Ten years ago, on my 25th birthday, I stood in front of my mirror, very naked and very pregnant and burst into tears because huge, purple, itchy stretchmarks were snaking their way up my belly. Well, wait. That is not technically accurate. I burst into tears because the stretch marks were just the cherry on top of the horrible shit sundae I’d made of my life. I was making a baby with a terrible someone who I KNEW was bad news. I worked a shitty job that kept me for 13 or 14 hours a day sometimes. I was PREGNANT (oops) and even though I was in a (horrible) relationship, I was definitely alone. One of my best friends took me out to dinner that night and I ate a pricey hamburger I could not afford, so she covered my tab. I went home, alone and obviously sober, and wondered if that would be my life in 10 years. Would I be miserable and raising a miserable child, miserably? Would I still be broke and at a dead-end job I hated, needing friends to pay for everything? I could hardly muster enthusiasm for creme brulee anymore, how was I going to get stoked for a man I detested and I life I made for myself that fucking sucked?
It took time for me to get my bearings. Years, even. I dealt with some trauma I had in my past, finally. You know, after becoming basically a functioning alcoholic for awhile. Little by little, I put up with less and less bullshit. It was a terrible, painstaking, difficult process. I picked myself apart, and discovered the obvious regarding what was really important, and what I needed from the people in my life. And if a person couldn’t meet those needs, then they could fuck right off. My mantra became, “I don’t hold grudges, you just fucking suck.” (This is still my mantra to this day.) (I may need it cross-stitched on a pillow.) But man, how shitty is it to realize that, yeah, while there have been plenty of pieces of shit in and around your life, it’s because of YOU they keep popping up? (Hint: Very shitty. Like, the most shitty.)
So here I am now. 10 years later. And I’m better. I’m fatter. I’ve got plenty of wrinkles. I’m not sober by any means, but I am compared to how I used to drink. And of course, that relative sobriety has led to my anxieties and insecurities to bubble right up to the surface, like when you burp and you think it’s just gonna be a burp but it’s also a little puke, too. Which is horrible and I never thought I’d be dealing with anxiety of ANY kind, let alone social but HERE I AM! I’m still in a better fucking place than I’ve ever been. My brain is smarter, my heart is smarter, both are more confident. I am more than happy to stand up to someone who is treating me like yesterday’s trash. I don’t need anyone to buy me a fancy hamburger, I buy my own. (Sometimes I let my boyfriend buy me fancy hamburgers SOMETIMES.)
Yeah, 35 is pretty okay. I made it to here. I’m still incredibly impatient. Inefficiency and the sun are my arch-nemeses. I deal with jealousies and inadequacies and insecurities every goddamn day. But now, I’m actually dealing with them instead of drinking about them. I fucking made it. And I don’t find myself crying when I look in the goddamn mirror.