It started in 2020.
It never used to be this way. I used to do it big. Throw parties, have dinner, eat cake. But like most everyone in the world, the pandemic kicked off a new time of loneliness. There was a wave of isolation that never quite settled itself back down again.
So rather than stay in Hawaii for my birthday, I left. I ran away.
Away from being all on my own on my special day. Because all the friendships were gone and broken and there was no one to celebrate with. Away from the place that was constantly reminding me how much I did not have. No Sabrina. No Mikey. No friends. No family. Away from that deep dark feeling that kept creeping up in my heart and telling me that I was not worth being loved. Because if no one wanted to celebrate me, then maybe it meant no one loved me too.
This is why for the past couple years, I leave Hawaii on my birthday.
I try my very best to leave the place I call home, because on the day that means the absolute most to me, I could not feel more alone.
So as the date drew closer and closer, I was itching to get away.
It was as if by leaving I could beat the pain at its own game. I could avoid the hurt on the day it struck the hardest and cover it up with something else- something fun, something exciting. Something that other people would see and think I was having the time of my life, when really, I was just trying to keep my life together.
Last year it was Disneyland. It was fun being given a special birthday pin and having everyone nearby greet me happy birthday. But I would have traded that in a heartbeat for just a select handful to greet me. Just a few of the people that mattered most to remember me and make it feel like I meant something to them too.
This year it had to be bigger. It had to be more elaborate because the hurt it was masking was even grander. The little grape sized ball of loneliness that started in 2020 had tumbled its way into a full-blown planet weighing heavy on my shoulders and on my mind and on my heart. So, it was Paris.
It was the dreamiest place I could pick. A real-life fairytale.
Because maybe if I stepped into a dream, then I could forget the reality of what everything around me looked like. I could forget about living and doing life alone. I could forget about the collection of broken friendships I’ve been hoarding. I could leave it all behind for just awhile- long enough for me to celebrate and love the day that’s just about me.
And honestly, it worked.
Landing in Paris on my birthday. Drinking Angelina’s hot chocolate. Parading around the Louvre in my new dress. Watching the Eiffel Tower glitter. It was all a pinch me moment, and I really did love it.
But now I’m home and I’m jetlagged waking up at 2 AM and I’m trying to decompress it all. Trying to allow all of the feelings that were pushed aside and snoozed during vacation to be fully felt and fully acknowledged.
I realize now what I did. I recognize that I went as far away from the feelings as I physically could. I literally flew across the world. And I don’t want to do it again next year. I don’t want to feel like my life is something that needs to be run away from.
So that’s my 28th wish to myself. I hope that this year cultivates a life worth running to.