Another year of my life has come and gone. I am now another year older. What a strange feeling it is to be turning 23. My Sisters laugh when I say this, as they are 14, 13, and 2 years older than me, but it is still the truth. At 23 years of age, I feel old, and weary. I have experienced many things, seen many things, fought many battles. I have come to an understanding of the human psyche that is unfathomable for others who have existed for but a mere 23 years…
By the age of six, I knew how to cook, plan meals, clean & organize a home. I know how to change diapers, heat a bottle, alleviate the pain of teething. By ten, I was budgeting the family income, sending my younger brother to school, aiding him with his homework. I did all these things everyday, without a second thought.
A few days before I turned 19, I lost my father. I cried alone, in the dark of the night, where no on would see my grief. I arranged his funeral, put order in his affairs, and held my family together. I was strong. I was wise. I was…. 19?
That same year, I began work at a restaurant, and within a year and a half, I became manager, I worked, 50, 60, 70 hours per week, but that didn’t matter, as I loved what I did. But my “years” began weighing on me… Then, in December 2012, I lost my job. And I became the Master of Lies.
For all the smiles, and good attitude, and bullshit optimistic views I showed to my family, my Sisters, I was broken. I had had enough. I searched for a new job, in vain. Six months I was unemployed. My self-worth was diminishing. Dark thoughts were overtaking my strength, destroying my will…
I write this confession now, because as my middle name (Phoenix) implies I have risen out of the darkness, and left my ashes behind me. I am better now. I write this confession for my Sisters. As an apology. I am the strength, I am the rock; but it is not in a rock’s nature to reach out when the ground opens up beneath it. It will simply fall. You. My dear, sweet Sisters three, will be angry, I know this. You will be angry that I did not reach out to you, that I did not shed tears on your shoulders. You will be angry that I was silent. Yet… you still saved me.
That night, that dark lonely night, sitting on my kitchen floor, holding a butcher’s knife to my wrist, I re-read the note I had left: ” Sarah, Tracy, Wendy; I love you. Don’t try to follow me.” And your names stuck out on the page. “Sarah, Tracy, Wendy”. My Sisters. The three missing quarters to my heart. Your names became a chant. “Sarah, Tracy, Wendy, Sarah, Tracy, Wendy, Sarah, Tracy, Wendy”… And from somewhere came the will to put down the knife. Slowly, it was returned to its drawer. The note was burned. Slowly, the darkness receded, slowly, the strength returned. And, within a week, I found happiness again. Within a week, I found a job.
I have experienced many things, seen many things, fought many battles. There are days when I feel older than time itself.
Yet on this day I turn but 23.
Happy Birthday to me.
Love & Light,