A birthday is the date you celebrate the day you were born. The day you were first introduced to the world. Victoriously you emerged out the darkness of your mother’s womb into the light of this new world. Before you saw your mother for the first time, all you had was the sound of her voice and all that she shared with you via the cord that bound you to her. Now you grow and evolve, striving to discover where you fit in this big place.
But at some point, you discover (hopefully) you are confined to yet another womb. You are maturing in this world, a fetus developing and preparing to enter another place (in this world).
The next time I was born was when I found the Lord. It wasn’t until my eyes truly opened did I realize that though I had eyes to see, I was blind; and though I had ears to hear, I was deaf. I could walk, yet I was paralyzed. It was then life began anew. Once again, I was exiting a dark place and entering into a lighted one. This time I was hearing my Father’s voice for the first time, and I was growing and evolving, striving to understand where I fit in the kingdom of God.
I was born again when I went natural. I had been putting relaxers in my hair since childhood. Society had taught women of color to despise the origins of their hair. Too nappy, too curly, too short. Beauty was demonstrated to us with thin, white/light models with straight, long hair. I, along with most women, was beside myself to comply.
A part of me had always liked my natural hair, but I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. Furthermore, I didn’t have the nerve to sport it, especially with all the other self-esteem issues I was warring against. The decision did not come all at once, but over time. It was like one those deliveries laboring mothers dread — the ones that take over twelve hours; the ones where the doctor must induce labor or perform a C-section because of some complication.
Yes, this birth was slow, but when I finally exited the womb, once again I was seeing the world with new eyes, my senses touched once more. I was proud of the natural movement, not just with hair, but with body types, make-up, and clothes. Beauty has been redefined and is now demonstrated and celebrated by everyday women. I admire and thank the rebels who stayed true even when it was unfashionable. I wonder if they are my mother.
When I discovered I didn’t have to shelve my dreams, but could follow and fulfill them, I was yet born again. Before, I was satisfied if I could impart my gifts and talents into my children. If at least one picked them up, I’d be happy. But I realized my children had their own lives to live and the right to live it the way they chose. They get to make their own mistakes and bumble and stumble along the way as they seek to discover where they fit in the circle of life. Just like me.
And like my children, I have the right to live too. I had given it all up to make sure they lived. I didn’t know I wasn’t required to. I lost precious cargo to be born that time, but I guess if I really think about it, each time I was born, I lost something. Each time I stepped out my comfort zone, I had to leave something behind: the security of the womb, doing things my own way (albeit futile), the tradition and acceptance of straight hair, the safety of not experiencing failure or loss.
So, there is a price for being born …and being born again. Perhaps, that’s why birthdays are worth celebrating. And that’s why you expect gifts. Each time you are born, there is new life, and life is always a gift bearing treasure yet to be discovered.