My Birthday Celebration (Overcoming One Of The Worst Days Of My Life)

Photo by Doug Reynolds

Photo by Doug Reynolds

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Photo by: Tori Ellis

Photo by: Tori Ellis

Slideshow photography by: Sadie Dunaway

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Thank you to Ettore's for gifting the gorgeous cake, and Merebeth for your amazing talent!  All of my family and friends really enjoyed how gorgeous and delicious it was! Thank you to Zocalo for providing the appetizers for my celebration! I enjoyed my favorite appetizer of all time, ceviche!! I am so grateful to both of you for making my party one to remember! Ettore's and Zocalo have a special place in my heart. They are some of my favorite places to eat in Sacramento!! If you're ever in need of delicious Mexican food or an amazing cake and eats, don't hesitate to try Ettore's and Zocalo! My highest recommendations go to them!

 

My Birthday Celebration (Overcoming One Of The Worst Days Of My Life) 

I don't know what it's like for you when your birthday rolls around, friend. I do hope that it is nothing like mine. I'm sharing my story because I know some of you have been hurt in ways that I can't even imagine and to think that my story might help you heal, is the foundation of why I write or create anything at all. God has healed me in ways that I wish on everyone and if you've ever struggled with celebrating who you are, this post is for you. 

Celebration and my birthday did not mix. It was like oil and water trying to live in the same space. Each year after my sixth birthday I knew it in my bones every time October came to an end and I entered emotional turmoil. My innocence was taken once again on my 6th birthday at my brother's wedding. It has marked my life in more ways than I can say. God has healed so much of that part of my life, however, what I'm grieving over in this season is not the act itself but the lack of someone's attention and comfort afterward. My father was an alcoholic and I don't know why I was afraid to tell my mom when I got hurt. So after it happened, I laid crying in the bathroom for goodness knows how long. I believed I didn't have anyone. It was supposed to be a happy day.  I told no one, so I didn't receive any comfort (this, looking back, was probably even more painful than the horrible experience). Every year thereafter, all I remembered about my birthday were the tears that would forever mark my soul. No feelings of excitement during my birthday parties, just a cloud looming as October began. Even when my mind didn't remember, my body knew the date was coming.  It was as if a fog of depression rolled around in perfect clockwork each year. I would pretend to celebrate a day that brought so much pain to my little heart because I thought people would look at me in disgust if they only knew. Every year I waited for someone or something to make me feel good about beginning alive. Yet any attempts failed miserably and I was left feeling lost, sad, and like there would never be a year that I'd like to hear the words "Happy Birthday, Libier." 

As a 34-year-old woman, I still remember and grieve on my birthday each year. My healing has not been linear at all. I wish I could just work really hard at grieving the sexual abuse and then never have to think about it again. But it hasn't worked that way, however, God has been ever so gentle to my spirit.  I've come to realize two things. One: God can heal anything. Two: it takes time and courage to feel my feelings without buffering with something to avoid the pain. It's through that very pain that my freedom has come! It has made me the woman I am today. And at 34, I finally want to celebrate myself as a whole, the good parts and the bad parts! My eyes just welled up with tears thinking of how far I've come. From self-hatred to self-love and acceptance with the help of Jesus! 

This year, my birthday was different. This year, I knew who I was. And I liked who I've become.   My friend Brooke even asked me to send her a text of what I liked for presents. Other times I would have said, "Oh, you don't have to get me anything." Thumbs twirling, (secretly wishing she would figure me out).  This time I really thought of what I really enjoyed and she received a long text of my favorite things in life. What a transformation!  A celebration of the self can often feel like being an ego-maniac but I'll offer you this; You didn't make you. So why shouldn't we celebrate the maker!? Understanding that I didn't make myself led me to this year's breakthrough in my healing. Understanding that when I celebrate myself, I celebrate God's workmanship is a concept that has really helped me to love who I am. Not for pride's sake, but out of reverence to my Heavenly Father!  I was a little girl marked by abuse until I realized, nothing could take away my dignity, that was for me to keep. He hurt me, but he didn't take me. No matter how much I tried before to outwardly feel celebrated I did not succeed until my sole goal was to love and celebrate myself first.

This year I sought out a party. Instead of wishing people would miraculously throw me a surprise birthday party I asked for everything that I knew would bless my little heart to the fullest. I allowed that six-year-old little one ask for what she would've loved to have on her sixth birthday!  I invited women who've uplifted me in hard times and have celebrated with me in great times. I asked Marebeth from Ettore's if she'd make me a cake and asked Zocalo if they'd like to provide the food for the party. This is definitely Libier 2.0. Libier 1.0 would have felt so bad asking to be celebrated even that was a deep desire within. I have learned in 34 years that what I've always wanted from the world has been to be loved, known and accepted. Celebrated. Well, what I've found is that only God can do that. After that, only I can do that for myself. If those two are in place, I don't need any external input to help me feel loved. It's not fair for the people around me for me to need of them in that way because they are human beings who will always be different from day to day. If God loves me and if I love me then, all is well. After that, whatever extra love and acceptance come from people is anoverflow and a joy to receive, without it being a bottomless need in my heart.

My great friend Teresa had a party for her 3-year-old  little girl the weekend before my party. As I watched her delight in opening up her presents with such joy and excitement, I decided that's what I would do at my party. Most times when receiving presents I've felt uncomfortable. This time around I just received all that my amazing friends had for me. I didn't expect, I just received! Oh, what a joyful year this has been. To have found more pieces of me.

May this post encourage your heart. You are in there, friend and you are to be celebrated too! I love you and I thank you for your readership! 

Thank you to all my family and friends that celebrated with me! I appreicate you like no body's bees wax! I love you! Thank you!! 

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