Today is my birthday. The last year of my 20's. Every birthday, I'm reminded of the beautiful short story, "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros:
What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.
So, on this day, the 29th year of my existence, I remember that I am not only 29, but also: 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. I've had this same heart since birth. It's a good one.
Taking a page from Rebel Grrrl Living, I've made a list of 29 things that make me happy. Enjoy!
1. friends & family
I have the most amazing parents ever, a brother who is goddamn inspiring, and friends who support and believe in me (even when I don't believe in myself).
I'm so lucky to work with such incredible people, both at my unpaid and paid jobs!
It's the same heart I've had since I was born... it's a loyal heart. It's a heart that loves fiercely and fearlessly. I'm consistently amazed at how much my heart can take in, and keep beating so strongly.
I started yoga in college after I had quit dance (ballet and jazz). It has saved me on many occasions. I only wish I could find a goddamn studio here in Madison that doesn't suck :/
5. guerrilla feminism
My passion. My heart. My everything. GF is an extension of me, but it's also way more than me--and that feels amazing. I'm so happy to see how it has progressed. I'm indebted to all of you who have helped me a long the way--who have taken your time to volunteer for this little idea I had back in 2011. Thank you <3
6. grrrl music
Grrrl singers are my absolute fave. Everyone from Erykah Badu to Kathleen Hanna to FKA Twigs and more. I feel such a kinship with these women through their music.
7. poetry by: nayyirah waheed, shinji moon, warsan shire, yrsa daley-ward, caitlyn siehl, and rupi kaur.
If you haven't heard of any of these women, do yourself a huge favor and check them out NOW! For any heart healing, read these poets.
8. my ancestors
I come from strong, witchy Calabrese women--and a Danish woman.
9. my bestie of 10+ years, Anju.
The longest friendship I've had--and one of the best. Anju has been with me through it all. We met in ballet class as youngins. She just called, sang some "Happy Birthday" to me, and then said, "I'm glad you're in this world." *ugly crying*
Yes, you read that right. I'm a winter baby, and it's in my blood to love all things winter. Snow is my favorite. It's so magical and beautiful and all of the things!
My Italian-ness is very important to me. I grew up speaking Italian with my Nonno (who recently--last June--passed away). I studied abroad in Italy in 2006, and am certain I will be back there someday. It's in my bones.
12. the Olive Grrrls anthology
I had the idea for this in 2010, but only published it a year ago. The writers in this book are amazing! Please support women writers, and read this!!!!
13. art by Stela Starchild
I've been lucky enough to also start a friendship with this rad artist. Stela Starchild's work gives me life!
14. my curls
I spent most of my youth hating my hair, and wishing for straight hair. In college, I finally grew into it. I finally started liking it. Then, I started loving it. My hair is fucking rad, ya'll.
I've been playing the beautiful instrument for a while now, and I wouldn't say I'm great at it, but I don't really care, because it's FUN.
16. online feminist community(ies)
I'm lucky to know so many truly special souls--and a lot of these folx I've met online because of GF. My dream is to visit them all some day! It WILL happen, daminit!
17. my bestie, Kelly.
This bitch is fucking fabulous. She is my soul seastar. She's a beautiful person and incredibly loyal. She called me a "beautiful tropical fish" today <3
18. places I feel safe
As an anxious person, these are few and far between, but they still exist--which is something I'm so thankful for. My momma's house, my dad's house, my work, my friend's apartments, and local bookstores/coffee shops :)
19. places I feel at home
Madison, Italy, and maybe even Boston a tad
In all forms--yoga, my actual therapist, napping, meditating, bedroom dancing, singing, writing...
This past year has been really terrible--in a variety of ways. I'm thankful for it all though. I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned how goddamn resilient I am. How resilient my heart is. How the only person who can truly abandon me is me--and that will never happen.
I spend way too much at Sephora, but damn... I just really love makeup. I especially love liquid eyeliner--the blacker the better!
23. my body
I've gone through eating disorders, disordered eating, etc, etc, and I feel like I'm finally at a place where I can actually say I love my body and I'm thankful for what it can do for me. I'm thankful for its abilities. I'm thankful for its beauty.
24. mamma's spiced tea
She has been making this for a long time, and it is so delicious and healing <3
25. social media
Seriously though. There's a lot to complain about, but overall, it's something I'm very thankful for.
26. nail polish
Painting my nails feels very therapeutic. I own too much nail polish, but whatever.
I love dancing (and I'm pretty good at it, too).
28. the moon
Luna, oh luna. I love your phases.
29. the souls I have not yet met and the hearts I have not yet loved.
I'm excited about my future. I hope I have a very long one ahead of me :)