Every year on New Years Eve- a celebration of new beginnings and appreciation for another year of life. I mask my feelings by spending time with friends, having an adult beverage or traveling. I surround myself by people and activities that make me think of all the good positive things in my life. I like to think that after many years of living with a spinal cord injury I won’t feel anything on the anniversary of my injury, my Gimp Birthday.
But several days before there is this anxiety leading up to that day. I don’t want another year to pass. I don’t want to stop telling people I’ve been injured for 10 years and now have to say 11. Nobody remembers, or they don’t say a word for fear of bringing back bad memories. But I always acknowledge it. “It’s 12 years today.” “…14 years ago…” and everyone becomes silent for a moment. I smile and my eyes want to erupt in tears. Quickly I continue making jokes and having a good time, but feeling lonely in a crowd of people who have never left me.
In bed after the festivities, I spill the most cathartic tears of the year and I don’t understand why one day the universe threw a new life upon me. My body is not the same, my hands, my fingers, my legs…
And the tears suddenly stop and my chest shivers as my lungs fill with air and sigh relief. I have friends and love. The ability to lead my life in the direction I want. And the new year is not about regret and loss. It’s MY birthday and I GIVE gifts. I declare to do something new, visit a new place and wear something sparkly every once in awhile. I vow to take pleasure in small happy moments and recognize the value of fear, anger and sadness.
Everything has changed and nothing. So I embrace it.
Eat some cake. Get a massage. Get a tattoo. Roll over some Bubble Wrap. Just do something BAD-ASS!