I just celebrated my 41st Birthday. To some that may not be a big deal, but to me it is huge. I can’t count on my fingers how many times I felt like I have had close calls. Those near death experiences have probably made me the person I am today. The biggest one was when I got hit by a drunk driver. I was air flighted to a bigger city for medical care. I remember very clearly telling myself that I was going to be more thankful for all my days to come. Life throws us many curve balls and sometimes we don’t like or agree with them. When my mom passed away at 37 I became really angry and questioned a lot of things. I had spent a lot of time in foster homes during my childhood and at one time I didn’t see her for at least 4 years. Once I did finally get to see her and spend time with her, so much had changed for the both of us that we didn’t really talk about the why’s. Once she was gone I felt a lot of hurt and sadness. A few years after her, my Aunt passed. When you are young, you are not prepared for death. It challenges you and your beliefs.
I can’t recall any Birthday parties in my childhood. Not a single one. For many years I truly believed that the accident that I was in was the reason why my body became so odd shaped. I cant even say I am pair shaped. I am just really huge in the butt, thighs and legs. My waist was recently measured at Physical Therapy and it was 40″….. I can live with that. But the rest has to change. I pray that it changes, many birthday wishes were spent wishing for changes. With each birthday that passed I kept making these promises to myself, and as each year passed I felt as if I failed myself yet again. I was caring the weight of the world on my shoulders because I was letting myself down, that is exactly how I felt. We are all born to be our own worse critic. We get so used to trying to be better, skinnier, healthier, prettier … that before we know it, 10 years have passed by. It’s like all those years each birthday was a reminder to me of all that I failed to accomplish once again. Everyone else was focused on their New Years resolutions and I was just focusing making it a year older and hoping that I had met my goals somehow. This could have been because I am terrified to die at a young age. When I hit 38 I had a big Birthday party. That was the year something changed in me. I had celebrated because I had made it to a age that many of my family members had not. I celebrated because I had decided the year before that I was no longer going to pressure myself into making changes. If change came, I would embrace it. I had such a great time that year that mentally I felt good, it made me happy and I was not depressed about getting older or feared it. Finally I was enjoying my birthday for what it was, just that… MY BIRTHDAY!!!
This past weekend me, family and many of my close friends enjoyed a cookout to celebrate my birthday and my friends birthday. For a few days before the cookout my friends let me know that there was a 50% chance of rain and as the day drew closer it was even a greater chance of rain. I was getting bummed out about it because I was looking forward to spending the day with everyone. My fiancee told me not to worry about the rain, he said if it rains… we will just dance in it. I thought to myself how wonderful this man is. Saturday came and even with everything that seemed to be going wrong he just kept smiling and made sure that I was smiling too. We knew we were going to marry each other and we had even picked out a date. A year ago he gave me a promise ring, with the intent that soon enough I would be his wife. That day I prayed that the rain would just hold off. I wanted to enjoy this day as much as I could because for once my legs were being kind to me and my pain was not to bad. Imagine my surprise when just as I had blew out the candles on my cake and made a wish he pulled out the most beautiful ring I have seen and asked me to be his wife in front of all those that I hold close to my heart. I felt like the world stopped rotating for just a few moments as I tried to take it all in. I of course said “YES”!!!! The rain came shortly after and you be certain all I wanted to do was dance in that rain!!!
That moment made me think about things. This man loves me. Even with this diagnosis… he loves me. I can’t tell you the dates I have been on before I met him, the relationships… the guys who said ” well you have a pretty face” … it was a nightmare. When I had finally decided some years back that I would start celebrating my birthdays, I remember making a wish. To me it was such a silly wish to make because at that time I thought it was impossible to wish for True Love! That’s what I wanted. I just wanted to be loved and to be loved unconditionally. I already knew I had Lupus. I already knew there was ” baggage” but certainly someone could come along and be okay with that…. that was the birthday one of my friends gave me a beautiful heart ornament. She told me to pray/ or wish on it daily and leave it hanging by my window till love found me. I was to pray/ wish on each heart daily. She said first I had to love myself… everyday I was to look at the small heart and say ” I love me” … the other heart was for my family/friends and the biggest was for that special someone. I thought it was cute and indeed I hung that heart. It still hangs by my window….covered in dust. I don’t dare move it!
Many days I wished on that birthday gift, some days I forgot. All these years and I am just realizing how important that birthday wish truly was. I bet you wonder what I wished for this birthday just before he proposed to me was? IT was for me to be healthy enough to spend a precious lifetime with him. Honest!! I just want to beat this diagnosis somehow. I can’t accept the fact that there is not much we can do. I need some one to hear me. I need answers so that we can make a change. All of us ladies want to live the best life we can. When we fist get diagnosed we are angry… who wouldn’t be? Many of us had sunk into depression. Some of us hid. Some of us may have missed many years of being happy because we were constantly fighting with ourselves over food, dieting and exercise. I hate all the years that I went undiagnosed. But after the anger comes something else…. LOVE! I truly love myself. I love that I know I am NOT crazy. I Love that I can walk in and tell the doctor that it was a better week. I love when my Physical Therapist tells me that I have made good progress… I love that I can accept this and want to do more. I love that I am in touch with ladies that have the exact same thing I do and that they understand just how I feel and have felt all these years. MY Birthday wish really did come true. I am not sure what the future holds. None of us do. But those of us that deal with this daily know what we want just a little bit more clearer these days.