Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's My Birthday!

50 years ago, on a Thursday, I was born. I was going to sleep in this morning but got up early for my birthday. I didn't know how I felt. I said my thanks and that I was grateful for being here, right now. Grateful for all that I've accomplished, for all that I've yet to do, see, and people to meet.

I got in the shower and cried. I don't know if they were tears of joy or sadness. Joy because I've made it this far? Sadness because... I didn't know. I told myself that I would only think of what I have, not what I don't have. So the sadness of anything negative I would have mentioned turned into one of 'goodbye' to the past 50 years. With all of the hurts, slights, disappointments, lost love, and missed opportunities. It's time to say goodbye. I have to let you go.

I have my memories of extreme happy and frightening times. Memories of loved ones who encouraged me 100%. Ancestors who lived, loved, and died so that I could be here. Today. I will not let them down. Nor will I let myself down.

I have accomplished a lot in 50 years. I have touched many lives, more than I can remember, in positive ways or even with just a smile, a pat on the back, a hug, or words of encouragement. My artwork has graced many homes and publications. Pieces are in shops and galleries and I've even had a one woman show. A first of many more to come. I'm certain of it. I have earned two degrees. A Bachelor of Fine Arts, in art, specializing in watercolor painting. A Master of Arts in theater, specializing in costume design. Yes, there are things I've wanted to do and didn't get to. But one thing I've held on to was that I've always wanted to be involved in movies and have just touched the tip of that iceberg. 100 of my dolls and parts of dolls are the main focus of an independent film in pre-production. I guess that's what holding on to a dream means.

When I was a kid, way before I really knew that there was a real world out there, I never thought I would move away from home. That I would always stay in my birth city. My grandma would take me out west to visit relatives on Ye Olde Greyhound. My first adventures. I have traveled to several other states since then. On my bucket list - see some National Parks. I now live in the south.

Things changed when I got my passport. I am so grateful that my first time out was a wonderful one. New Zealand. If I could have found out how to stay, I would have.  Probably would've worked on those Hobbit movies. I'm going back. Next up, England for some Shakespeare, followed by Canada. Some people may not think of Canada as another country. But it is. And growing up in Michigan, I felt it as a sister country. I could see it across the river. Buildings even. New Brunswick made it to my list. After that, Japan. I'm going back there too. The first place I felt culture shock, for a brief moment.

It was summer time, festival season was in full form. I just love a country that celebrates just about everything. I was in Tokyo, they had closed the main thoroughfare, and there was a sea of light skinned, dark haired people. At that moment, I was the Connecticut Yankee. I was literally the chocolate chip in the rice pudding. With all of those people about it got quiet, the air stilled, and things moved in slow motion. Then this energy wave came and passed through me. A slight breeze touched my face. Maybe angel wings? The sound came back and I was at peace. I was in another homeland. Every place I've been to so far, I've felt that it was home or that I'd been there before. Past lives or accumulated memories?

There are people who will never leave their neighborhood. People who will never have the feeling of wonder, joy, awe, and satisfaction of being a traveler. Smiles are the same all over. I want to see more. I'm so grateful that I've been able to jump a couple of ponds. To see what I can see.

Friends have become family. Being my mom's only child, I grew up with lots of cousins, aunts, and uncles. Many of them are gone now but I continue to get new family. They listen to me, laugh with me, share with me. They have encouraged me and pushed me out of several boxes. They've come in all shapes, sizes, sexes, and colors. Some have touched me briefly. A few have been there since I was a little kid. Some I've only met recently and they assure me they are in it for the long haul. I love you all.

I feel like a Phoenix. I'm ready to take off and fly. I'm ready for the second part of my life. What will the next decade bring? I don't know. But I'm ready to make things happen. Create new things. Travel to new places and not-so-new places. Make more friends. Live, laugh, and love more. Especially love more. Love me more and cut myself some slack. This has been a good life. I'm ready to script the next 50 years. Whether it unfolds that way or not, it's all good. The morning tears were for saying goodbye to the past. Hello to the future.

50 years ago on a Thursday morning I was born.



Maya said...

Happy birthday, dear Wendy Bendy! May this rising (rebirthing?) take you higher and farther than you ever dreamed possible (and I know you have BIG dreams). I am so proud of the steps you've taken, so proud of the boxes you've stepped out of, so proud of how you've faced challenges head on and plowed through. May the next 50 years be absolutely amazing!

Kim said...

Amazing post--I feel very lucky and fortunate to have read your thoughts this morning- and it makes me think about how very lucky I am too. Happy Birthday to an fantastic friend that I am so lucky to have found ♥

Allison said...

Many Happy Returns, Wendy! I hope you have a wonderful day x

Steven W. Dunn said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, lovely lady!!!!
With much love-

Wendy Luane Barber said...

Thanks Maya, Alison, and Steven! I had the most amazing day. Kim, I'm lucky to have found you too. Thanks for the encouragement.

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