Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Worst Birthday Ever

I'm writing a new book, and in it the protagonist is trying to make up for his love interest's "worst birthday ever." I can't go into details, because that would give away some of the plot of the story, and I'm notorious for not discussing my projects. :)
So then a friend of mine from the "real world” (as in, not my pen name/writing world) posted the similarities between women who are pregnant and babies (among them: quickly outgrowing clothes, the need for naps, and the need for food at frequent intervals). I came really close to adding "seemingly irrelevant bouts of crying" to the list.
And that got me thinking about one of the times I had one of those crying bouts while I was pregnant, which led me to another crying bout a week after my daughter was born.
I was overwhelmed, and I was tired, and it was my 24th birthday. I put baby girl in the stroller to go for a walk down the road, because, if I didn't get fresh air, my head was going to explode.
But it was my birthday. I had no plans. There was no party. I felt wretched, anyway. I was sleep-deprived. We were in the worst economy ever (post-9/11 college grads), so my husband was out of work. I wasn't working. We were BEYOND broke.
And I remember walking up the street, pushing that stroller knowing I wouldn’t be celebrating that year. I knew the cards that came in that week had been emptied of their money (thank you, family members with good intentions—you paid our power bill that month). I'm sure my mom called to wish me a happy birthday—she might’ve even stopped by. I'm sure *someone* called me. Maybe my husband did something for me—I don't know. I don’t remember.
All I know is that here I was with a one-week old baby I couldn't afford, and I didn't know what the hell I was doing.
And it was my birthday.
(lol) I don't say this to depress anyone. I know this is a *bummer* of a post (especially coming from me).
What I do want to say is this: I totally get it. I understand. But I also know that whoever coined the phrase is a freaking genius, and "this, too, shall *always* pass." 
It won't be dark forever (even if it feels like it at the time).
I just turned thirty in June. That baby girl is seven now. I don't know how we made it through those early years, but we did. We (as a people) are resilient like that. And even though I was making up rules as I went along, it all worked out (somehow).
I remember that walk so clearly, though, as one of the lowest moments I've ever had—scared, confused, sad. . . . Now, seven years later, I'm trying to channel those feelings for the character I'm writing.
I'm not an idiot—I know this is nothing compared to the tragedies others have faced; I know there is no guarantee that this will always be my "worst birthday ever." I'm not na├»ve like that.
But it'll pass. Whatever it is. And we might not come out of it unscathed, it might change us forever—but it'll pass. We'll figure it out. We'll make it through.
And then we'll live to tell our stories so that others will know they're not alone, either. :)
~Katie~
P.S. I don’t know why I feel compelled to share this, and I almost didn't press "send," but I know that whenever I get a gut feeling like this, it’s because someone out there reading this needs it. Then again, at some point, I think we all need it. 
So here it is. That is all. ;)