Yesterday was my 45th birthday. I started the day with a morning run. It seemed symbolic to try to run 4.5 miles in honor of my age, but mostly I ran because I knew I wanted to eat birthday cake. Pretty basic.
The run was harder than usual, but once done I felt pleased. Richard took me to get flowers, we picked up my birthday cake, and then ordered my pizza. I didn’t want to take all five boys to a restaurant, so we ate at home around our kitchen table. It was nice because once they were done, they could be excused and I didn’t feel rushed. It was delicious, the food and the company. I love when every single chair at the table is occupied, laughter fills the room, and we talk and share about our lives. It’s Thanksgiving every time our brood sits down for dinner and I cherish it.
I spent the afternoon watching Pulp Fiction with my older boys. It was raining and gray outside, the perfect weather for sitting on the couch and getting lost in a movie. Ellis’ girlfriend was sweetly adamant that I should choose the movie, but I was so incredibly thrilled to have both boys wanting to hang out with me and I’d never seen the movie before, so I was happy to let them choose. No, it wouldn’t have been my first choice. But I will choose my boys just about every single time if given the chance.
Pajamas were donned by 6 pm and I ate my cake in bed as we watched the final episodes of Mad Men.
The day was blissfully easy and low key. And I loved it.
You see, it’s hard for me to fully embrace my own birthday. I find it awkward and uncomfortable to have that much attention turned my way. I love it, but I don’t know how to gracefully accept it and handle it. I want to be loved and acknowledged, but once all eyes are on me, I squirm and worry and deflect and feel guilty. Somewhere, deep down, I just don’t feel worthy of so much.
I am a lucky girl because I am married to a man who is patient with my insecurities and is helping me learn how to accept unconditional love. Not feeling worthy, I am learning, is exhausting and selfish in many ways. When people in my life go to extra trouble for me, I should accept it with open arms and an open heart as a genuine act of thanks for everything they have done. It’s hard, but I am learning.
Some say that the hardest three words to say are “I love you.” I have never had any problem telling people that. My hardest three words are “I am worthy.”
I AM worthy.
I am WORTHY.
I am worth the extra love, the deep dish pizza, the flowers, the gourmet cake, the words of encouragement, the indulgence of pajamas in bed before darkness. Did I just say that out loud? It’s incredibly hard to even type those things!
At 45, I am just beginning to figure this stuff out. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll eventually get it, but as I work on myself I also plan to teach my children this lesson. If I could help them learn how worthy and amazing they are now, it just might help them avoid some of the troubles I’ve experienced in life because of my insecurities.
You know, as I think about it, I actually believe my hardest three words ARE indeed, “I love you.” It seems I can say them to almost anyone but myself. I love you is just a more beautifully all encompassing way of saying I am worthy. If I could find a way to truly, honestly, and unashamedly love who I am, I would be open to compliments and gifts and eyes on me and birthday cakes blazing with candles I get to blow out. Loving myself would allow me to live without guilt or worry of bothering someone, taking up too much of someone else’s time, regret about things I said or did or didn’t do, accepting help when it is offered. It would open up so much for me to offer and extend to the world. Instead of constantly focusing on my own shortcomings, being at peace with who I am would free me to share with others and have so much more to give.
I don’t know how much love is enough to fill me up, how hard I will have to work to let go of my self loathing and self doubt, but this new year is a new chance to look myself in the eyes each morning and vow to give it my best shot. I’ve been selfish in my life of insecurities for too long.
I am surrounded by amazing people who give me their best every single day. If they can, surely I can too.