Happy My Birthday

Today is my motherforking 50th birthday. Holy shirtballs. I am half a century old. Well, my body is. My brain is still hanging out in 7th grade making boobie jokes. 

For a while now, I’ve been mulling this whole half a century thing over. I don’t feel old exactly. My body has some aches and I may have gained too much pandemic weight to fit in some of my favorite clothes right now, but generally it’s still working pretty great (I work ouuuut). But I do feel different somehow lately, and I’ve been trying to put my finger on exactly how.

A few days ago, a friend posted a question asking about how folks were handling their mid-life crises (thanks Kobie!). And I thought about that for a minute. I guess I’m mid-life, or actually slightly past it. What have I changed in the past few years? The main difference for me is that I have much less patience for intolerable people. 

For most of my life, I tried to fit into some notion that other folks had about how I should be, because I was identified female at birth, or for the comfort of the straight people around me (and believe me, they’ve been vocal). But in the past few years, more and more I have rejected any of that. Partially because society has become less intolerant, but largely because I have lost patience with the game. So I’ve let a lot of people go. Anyone in my life who wasn’t actively cheering for me to become exactly who I was meant to be was released. I don’t have the energy to carry that weight anymore. And all of the people who were cheering for me are now my inner circle. I have never been happier or more grateful.

But digging more deeply into the idea, I don’t feel like that was a crisis. I really think it’s very reasonable to come to a point, or multiple points, in your life where you pause and look at things and take stock of what’s working and what isn’t, and then make some changes. In fact, it seems ridiculous not to do it.

So, for my mid-life awakening, I’ve been actively reaching out to the amazing people in my life who have cheered me on as I become more fully myself and pulling them closer and doing my very best to offer them the same support. The person at the top of that list is my wife, of course. But I’m also beyond grateful for my amazing wonder cousins, for all the friends who have been here for many years, and for the ones who have just arrived. I am grateful for all of you. Thank you for being here.

Lastly, I want to tell you about these awesome photos of me and Jessie. They’re by my friend River West. She’s totally the coolest human being, and one of my favorite photographers. If you need some intensely beautiful photos of you and someone you love, I cannot recommend her highly enough. Thank you River. So very much.

Oh yeah, btw, I’m non-binary and my pronouns are she/they.

Amanda Summerlin

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