I felt so loved this weekend. I had a joyous birthday celebration — on Saturday I made a delicious brunch for close friends and family, followed by wine tasting and a a feast of tapas at a trendy local restaurant. Everyone was left tipsy, pleasantly sleepy, and totally content. On Sunday I went with my family to see Independence Day: Resurgence, my favorite kind of big, silly action movie. We topped off the weekend with a fancy steak dinner at our go-to celebratory restaurant, and cake at home. My 24th birthday was nothing short of perfect, all because I did exactly what I wanted.
Throughout the weekend, I thought back to a fabulous piece published last summer in Black Girl In Om, titled “The Quest to Celebrate the Self Every Year.” It’s about author Nkechi Njaka’s quest to find guiltless joy on her birthday. I think I’ve been on a similar (if subconscious) journey. As women, and especially black women, we are socialized to feel or feign shame about getting what we want. It can feel hard throwing yourself a birthday party as an adult, demanding that undivided time and attention.
But I say forget that! Let’s make it about me all day or weekend-long. There is of course a difference between assertive celebration and becoming a birthday-zilla, but I found that being direct and specific about what I wanted meant more fun for everyone. I made the decisions about the wineries, the movies, the brunch menu, the dinners. Nary a “I’m down with whatever!” in sight. Because really, when is anyone ever down with whatever? People everywhere are going around eating pizza when they wanted Chinese, being outwardly compliant and inwardly resentful. Let’s cut that out. We’ll all be better off.
Another aspect so essential to the joyous weekend was all the love permeating each moment. My friends came from far-reaching corners of the Bay Area and my cousin even flew in from Los Angeles. My sister turned down a fun day at San Francisco Pride. All to spend time with me. That’s a pretty dang good feeling, y’all. If this weekend was any indication of the year to come, 24 is about to be LIT.
Love and theatre (and cake for dinner),