Being Berrak,  Birthdays,  Featured,  Life Lessons

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”

“It’s loving things and people passionately and enthusiastically without justifying my feelings.”

That’s from my birthday blog post when I turned 34. That’s two years ago. Before a pandemic. Before burnout brought me to the edge, so I finally took a break from life.

I didn’t write a post on my birthday when I turned 35 because it was at the beginning of the pandemic. I cancelled a trip I’d been planning for over a year. I cried. I sat alone on my couch, eating a birthday cake shaped like toilet paper by myself while friends from all over jumped on a zoom call with me to keep me company that night. That is the most 2020 sentence I can write.

I wasn’t alone in having a pandemic birthday, but it triggered a lot of traumas for me. Birthdays are difficult, but they’ve gotten easier over the past few years because I am so incredibly lucky to have so much love in my life.

  • Love that’s dependable.
  • Love that’s not afraid to call me out on my shit.
  • Love that sees all of me and accepts me unconditionally.

Despite the overwhelming grief, 35 was actually a year of growth.

35 was the year:

  • I finally began therapy.
  • I reconnected with my roots.
  • I found the strength to walk away from toxic situations.
  • I actively began telling my story again, all of it, without holding back for the sake of others.

It’s funny. I began reclaiming my narrative a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that I really spoke my truths, editing none of the parts out.

My best friend and I were having one of our famous wine-buzzed Friday night heart-to-hearts a few weeks ago. She’s that person who just cuts to my core. We were talking about how I feel like I missed out on enjoying life in my 20s living in DC. We lived there at the same time but didn’t become friends until she moved to Seattle after I did. Whenever she reminisces about her life in DC, it triggers this sadness for me, as if I was living in a parallel universe back then.

As much as I tried to live life on my own terms, until this past year, there was always an external force that kept my light on a dimmer.

Family. Friends. School. My ex-fiance. Friends again. My job. Politics. Family. Money.

Until now.

So when she asked me if I would want to go back and get a chance to rediscover some things I missed, my answer was no. Do I think about the what ifs? Do I feel like I missed out on a few key experiences throughout my life? Of course. I would be lying if I didn’t, but that’s the fun thing about growing up.

This is 36.

I get to finally shine bright and light the path ahead of me.

What’s funny is that I haven’t changed. Not really. A fun discovery I made recently is that my original Twitter handle is still active, and this is the bio from 10 years ago.

I mean, all of that is still pretty accurate. The only thing that’s evolved is my career.

This is 36.

A personal brand so strong that my closest friends regularly “replicate my selfie face.”

A personality so effervescent that the ridiculous spills across borders.

A heart so resilient that I know I’ll always make it through.

A brain so combative that fights against me, but most days, it fights for me.

Like I recently told a friend, I am a lot and I’m OK with that.

I like who I am.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.