First of all: thank you to everyone for all the birthday wishes and kind messages. I am so lucky to have so many great people in my life, and every time my little inbox light would flash with another one...well...you can't really blame me for getting all verklempt, you know? You guys rule. But in a greater sense, I want to say thank you to all of you for being in my life. Thanks for being that group of loving, crazy, brilliant people who've supported me for so long. Some of you have been here forever, and some of you are brand new in my little orbit, but this goes across the board.
You might be wondering why I'm making such a big damn deal about this and being so Hallmark Special all of a sudden. To be honest, I never thought I'd make it to this point in my life. When I was a kid I couldn't fathom being an adult. I don't mean that in the "I'm never gonna get old!" sense, but the "I don't know how I can make it through things that long" sense. (And before you say it: why yes, I was particularly adept at being a mopey goth when I was little.) As I progressed from a fat, weird, awkward child to a fat, weird, awkward teenager, I honestly figured that life would have tagged me out before I turned 25. When I hit that landmark last year I was convinced that there had been a mistake, some miscalculation somewhere (I was never very good at math anyhow). It wasn't until this last year that I could really appreciate everything that I'd accomplished and survived, until I started believing that I was just being a big fool for ever thinking that I couldn't make it.
A big part of my being able to do that has been my friends. When the bottom fell out for the millionth time, someone was there to talk to me. When I felt like I couldn't keep going, there was always a kind word. There was a smile, there was a hug, there was a word of encouragement and the assurance that I'd always have somewhere safe to go. When I needed it the most, someone loved me. Most of you never knew that when you sent me that funny text message or asked me how I was, I was in the darkest point of my life. Those acts of kindness kept me from falling over that edge and kept me sane enough to heal. It might not have been much, but it was everything to me.
With that in mind, I'm asking a favor for my birthday: go out tomorrow and do one kind thing for someone who looks like they need it. Whatever you do is your choice. I'm not asking for world peace or an end to hunger or a cessation of suffering for all beings, although those things would all be nice too. Instead, consider the idea that your one small act could give someone the strength they need to keep going. There's an awful lot of pain in the world, but that one act of love can sincerely change things for someone the same way that it changed them for me.
Do you all think I'm crazy now? It's okay. I'm fine with that these days. Every morning I wake up and I'm grateful to be alive. 16-year-old me would be totally weirded out.
"You get what anyone gets - you get a lifetime." - Neil Gaiman
I cried all. damn. day.
It also gave us the premise for an equally crucial piece of modern literature.
Thanks, Big Daddy D.