Friday. Not a good birthday, really.

Not because I was a year older; I’ve never for an instant had a problem with that—I’ve loved every age I’ve been. Instead, this was a disappointment of the faint, forlorn hope that, for one day, I might be, demonstrably, as important to others as I am to myself.

The days before and after (including today) were filled with joys and surprises. Truth: I do have love in my life. No question about it. Yet, on the one night I needed most to see it, it wasn’t front and center. It didn’t exactly need to be. But.

I am a walking contradiction, at once craving acknowledgment and being highly uncomfortable with it. And disappointment–that’s my responsibility. I will own it; I will call it mine. Yet, in the moodiness of a quiet evening like Friday’s, a rare thing, a not-good thing happens. The creeping, unacknowledged loneliness that lurks around the corner of every writer’s life steps into full view and says “see me.”

But the story doesn’t end there. It gets better.

I am cursed and blessed with a fortunate/unfortunate ability to see many sides of a thing at the same time. I am as far from Pollyanna as a human being can be, yet I smile, sometimes, in inverse proportion to pain, fear and dread. When I woke in the middle of the night in the paralyzing realization of my insignificance on a day that fell short for me, something remarkable happened. And it was a gift that Writing gave me.

I knew that if I could bear a half-hour of brutal honesty with myself, something good might come of it. And something good did. A passage. An idea rich enough to steal one’s breath. The deepening of a character; the most essential truth of him; an understanding with the power to turn hatred between two people into lasting love. Something in my mind and heart took the plain straw of my mood and spun it into gold as I watched in the darkness; a gift from the best place in my mind.

To my dear ones, I love you. To whatever is looking out for me from the inside of my head, thank you. And a smiling Happy Birthday to me. Hells yeah.

TOMORROW: The Post that puts the lie to this one…Birthday dinner with the Salon!!