I recently had a birthday. I'm usually pretty good about doing the annual birthday-round-up blog post, but this year I am proud to say that I was actually more occupied with celebrating my day than writing about it.
It wasn't a big birthday. Not one that ended with a five or a zero. There were no decorations, pre-packaged birthday kits or cards commemorating the number. The actual day was relatively quiet and lovely - day at the spa, dinner with the hubs at a local restaurant. I did get to wear a fancy one-shouldered white dress that I hardly ever get the chance to bust out of the closet (there were no children in sight, and the temperature hovered above the 100 degree mark well into the evening). The celebration continued through the weekend with the 40th birthday celebration of a dear friend and dinner/dancing the following Saturday (it's hard to line up babysitters, so we spread out the celebration - practical matters in the life of a BadAssMama).
This weekend, we followed our now annual tradition of spending a night away at a swanky hotel in the city, re-claiming a window of our pre-children selves. Taking the time to focus on the two that were before there were four. We wore grown-up clothes and had dinner at a fancy restaurant. We got 10 glorious hours of sleep. We ate a leisurely breakfast overlooking Central Park, reading the Sunday New York Times from cover-to-cover. We got massages and enjoyed an incredible chocolate mousse cake - a surprise anniversary gift, compliments of the hotel (actually, given swanky New York hotel prices, it should have been the size of our actual wedding cake...).
It was an incredible weekend to cap off an incredible year. A life-changing, earth-shattering, nearly-soul-crushing, I-can't-believe-this-shit-actually-happened kind of year. The past 12 months have been without a doubt the most trying of my entire life. And while I am not quite ready to share the details, I am proud to say that I have emerged from a place of hopelessness to one of boundless possibilities. Through the love of my husband, support of my family and friends, the help of an incredible therapist and the God-send of SSRIs (that's awesome anti-depressants in laymen's terms), I am beginning a brilliant new chapter in my life.
It's funny. The ultimate breakthrough actually came during my awesome anniversary massage this afternoon. Rather than the standard swedish treatment (yeah, like I get these things SO often that I actually have a standard...), we opted for the shiatsu massage. We answered a somewhat odd-ball questionnaire about things like trouble sleeping, constipation (great, more poop talk) and allergies which somehow helped the massage therapist to shape a custom massage to free our energy (or something like that). While I sound predictably sarcastic in my description, I have to tell you that the results of my "analysis" were incredible. Apparently, my answers lead the massage therapist to believe that I have a blockage in chakras related to the lungs and large intestine (all roads lead to poop). He explained that unlike Western medicine, where we refer to the physical organs, Eastern philosophy refers to the energy held within these organs. I displayed an imbalance in the element of metal - which represents the action of letting go. Letting go of old ideas, beliefs and attachments - leaving room for new space to grow and evolve. It also has to do with the process of grief.
This description stopped me in my tracks. He described the exact process I felt my self going through over the past few months. Most interesting, actually, was the fact that my answers were split between the "release" and "flourish" elements. This resonated strongly with me, since over the past few weeks in particular I've felt on the verge of a breakthrough, but undersatnding that I still had some healing to do to get there.
The massage was different than any that I'd ever experienced. Rather than falling asleep instantaneously, I was strangely alert. I asked him what it meant when I would feel tightness or sensation in a particular area of my body. He might have been making all of this crap up, but each answer related to something I had experienced in the past year. During massage (and in my life in general), I tend to push back when I feel discomfort. In my head, I'm protecting myself by not allowing the technician to push too hard on a sensitive area. Invariably, however, the action of pushing back results in further injury to the area in question. So, for the first time rather than fighting against discomfort during the massage, I gave in to it. By the end of the session, I was more relaxed and pain-free than I'd ever felt.
At some point during the session, a thought entered my mind like a lightning bolt. I AM ENOUGH. Right now, just as I am. Not 5 pounds from now, or after the next promotion. Not when I become more patient or spend more time with my kids. I am enough just as I am, right now.
And for the first time in my life, I actually believed it.
I know that this post is a bit more touchy-feely-nutty-granola than most, but I have been through one hell of a year. With the passing of another birthday and wedding anniversary, I am declaring this to be the year of The BadAssMama. I am ready to claim my power and own my light. I have been through the storm and lived to tell the tale. Through all of this, I have learned that there is an incredible power in knowing who you are, owning your story - any being ok with it.
For the first time in my life, I am.