I remember my 26th birthday. Not every detail, but the most important one: I fell in love! It was with someone I should have known and loved all along, but wisdom, I guess?

After finishing my hair, and putting on a cute henley tee shirt (one of the last ones that I’d purchase from VS before they’d go on a hiatus from selling clothing– so trust me when I say it was cute), I snapped a picture.* A selfie, if you will. And because social media and I were on rocky terms, I didn’t upload it. I sent it to an old friend because someone needed to see this.

I wanted to show off myself like never before. I was beautiful and I had fallen in love with myself for the first time ever, I think.

That was my first milestone birthday.

My second milestone birthday was my 33rd.

I had just come out of a mental breakdown. It was hard and I felt so alone. Which is difficult to imagine because I was so rarely alone with my husband and kids around.

My husband, god love him, is/was not good with loud, extreme, and inexplicable emotions from anyone– not even from me.

The morning of 33, I was getting ready for a mini birthday road trip to Chicago, when I realized it. I was carrying too much shit. Too much. I was trying to carry family, packing up middle school friends, layering up on opinions of people who don’t care about me.

I had to unload. So I did.

Little by little over the last year, I unpacked. And as I celebrate my 34th birthday, I continue to unpack. And I continue to grow. And I continue to gain. And I continue to heal.

Happy Birthday to me!

33rd bday with my girl, Kismet!

*If ever I find that picture, I will upload it here.