TODAY IS MY 31st birthday. As I've seen it, birthday posts on sites like this are supposed to be winsome with a dash of self-deprecation. They include lessons learned and futures hoped for. But I can't seem to muster either.
I feel exposed. Existing in a space no style can cover up.
A year ago, I was losing myself in the throws of a deep and dark depression. The 365 days that followed resulted in the end of my marriage, the loss of my faith, the experience of coming out in a new way, the end of one job, the layoff from another, the discovery of a passion, the founding of a start-up, the birth of a new self, and the entrance into what it means to simply exist as a human being, naked and afraid.
I've lost old friends and gained new family. I've disappointed many but found grace in a few. I've found a path that leads less towards freedom and more towards healing. Healing wounds that in many ways I'm responsible for creating in the first place. It's a sobering path, one where each step seems significant like the steps each of my children took when they entered the phase we call toddling. Learning again what it means to walk.
I don't write about personal style just because I like clothes. I write about style because it's all about stripping ourselves down to nothing and then consciously thinking about how we should present who we are to the world. Each time we risk personal expression with new looks, we expose more of who we are to those around us.
Of course, exposure opens us up to judgment. And there will always be people waiting to judge. But it also opens us up by allowing others to catch authentic glimpses into who we really are at our core. Our beauty. Our flaws. Our hits and our misses. The opportunity to be known in a world full of people trying their best to hide.
I'm feeling many things today. But I suppose the ability to open myself up to you is the best feeling of them all.
P.S. - I know we just passed Giving Tuesday, but seeing as it's my birthday, I'd love nothing more than for you to send a few dollars over to the amazing folks at The Trevor Project. They're the largest LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization, and every day, they help saves the lives of kids who feel like they have nowhere to turn. Whether you have $5 or $500, I'd appreciate you supporting life by helping them out. Click here to make your donation. Y'all are the best.