I've posted about grace before, but it was more of the "here look at this fun graphic that someone else made" kind of post. It's one of those words/qualities that we don't know how to define until we see it in action. Sadly, I think the dictionary strikes out on the word "grace." The word is just trying to do too much work and be too many things.
When I think of the word "grace" or "gracious" I envision a person who doesn't show that the weight of the world is on her shoulders, doesn't show judgment, is thoughtful and sincere, and is naturally at ease in any given situation. In other words, this imaginary person is the antithesis of me.
Okay, that's harsh. There are times when I am those things, but it's
not my natural state. I show my emotions, I am a bit judgey at times, I
am completely oblivious at others, and I am often uncomfortable.
I realize now that the term I was describing wasn't grace, it was equanimity: a balanced internal state. I found this as much a philosophical puzzle (we're not Weebles. we wobble) as well as a bit of a comfort when combined with Emily Ley's quote -- about not expecting perfection all the time, but being gentle with yourself when trying to live your life.
Newtonian physics kinda backed me up on this -- the world is full of opposing forces on us -- but all-in-all, things would average out if you allowed time to work its magic. But for some things, you have to be a willful participant. If you want to have friends, you not only have to be a friend to them, but you have to let people take care of and love you.
Four paragraphs to get to the meat and potatoes of what I wanted to write about. You still with me? So yeah, the vortex of suckitude struck again. Bad things tend to happen on/around my birthday. I've been dumped on my birthday (21st!), had my leg in a cast on my birthday(15 or 16?), have had my birthday forgotten (17), had a friend die 2 days after my birthday (24th), and a blooper reel of other mishaps and faux pas, as well as heartbreaks. This year was having someone who I thought was a friend completely cut me out of his life.
So starting this past Friday (August 2) I have been in the most foul of moods. People would ask me if I was doing something for my birthday and I would grumble and bah humbug an answer. Instead of reaching out and letting friends help me through this, I shut them out. I felt my anger, frustration, and abandonment viscerally. There were times that I would shake because I was so seething mad. And forget having any sort of appetite. I spent the weekend in bed crying as well as throwing up.
My ah hah! moment (this happened at 11 pm today) was realizing that the birthday curse wasn't just bad things happening on my birthday (bad things happen every day), but my lack of equanimity: I let that one bad thing send me into a tailspin. I let one person's suckiness overshadow everyone else's awesomeness.
But despite all that....some of you crafty little buggers found a way to see past the Ms. PoopyPants façade and show me some love (which is appreciated, no matter how much I grumble). My dad drove down from NYC yesterday to surprise me for lunch (which while I love him for the gesture, was unfortunate because I had a lunchtime appointment and was very busy at work). My boss not only gave me a sweet and schmoopy card, but also shark cupcakes!! All the texts, emails, voicemails, calls, cards from far off places, carrier pigeons..... seriously guys... truly touched and reminded that I'm loved. Sometimes I forget. And I'm not trying to fish for more, but I am serious.... there's still a part of me that is the girl worried that no one is going to come to her birthday party (cause usually kids were on vacation or at camp on my birthday).
So my goal for next year (I'll be 33) is to be cheerful and happy that there's one day where I can have all my friends in one room (it'll have to be a very big room), and I get to tell all of them (and you) that I love them for never giving up on me, for always showing up, and knowing that I love cake.
This birthday ends with a toaster oven pizza (that Spike tried to eat), some watermelon, writing a blog entry in my bra and boy shorts, and vowing that next year will be different.