Happy Birthday, B! (Or 35 Things I need to Know and Remember)

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

Dear Bassey,
  1. Fuck fear, love anyway.
  2. Your heart is neither briar patch nor tumble weed. It is lush, tropical rain forest. Treat it accordingly.
  3. Listen to your head, trust your heart but let your gut break the tie.
  4. Release the myth of martyrdom. Joan of Arc didn’t set herself on fire.
  5. If they demand your silence in exchange for your friendship or love, then they aren’t worth the sound of your voice.
  6. You dream. You act. You plan. You work. You be. You will. I promise.
  7. Elaiwe is your greatest gift to the world. Your gift to him is to build a life that doesn’t revolve around his.
  8. Your failures don’t define you. Your successes won’t sustain you. Never stop growing.
  9. Patience may not be your strongest suit but it has always revealed your greatest rewards.
  10. Remember that everything you are can be found in the space between pinky and thumb. You are fist. You are palm.  You are fan. You are a welcome wave. You are measured goodbye. You are treasured caress. You are steady. You are rock and roll.  You are a necessary part of prayer. You are one. You are peace. You are a bad mother fucker.
  11. You are at your best when you are smiling. Find at least  one reason an hour to be at your best.
  12. Despite what you’ve told yourself or others, it is never too late to steady yourself and start again.
  13. It isn’t about forgiving and/or forgetting, it’s about moving on and getting better.
  14. Make new mistakes.
  15. Edit. The poem. The writing. The conversation. The choice. The decision. The life. Nothing is final. Edit.
  16. You are an empath.  Be careful.
  17.  Remove yourself from those that drain and refuse to replenish.
  18. What scares you most isn’t the action, it’s the reaction. Don’t let it stop you from taking first step.
  19. They will love you no matter what but it is your responsibility to never force them to prove it.
  20. Someone will always find you.
  21. Every morning provides a new opportunity to start again. Take it.
  22.  You can’t sing. Promise to  do it anyway.
  23. You are a blessed thing when you’re laughing and dancing.
  24. Who you were and what you did, good or bad, has nothing to do with who you are and what you will do.
  25. Never apologize for how you choose to take care of yourself.
  26. Pack your favorite shoes. Wear them even if just to sit and stare at the way they love your feet.
  27. Let fear be the wind at your back not the brick that keeps you from moving.
  28. Elaiwe is the highest place. Teach him to find a place even higher than that.
  29.  Go find something to be. Something that tells you why you’re here.
  30. You will be a writer even if you never write another word. You are not a writer because you do.
  31. There is a road map tattooed to the inside of your eyelids.
  32. Change your mind. Change it back.
  33. Be beautiful without permission.
  34. Live like poems written when strength was common.
  35. Love someone and mean it.
Start with yourself.
Here we are. Finally facing the other side of this life you’ve built thus far. I can hear you trembling. Can feel the quake of your worry start to over take you. There is more to come. There is more you to peel away and discover. There is a new journey. Some days, I know it feels like there is nothing to hold you. That your past sits on your shoulder like the devil at high noon. You know that’s not true. You have grown towards the sun. Don’t let anyone try to drag you back. You are neither shadow nor brick.  You did the right thing. You did the right thing. You did the right thing. Hold that. Grow with it. Carry it with you on this adventure.
Happy Birthday, mama girl. We have secrets. They are beautiful. This time next year, there will be a new moon to gaze at and marvel at how far we journeyed to get here.
PS. Tell him I said hello and it’s about damn time.