Today is my birthday. I am 33.
This past year has been remarkable, in a very intensely personal way. From the outside looking in, it might appear as though nothing has changed from this time last year. I can tell you that is not the case; despite the fact that much is same, everything is different.
For starters, we’ve lived longer in this house than any other in all of the years I’ve been a mother. The kids and I have been at the same school and place of employment respectively for going on four years. We have created roots here in San Diego, and as much as I fantasize about moving to France, our life is here is splendid and relatively serene. We have made a home, one that is happy and often messy but always full of love. This is more stability than I have ever known, and it is good place to be.
Most of the internal tumult I have wrestled with since the devastating end to my pregnancy with one Roux Huckleberry Baker has been redirected, to a place so familiar and sacred I’d almost forgotten. Dance class, which, if you’re me, is another word for therapy.
I am a dancer as much as I am anything, and I’ve spent every week of the last eleven months reminding myself of this simple fact. It started with hip hop and ballet class through the local community college, and then transitioned to tap and jazz through Balboa Park. Now, I’m a bona fide regular dancing three days a week – ballet, tap, and jazz. Every single bit of me feels lighter and stronger, and I’m not even talking about my body.
When it comes to my body, though, there has been quite a shift in its processes, primarily in the form of the consumption of animal products, including some flesh, most of which had been absent from my diet for close to two decades. This abandoning of long-held belief systems in favor of evolution is perhaps the most tangible evidence of how I have grown: that I’m willing to reconsider everything – even what I had thought to be absolute truth – because if I’ve learned anything in 33 journeys around the sun, it’s that flexibility is crucial.
Fear is the opposite of flexible, it is rigid and relentlessly unforgiving, yet an oddly comfortable place to reside as it asks nothing more than for one to remain immobile. I spent a lot of time being afraid that I would never recover, and it wasn’t until I realized that I wasn’t doing anything except being afraid that I finally found myself standing in first position at the barre. Every day since that first class has been a testament to my own resilience.
As I move into this next year of my life, my wishes are simple: to maintain this momentum I have found, to keep creating memories with the people I love most, to show a little more kindness to myself and to others each day, and to keep on dancing.
Oh, and riding my bike, which I just got as a birthday present!
Thirty three. It sure has a nice ring to it.