A New Kind of Birthday On The Rocks

The Facebook memory that popped up had an image of a bottle of red wine and and a crystal glass. I'd poured myself a glass of the vintage I'd been saving because it was my birthday eve and I'd completed a 20,000 word writing intensive. I drank it alone, one glass and then another, and the entire bottle. The next morning when I dropped my son off for summer camp I had to lay down in the back of the car, where I had a panic attack and had to call for help.

My friends cancelled the party they'd planned for me.

Happy birthday. 

That was years ago now. She is not me. She was me. She drank alone in a dining room, writing around everything but what she really needed to write. She is all the parts that I'm integrating, that have been healed, that are still repairing. 

It is a process. Some days are better than others. But they're all better than the way it was. This year has  40 was the first entire year I spent sober. Today I'm 41.

This morning I woke up to strawberry cake crumbs on china. To paintbrushes and paper plates and empty La Croix cans, remnants of the night before. I used to entertain at my house all the time, elaborate Santa parties and back to school nights and book clubs. That stopped when I had to start fighting for my life. But I have a big glass table, and serving ware, and the ability to cut cheese into squares. Does one need anything else to entertain? 

I'd wanted to do an activity, something to mark a new year. My friend Karin suggested that we paint rocks to hide across the city. Rocks with phrases to inspire or delight or bring a little joy to someone's day. "Can I order rocks from Amazon Prime?" I asked? Turns out you can! 


Two bags of smooth river rocks

Three bottles of acrylic paint (gold, pink, and lavender)

Gold paint pens and black Sharpies

Nail polish (assorted colors and especially gold glitter)

The nail polish was an inspired addition from Kim when we realized that the acrylic paint required many layers and wasn't providing a dense enough coating. We sat around my kitchen table, listening to Hamilton and decorating our stones and drinking homemade kombucha. Later Kim played her guitar, Jason Isbell and Melissa Etheridge. 

I couldn't fall asleep because I had too much coffee and some things never change and other things do. Hi 41, glad to see you. Glad to be here, painting and planting words.

Rock and roll.