Last week, I celebrated my birthday. By celebrated, I mean I chose to fast for the day commemorating another year of life. Before continuing, let me share a little known personal Black history fact: I am neither the first nor last person to spend her birthday fasting. I know I am not doing anything ground-breaking.
As I reflected on week 51 of my year without the Bible (and, now, no longer being a Christian), I decided to explore my birthday.
Once upon a time, I thought birthdays called for feasting, partying, and the amount of merriment that required Jesus to turn water into wine or Kool-Aid because we ran out.
Speaking of miracles, I believe there is an unwritten code among countless U.S. Black people that on our birthdays, the Good Lord Above turns a blind eye on our celebratory antics, allowing even the most sanctified among us to dance away to the trinity of the “Black Birthday Song Tradition,” comprised of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday,” Luther Campbell’s “It’s Your Birthday,” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club,” without fear of Godly retribution.
Likewise, masses of Black conscious folks, feminists, and womanists refrain from judgment of you dancing to the latter two artists’ gospel of misogyny because it is your birthday.
Although I love a good dance break, I broke from tradition and chose more stillness and quietness for my birthday.
Originally, I had different plans in mind for this birthday. However, at the beginning of this year, I sensed a shift. I shared with my husband, “I don’t think I am going to do anything crazy this year.”
Both of us understand that “crazy” is code for what my husband calls “things that could get me killed” like skydiving or wing walking.
Maybe it was just me, but I think my husband seemed not only surprised, but relieved, when he responded, “Really?” He did not try to convince to me to stick to my original plans. That’s for sure.
I do not have to celebrate my birthday according to anyone else’s expectations and desires.
This year, I thought I would give myself the gift of another form of discipline, rest, and rejuvenation.
On this day, instead of gorging on food and junk food, I decided to give my body a break from having to digest and process any food.
I allowed my mind, body, and spirit to cultivate joy and deeper knowing within instead of seeking it from external things and distractions.
I had a quiet celebration of being.
My husband’s gift heightened my love celebration.
Unknown to me, since the first day of this year leading up to my birthday, almost each day my husband wrote statements expressing what he loved about me. When he presented me with all the words he had written, I did not know what to do with myself.
I stated, “I don’t know what to do with myself.”
It was an entire scene and a half.
My husband’s words were sincere, for he is both genuine and generous.
You cannot fake realness. If my husband praises or compliments, it is because he truly means it. He is not one to flatter people to manipulate them.
His loving thoughts gave me more to reflect on what it means to be loved in our humanness. I could tell certain days when he chose to see the love I had for him behind things I had said or done. When I had probably walked away after a minor disagreement, unsuccessfully fighting back muttering under my breath, he chose to write another reason why he loved me.
When he had stumbled upon this idea, my husband knew he wanted to do this act of love for me.
As I spent my time fasting, meditating, praying, reflecting, being with myself, and going about life on my birthday, I sensed an outpouring of the Universe’s love through my soul mate.
My husband is the number one person who inspires me, and these take my words and breath away moments remind me of this truth.
On my birthday, I thought about how he chooses to grow, evolve, love, no matter what ups and downs he face.
Weeks beforehand, I had almost ruined my surprise in what I call “stereotypical wife moments,” when I asked (interrogated) him about why he had not brought up my birthday like times past.
I feel thankful to have spent my birthday fasting and receiving the kind of gift that moves my heart.
As woo-woo and spiritual as all of this might seem, should God allow me to see another birthday next year, I am not ruling out cake—
Lots and lots of cake,
Cause that stuff can be spiritual, too.