Monday, October 12, 2015


I turn 34 tomorrow.

I can't remember my birthday last year or what I did to celebrate it. I mean, I'm sure if I look back at my calendar or photos I can piece it together, but offhand it's a blank.

A lot of last year felt blank honestly. Well, a mix of blank and bouncing between "I feel incredible joy, my life is exactly what I've always wished for," and "I feel unbearable pain and something major in my life must change." Exhausting and deeply confusing, all these opposite feelings.

It had been creeping up on me for a while that a major life inventory was due. Then one day in August, it happened. I was no longer afraid to look inside and name my truths. This unstoppable stream of words and emotions and bravery came out of me, and I shared with the people I love.

It's so refreshing to feel like myself again, to turn on the fuck-it button (ligar o foda-se), to learn about what I want and don't want, to be humble and grateful, and to make sure I am living my life accordingly.

Tomorrow, on my birthday, I will:

- Go swimming at 6:15am at the Plunge (the pool by our house that I had been curious about for ages and finally started going to with a couple of girlfriends to swim laps).

- Find something that seems delicious as a birthday treat and go buy it.

- Have a picnic lunch on our deck with Rico, his mom (who is here and loving life in California), and my mom. Hanging out with the moms is one of my favorite things.

- Then I have therapy in Berkeley, with a woman I recently started going to and totally love. (I had been thinking about going to therapy for the last 7 years. Seven!!! I guess you go when you are ready, and I'm so glad I did.)

- In the evening I will go paint with my painting group. (My 90-year-old friend Manny hosts it at his house, and there are two other local artists who attend regularly, plus guest participation by Rico's mom every once in a while.)

Already my birthday this year has been a good one. Pre-birthday, I guess, but whatever. I feel like it's started. My dad told me the first cranes made it to New Mexico on their fall migration, so the kick-off is official.

I just had solo dance party in my gallery, which was fabulous. And I am working on the sketches for a challenging commission, a geometric ring in sterling silver. The design is two lines zig-zagging through life (around the ring band) that eventually converge and intersect at two points. Beautiful concept, but a nightmare to calculate and draw (although this is just the kind of math + pattern + aesthetics problem I love).

There is some major full-circle synchronicity to these rings, too. In the summer of 1999 I was 17 and fell in love with a boy in Brazil. Very long story short, it ended with me heartbroken and full of self-hate. Although we eventually found closure, this person and that relationship have been riding shotgun in my unconscious for the past 17 years. I just realized this is exactly half my lifetime ago!!

Again long story short, I now find myself making promise rings for him and his girlfriend. Today while sketching yet another version of the design, I had an epiphany about the reasons why this half-life relationship has continued to have such a hold on me. I had a major cry, and then lightness. What a wonderful birthday gift, this moment of self understanding.


Marcia (123 blog) said...

happy birthday, Ali. Your birthday sounds perfect :) Full of soul-nourishing things and connection!

Enjoy a cupcake for me! XXX

_+*Ælitis*+_ said...

Thank you for sharing this intimate yet poignant moment of your life! You INSPIRE ME! Happy birthday again. Tchau!

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