The First Thirty Years
I turn thirty in 23 days.
I feel like that means I am about a third of the way through this life. Thirty years down, sixty to go.
If I'm being honest, I will admit that the first thirty years have been pretty awful. I survived them and not much more.
I was born into poverty and an entrenched cycle of abuse. I navigated Catholic school as a child born "out-of-wedlock" and with all sets of my grandparents divorced.
I went from awkward, emotional, and shy to awkward, emotional, and outspoken with neither version finding the community that I so desperately craved.
I survived the first thirty years by hardening. Learning to hold in my tears, my pain, my fears, and my love because the world never quite felt solid and people never quite felt safe and my essence was chronically "too much."
I found currency in being a seemingly fearless fighter-- someone who would stage a protest, lead a march, speak truth to power, and never flinch. I had a reputation of being the most feared woman on my college campus, so I'm told.
Thirty years of hardening my heart and diminishing my needs.
Thirty years of letting my Inner Phoenix burn things down, hoping that something more beautiful and loving and solid would grow from the ashes.
Thirty years of crying alone so no one would hear, but secretly hoping someone would.
Thirty years of not feeling pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, enough enough enough enough enough.
Thirty years of letting people in, then getting hurt or scared or used and then slamming the gates closed and retreating behind high walls I'd built around my heart.
Thirty years of trying to be a feeling soul in an unfeeling world.
Thirty years of trying to figure out how to speak my truth without fearing judgment and ostracization and a withholding of the love.
Thirty years of trying to understand abuse and suffering and silence, so that I can finally break the cycle.
Thirty years of longing to find someone who finally sees me, fully, and loves me, wholly. No strings. No fear. No pain. Just love and kindness and authenticity.
Thirty years of surviving.
I've been dreading November 12 and the beginning of the middle thirty years of my life because I just can't do another thirty years of this. But, what I've realized is that the next thirty years do not have to be a repeat of the first thirty.
Despite the chaos and conflict and pain of the first thirty years, I have gratitude for them because they were necessary to help me understand so much about living and loving.
These first thirty years steadily split me open so that I can enter this next chapter raw, clear, and ready to do my soul's work.
I will thrive in the next thirty years.
The next thirty years are about softening and loving.
The next thirty years are about soul-level honesty and personal growth.
The next thirty years are about allowing my fully expressed self to exist, unapologetically in this world because this unfeeling world needs my feelings. And my truth. And my love.