Celebrating Yourself

I learned at an early age not to wait for someone to raise their glass to me. Instead, I brazenly toast myself.

This came about on a birthday that no one, including family, remembered.

I wept and wept rising off the mat promising myself, I’d never have such a lonely, miserable birthday again.

I’d celebrate without guilt or shame and the rest of the world could go scratch, as my Aunt Tillie used to say. And no, she didn’t remember either.

This is the same aunt who, when I was a kid, would stick five bucks in my Keds when I wasn’t looking.

I was the black sheep for running away from a very toxic, violent home convinced had I stayed, I wouldn’t be writing to you now. I’d be dead from abuse, alcoholism or a drug overdose.

Being forgotten feels like a small price to pay for remaining on the planet, unless you’re in the throes of it.

Never say die, no pun intended…

Each year on my birthday I buy myself a present and go out for a lavish lunch. I usually make that gift a dress wearing it on that 18th of July with heels and pearls not caring what any of it costs.

The bill on my Am Ex always gets paid quickly since a good job usually shows up on the heels of my heels. Of course this year will be a tad different…socks and and a Lotto ticket will be more like it, but a gift is a gift.

It’s probably one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done for myself…confirming my worth by bestowing generosity onto me not waiting for anyone else to do it.

When I turned twenty-five and met my late, great friend Jackie, for 27 years I finally had someone who did remember. images-2 I’d meet her for lunch at Island, a bistro in Manhattan’s Carnegie Hill, where we’d drink and laugh while I opened up the wonderful gift she’d always give me.

When she died on February 10th, 2009, I went back to having lunch alone.

I tried going to Island without her, but it made me too sad. I heard her say, find a new place Susannah, that’s pretty with great food…even if you can’t see me, just know I’ll be there drinking champagne giggling, right alongside you.

And as far as replacements go, if I can’t be with Jacks I’d just as soon celebrate alone.

There’s just something about that day calling for her.

I dreamt about Jackie on her fifth anniversary that inspired this essay. She was all smiles dressed in a beautiful suit, the Renee Mancini patten leather pumps she always wore gleaming through my sleep.

It reminded me, it’s really our responsibility to love ourselves first, setting the example for the world to follow not waiting for another Jackie to come along to relieve us of our post.

I do have great faith in the dead I believe still visit when we need some gentle coaxing from our gloom. It also tells me she’s happy wherever her soul might be, celebrating not only herself, but those she loved.

July is still a ways away, but I’ll don a pretty dress and lift my glass to the both of us.

Nice to have memories.images-1           SB

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About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in Faith, friendship, humor, Love, New York City, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Celebrating Yourself

  1. katecrimmins says:

    In our family we didn’t make a big fuss for birthdays although they were remembered with a gift. That preference stayed with me as I grew up. Now I prefer to have a shopping day (by myself), treat myself to lunch and an extra Starbucks. There are no great gift givers in my life now (or perhaps I have become more particular since I don’t need much) so buying something I wouldn’t normally buy is a great thrill. I don’t care if I never wear it.

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    • I like that you have gift givers and your day of solitude is very appealing…restorative and peaceful, and of course the cats must plan something special like a group hairball shoved in a card…Morgan’s idea of a great gift. He’s young still remember 🙂

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  2. micklively says:

    So sad. You actually brought a tear to my eye.
    Now I need to double-check: you’re the 18th?

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    • I wasn’t soliciting birthday wishes Mick, it was really about taking responsibility even for ones own birth. I hurt so easily…it dawned on me so many years ago, you can’t expect others to remember you…some do, some don’t, but it’s really up to you to do so. A life lesson if you will. Will treasure that tear though 🙂

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  3. Elle Knowles says:

    ‘Cheers’ to you Susannah! I’m with you about birthdays forgotten. Even though we don’t want to be a year older, that birthday never goes away so we might as well celebrate! 😉

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  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    Great attitude, Susannah. I’ve cried on my birthday, too. But not for as good a reason as you. My immediate family remembered, but my friends forgot. It only happened once, but I felt so hurt.
    My in-laws also scheduled a family reunion on my 50th, that I’d already started buying party goods for (later used for my Pookie-pie’s 50th). I was told I could bring a cake if I wanted to. I did not.

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  5. skinnyuz2b says:

    BTW, I’m a July baby, too. I always hated the Cancer sign, but heard that a Julyer is also called Moon Child. Much better!

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