Today is my 39th birthday.
I have honestly always hated my birthday. I know that’s probably abnormal to most people, but that’s just how it’s always been for me.
See, my oldest brother’s birthday is 3 days after mine. Growing up, because we didn’t have a great deal of money, we had to share birthdays. Meaning one cake with 2 names and one party, with 2 sets of friends. The problem is, I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up. So usually it was kinda like me tagging along to his party.
Then there’s the whole rainbow baby thing. I’m not sure the guilt surrounding the death of my older brother being the catalyst for my birth will ever leave me. I know it’s not my fault on a logical level. On a spiritual level, I know the whole “everything happens for a reason.” But every year a melancholy state tends to wash over me because I’m still here, and he is not. Then there’s the whole, the day is “all about me.” I have never felt comfortable being the center of nobody’s attention. If I could be given a superpower, it would totally be invisibility.
But two days ago, the one thing I hate, I had to endure. Two days ago, we had a book launch party for Shadow Resistance. I tried to talk my wife out of it, but she insisted.
What’s crazy is that for someone who tries to avoid people and interaction as much as possible, there were a WHOLE LOT of people there. We had about 100 people there, all to see me. The mix of people was quite insane as well.
Of course I had family there. My mother, step-father, father, step-mother and all my siblings (including local step-siblings) were present. That’s a good 20 people alone. I had a couple of cousins present. But then I suddenly found myself in the middle of a High School reunion. I had people there I’ve known since I was five and who I graduated with. Now, I graduated HS 20 years ago, and I honestly had not seen some of these people in 20 years, but they showed up. It was kind of surreal.
I had people I worked with at my old firm over 10 years ago, and people who I’ve worked with at my current firm who are no longer there and some who just started working with me. The family we befriended on the cruise came all the way from Amarillo, which is SIX HOURS AWAY to be there. They just met me in June! But they were there.
And they were all there for me.
I’m grateful, humbled and a little baffled by all of that. But more than anything, I’m touched.
I don’t know that I will ever love my birthday. I think Shauna loves it enough for the both of us. LOL I’m not sure that I will ever get used to be being the center of attention with my writing. Who knows, maybe my next 3 books will suck, we don’t know yet. LOL But I can say this:
I have had 2 major dreams in my life as a child. I wanted to be a writer, and I wanted to do music. I have achieved both goals. I may not do music any more, but I have. I have an album. It’s a pretty good album, to be honest, it’s just that we kinda stopped before we could get more people to hear it.
Now, I am a published author.
For a long time, I didn’t think I would be alive to see 35. I kinda resigned myself to either killing myself at some point or maybe just smoking/drinking myself into an early grave. (I know that’s dark, but my brain can be a dark place… and this is a safe space.)
I never thought I would be married… But I married the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on. I keep trying to figure out why she loves me so much, but I've decided to stop trying to make sense of it, or it could all fall apart.
I never thought I’d finish a book. But I have, and so far, the reception has been pretty positive.
I never thought I was truly important. But Sunday showed me I’m more important to people than I ever knew.
Maybe I won’t *love* or appreciate my birthday ever. But I will love and appreciate those of you who continue to show me love and support. I will appreciate all of you who want to know me, want to understand me. I will appreciate those of you who love me.
Thank you. Because of you, I’m glad I’m alive.