The above picture is the front of a birthday card from a friend; the inside reads: “You’ve got it—and today’s your day to flaunt it! Happy Birthday”…I love it!
Ok, so I know I’ve reeaallly been incognito over the past month or so due to an enormous workload on the day job that has simply sapped all of my energy; by the time I get home all I want to do is hit MyDVR on the remote control and whisk myself off into fantasy land. For those who work at the same not-to-be-named location as me, you know that September is our busiest time period. Now that October is firmly here I get to blame my birthday on the fact that I got nothing accomplished on my blog last week. Although a weak excuse, I took a couple of days off from the day job to regroup and move forward on my personal, non-work related to-do list and it felt fantastic! While handling my biz I also had an opportunity to celebrate my birthday and although low-key, it was quite satisfying.
So about my birthday, it’s been 7 years since I partied like a rock-star which is fine with me but frequently disappoints my friends…sorry ya’ll. Over the years I’ve had some memorable birthdays. For my 9th, freshly moved back to Maryland from Utah, my parents decided to throw me a party and invite my cousins and family friends. Earlier that morning they asked me how it felt to be turning 9 and I famously replied, “I feel like a woman”, which horrifies me now but which I very much believed at the time; I still can’t live that one down. For my 21st- birthday I was attending college and spent the greater part of early evening riding all around NYC in a school van attempting to find this theater where we planned to see Sankofa and have an opportunity to participate in a discussion with the director and some of the actors. Unfortunately our driver drove us from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back before we found the place and I was pissed. Somehow we finally made it to the movie and hours later arrived back on campus where I was escorted to a campus-wide surprise party. The party was in full-swing prior to my arrival and upon entering the apartment-style dorm I hear a loud ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY CIJA’ and peep this chick Lela doing a keg-stand and taking it to the head. I wasn’t much of a beer drinker then so I remember drinking the beer for the simple purpose of getting tipsy which I achieved rather quickly. The birthday that still tops them all to this very day is my 25th which was a Moroccan-themed pajama jammy jam house party at my apartment. I wish there were words to describe the utter fantasy that was my party. I mean my apartment felt as fantastical as the set for the Sex and The City 2 movie: the walkway leading to my front door was lit with candles in brown paper bags filled with sand, my living room was festooned with deep red roses, tea lights across every shelf of my bookcase, a star fashioned out of hangers strung with blue string lights (modern art ya’ll), my fireplace was lit with a burning log casting an orangey glow, my dining area served as a dance floor- the ceiling above strewn with various glitter encrusted stars hung on shiny gold rimmed thread, DJ Frane was on the wheels of steel, the side patio-festooned with white string lights extended the dance floor. To top it all off my partner in crime and the brain behind this operation, Johnny, tossed red rose petals on party goers as they arrived at my casa letting them know this was no ordinary soiree. Clearly this birthday impacted me quite a bit. My last ‘party like a rock-star’ birthday experience was 29. On this particular birthday I teamed up with my homegirl Tish because our birthdays are two days apart. We hosted a Libra party at Club One in Baltimore and we tore that dance floor up. To be a little more specific we took over one floor, ‘water’, to be specific, since the club floors were named after the five elements. We danced the entire night without stopping for anything but to refresh our drinks; I’m really not sure if I’ve hit the dance floor with the same vigor as I did that night.
I have to admit my birthdays since have not been as epic and 30 came and went with little fanfare, by the time I turned 33 my father died, we buried him in September, and my birthday came shortly after so I was not inspired to party. Ever since this turn of events I have not had the inspiration or the finances to really do what I want which is to travel, consequently my birthdays have been quite low key much to my chagrin. Once again I had nothing planned for my actual birthday: I didn’t want to hit a bar and drink the night away because frankly it’s too expensive and my alcohol tolerance has down-shifted over the years, I thought about having a party but worried about the weather which is crucial for me since I have a small apartment and frequently use my patio as an extra lounge area, I thought about going bowling with the family but work schedules did not permit. Due to my indecisiveness, I ended up with absolutely no birthday plans …that is until one of my oldest gal pals, Rachel emailed me the following:
Do you have plans for your birthday evening? Turns out, I’m driving myself home from DC that afternoon/evening– I’d love to come see you and hang out for the night if it’s possible.
Her email meant so much to me because we haven’t seen each other in about 5 years give or take and the fact that she just happened to be close by on my birthday was a wonderful unexpected turn of events. When she arrived we jumped right in (just like I knew we would) catching up on our lives attempting to cover all that we could in our short time together, knowing that key events might be missed, but not caring simply because we were happy to be in each other’s company. She treated me to dinner at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, City Café, where we sat in a cozy corner and people-watched the fabulous Friday evening crowd in the dimmed lighting of this glass-wrapped restaurant. The food was fantastic and dessert was a berry-topped creamy light flavorful crème brulee. No I didn’t party like a rock-star but I 100% enjoyed my birthday; you can never go wrong with good company and good food; thank you Rachel.
I also want to shout-out my family for hanging with me Saturday and Sunday; we had a good time taking in a museum and eating some of my Mom’s chili and homemade cornbread… again with the good company and good food… I’m really done now.