Atlantic Ocean from Fort Zach, Key West

Happy Birthday to Me

Stream of conscious reflections

Morning Pages in the afternoon. I’m sitting on the rocks facing west at Fort Zach, waves lapping against my feet, under the shade of a beautiful tree, people snorkeling nearby, parasailing in the distance. I’m sitting here thinking, “I live here.”

My nails are painted glittery red; so are my toes. I’m wearing my new colorful dress from the store where my boyfriend said, “Why don’t you go in here?” And I’m wondering: how could I ever be sad? How could I ever be down? With this scenery, this love of life, these resources, this time, this age, this partnership, this world — how?

It’s my birthday so I’m not going to chastise myself today, but I do wonder if I can control the sad. If like in Buddhism, suffering is in everyone, but it is controllable. It is possible to cease. To overcome.

Today I feel truly alive and capable of ending the pain. It’s hot out. The sun is beating down. The humidity is high. And yet I can just stick one foot in the ocean and my whole body cools. I am hydrated. I am at ease.

The Fury Cats are straight ahead of me and despite it looking like a total frat party, it still seems really fun. How could you not be happy on the water with a bunch of folks who are just there to have a good time?

If we all dedicated ourselves to that every day — if we all said, “I’m just here to have a good time” — a great time could be had by all. Equally. Individually. Together, in harmony.

There are living beings all around me. Little snails sucking on the wet rock face. Clown fish swimming back and forth looking for prey. Moths fluttering. Ants crawling. The roots of this shady tree growing deeper into the ground each day. And as a big boat passes by 100 yards away, the waves lap onto the rocks even harder. Spraying me. Soaking my journal page. Making the ink run. It’s all interrelated. Every action causes a reaction, whether or not we’re present to observe it — sometimes so far out of sight it’s unimaginable to us. But one person’s simple drive-by is another person’s wet lap.

And let’s not forget about the fish.

I flip through the pages of my journal, a daily ritual prescribed by a book on overcoming creative block written by a woman sitting in a room on the other side of the world at a time in history I can’t even remember. She had a thought and chose to assert it and now I have a pen in my hand, writing furiously across the page each day in a desperate attempt to cleanse the soul. To be free.

Happy birthday to me.

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