I started out this year's birthday festivities by celebrating the sinking feeling that came at midnight by going to bed and writing down all the things I hate about myself. Of course, one thing on my list is that I am half-empty. There were many other things, like how selfish, lazy, drifting, and distracted I can be. I am too sensitive, get my feelings hurt too easily, care about ridiculous things that I should be able to let go of. This list filled two pages. Writing it all down helped me somehow to fall asleep.
I woke up, came downstairs, made coffee, piddled, logged in to facebook. Ted wished me happy birthday (he's always up way before I am). I saw that I had 43 "new notifications" on facebook. I started crying. Ted sat down on the floor by my chair and put his head in my lap while I cried.
I wasn't crying over being another year older. I was crying because I felt overly-blessed. The self-loathing kicked back into hyper-drive, and I thought, "Who are these people wishing me happy birthday? Don't they know these gross things about myself I so meticulously wrote down last night?"
Lest you think I am clinically depressed: I am now fine. I even managed to have fun today. But I think the mood started the night before, Christmas evening, when my sensitivity to noise kicked into overdrive, and I had to run away, not from my family, but from the noise they have every right to make--especially on a boisterous holiday like Christmas--so that I could take in the quiet of our snowy neighborhood for a half-hour by myself. Lori the Introvert was hoping to recharge the batteries by walking by herself in the snow. Except. I just ended up kicking myself for not being able to take it, for being weak, for being selfish, for not doing more with my life, for letting opportunities fly past me, for so often choosing comfort over charity, for constantly failing at being the person I want to be...
I almost always fail at resolutions. The one I tried to keep last year was to remember people's birthdays. But I didn't. I so admire my friend Stephanie who remembers, not just your birthday, but also your brother's--the one she's never met--and all three of your cats' to boot. For a while, she had a sign hanging in her kitchen saying "Live Your Values." No point in talking about them if you're busy doing them. That's how I feel about resolutions. I'd rather just do them than talk about them.
I'd also rather live my values than talk about them. But I fail so often at living my values. And this is what I was beating myself up about last night and this morning. I was inspired by the many well-wishes from people all over the place who know me a little or a lot, all who took the time to wish me well. What a seemingly little thing to tell someone, "Happy Birthday!" But today, for me, the big collective Wish from those I love inspired me to forgive myself a little bit. This group of people lived my value for me, my failed resolution from last year to remember birthdays. They remembered mine in spite of my failure, failure both to remember theirs and all my other many many many failures in general. It felt kind of redemptive.
Is that crazy? Am I overthinking this? Maybe. But I was inspired today not to focus on all the ways I have failed. I simply want my mantra this year to be, "Lori, Live Your Values."
I know, I know, enough with the introspective crappola. Where are the pictures of Abe opening presents? They're coming.