In a few hours I will be turning 35. These past 5 years have flown by. On my 30th birthday I celebrated by being in 3 different cities and in the month of May of 2011 I met Damon a few weeks before my actual birthday. I invited him to my New York birthday party and he immediately made it very clear that he liked me. He would sit next to me every chance he got and even asked to take me home that evening. It worked out since we both rode the same bus but still it was nice knowing I made a new friend who truly cared for my well being.
Living in New York as a single woman with no family and only a few friends has been very tough. Especially on top of the fact that I quit the daily grind 9-5 lifestyle and started my own company all on a startup shoestring budget providing website designs, marketing advice, and then eventually walking tours with my new company New York Broadway Tours. I still feel way down deep inside that I have so much more to offer the world.
35 is just a number. This idea I had in my head that I needed to have milestones accomplished by a certain age has come up but was quickly demolished when Damon proposed to me last summer and especially now since we got married in February on Leap Day.
Let me backtrack a little bit…. A few years ago I lost 100 pounds in 8 months. Not that big of an accomplishment to MYSELF because I still needed to lose another 150 pounds to just be normal but everyone else seemed impressed. I then got a pinched nerve and heel spur shortly after and realized that I couldn’t afford to pay bills because I wasn’t able to give tours. I also couldn’t exercise due to the strain and by January of the next year I gave up on the full-time dieting and started to drink again because the food and the drink helped relax me and made me feel full or ENOUGH. This led to the possibility that maybe I should start seeing a therapist. The first few months I did that I just cried through every session. I stopped going out and seeing friends. Damon never left my side. All while this is going on he was secretly stashing money aside so he could propose to me. The opportunity for a vacation came about to travel with my family and we went for it. A 2 week road trip from Denver to California and at the end of it on the last and worst day of our vacation due to a double decker bus tour we took in San Fransisco he proposed. Even when he did that I remember feeling scared. Worried. Wondering WHY me and WHY now? I remember these thoughts going through my head that our story shouldn’t be that I was proposed to at 335 pounds. Like what fat girl get’s a proposal? This isn’t how I pictured it. There was supposed to be a parade or a flash mob or a big celebration but it wasn’t like that at all. But the look in Damon’s eyes of pure love and honesty and forever and I do’s and the twinkle of the diamonds in that lovely ring in the night light in Little Italy won me over completely. Through Damon’s eyes I was enough. To my parents I am enough. To my friends and family I am enough. And if everyone else can see me this way then so should I.
So, tomorrow I turn 35. I am enough. This year Damon and I decided to get married on Leap Day with a NYC Clerk wedding and we were joined by close friends and our immediate family. It was a perfect day. We even got featured on NY1! We had a weekend trip to the Poconos for some cheesy romantic fun where we won the newlywed game. Damon’s brothers who are both autistic were able to be there with us. And we are so grateful that we followed our hearts and did it because on May 11th we lost Luke due to neglect at the house where he was living. We created a website with pictures and videos and raised over eight thousand dollars collected from family and friends to help with burial costs. We have hired a lawyer and contacted the justice center of New York to make sure that they know what happened. A senator is on our side. Progress is in motion to make sure that something happens and that people who are supposed to be taken care of will be taken care of. I am very angry and upset and am still in mourning but we will push forward every week. It was a strange event to have new family and friends come up to me and say “Congratulations on your wedding” and then “We are sorry for your loss”. Truly conflicting but accurate. It is what it is.
35 is just a number. I am officially married to a beautiful man that only god sent to me right when I needed him and I have joined a family that loves me and accepts me just the way I am. Anything is possible every day. I am living a career lifestyle as a tour guide and small business owner and it’s grown over the past 4 years as a huge blessing. It’s not a 6 figure job yet but it could be and I am working on that. So tomorrow I have no official plans to do ANYTHING. I could go get a massage. I could go see a Broadway show. We could go adopt a dog. IDK I wanna see where the wind takes me.
My advice for anyone who is also on a quest for self-love and self-acceptance is to not worry or stress out so much over the things that you don’t have control over. The only person you can control is yourself and when you find yourself HATING whether on yourself or others acknowledge it and then decide to do something else that will make you feel better that will be better for you. Tomorrow I will take a walk outside, or sing a Broadway show tune, or continue creating content for my tours so that I can share them with all of those wonderful people who choose to join me when I give a tour. You can love yourself and then love others because we are always ENOUGH just the way we are.
This weekend some of my friends are coming to meet me for a birthday photo and video shoot for my walking tour business. I’m excited and I know it’s going to come out really great. I finally ordered new pamphlets to pass out and a jacket for my tour guide Mikey who has been an angel for my company and self-esteem. He loves Broadway as much as I do and loves sharing stories just like me.
I am grateful for the lessons, for the love, and for my next steps.