighting it–or worrying about who forgot me–because honestly–most probably will and that sucks–but I’m moving on.
The last few weeks have been rough, and I’m working through some stuff at the moment. Getting real clear about what I want, for once, and this new year is a big part of that. So it deserves to be honored appropriately. Crazy to think this will be the last year of my 30s. How did time fly by that fast?