A Very Stabby Birthday

Shiny birthday balloons in the number 30

I don’t remember much about my dad. I know that all the stories my mom tells me about their time together end with “…and then your dad stabbed him so we had to get the hell out of there.”

Practice Stabbing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

My most vivid memory of my dad was his knife coming through the roof of the van we lived in. I can still hear my mom screaming, “Run for your life!” while I tried to super-speed activate my stubby toddler legs. It turned out my great escape wasn’t necessary; they reconciled and went on to have more children. It’s the rom-com you never knew would scare you.

They did eventually part ways. My dad got out of the van to take a leak one hot summer night and my mom just sped away. She traded the van for a trailer, the alcoholic schizophrenic for a heroin addict, and we never heard from my dad again.

Until this month. A few days before my 30th birthday.

A good Samaritan apparently saw my dad screaming at a mailbox that all he wanted was to be reunited with his family. This doofus thought, “I’m gonna get this guy in touch with his kids!” If you aren’t facepalming right now, I’ll wait. Even the mailbox was like, “You’re fucking kidding right?”

So this good Samaritan, whom we will refer to from here on out as “BirthdayBuzzkillWantsToBeAHero McGee,” gives me a jangle, tells me that he found my dad on the street romancing a mailbox and that he felt moved by God to put him in touch with his family.

Scared Scream GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So after several minutes of horror-movie-style screaming, slamming shots of vodka, and shaking my fist at the thundering sky (a storm was coming), I calmly explained to Mr. McGee that I lacked the resources, desire, and proper shank-sharpening tools to care for another schizophrenic. I asked that he please do everything in his power to dissuade any attempts at contact.

Well, he was working for a higher power: his ego. He gave my dad my contact information, let me know that my dad just called him from my hometown and assured me that everything would turn out because he was “praying for me.”

Despite the “Middle-class white man prayer guarantee,” I found myself spiraling. I would jump out of my skin at every slamming door or barking dog. When I wasn’t scared, I was sad, imagining my poor father, drunk and filled with regret, yearning for a family he never really had.

I balked at my complete inability to control my life. How had I made it so far yet not far enough to not have shit like this happen? My mortgage, my marriage, my business, my slicked-back retro curls and designer shoes seemed like a big fat lie. I was just pretending to be functional when I was still the white trash, perpetually humiliated clusterfuck I was always destined to be.

I could literally feel my serotonin levels start to plummet. I canceled my 30th birthday bash. I scoured the Delta website to find the cheapest ticket outta here. All problems are easier to deal with in Wisconsin right?

Snow White Do Not Want GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then something amazing happened: I turned 30.

I know it sounds dramatic, but I woke up on my birthday, opened my eyes and said out loud, “No one has the right to shit on my life.”

I was not going to leave town. I was not going to lurch out of my skin at every street noise. I was not going to up my Zoloft. I was going to be 30.

I realized I didn’t need to have complete control over what happened, because I could have something so much more real. Capability.

I wanted to take today’s post to honor the previous decade of my life. To list my capabilities. To put pen to paper…or um…magical black internet goo to magical white WordPress space and really acknowledge that things have changed. 20 to 30, a lot has happened. I:

  • Overcame my fear of driving (I didn’t start till I was 27!)
  • Stopped succumbing to the 5 for $25 panty sale at Victoria’s Secret
  • Learned how to cook
  • Got my anxiety under control
  • Bought a house
  • Started sneaking my own candy into the movies
  • Started a blog with a massive readership
  • Stopped sucking in during sex
  • Started being brutally honest
  • Took the brutality out of it
  • Added love
  • Celebrated a ten year anniversary with my husband
  • Stopped mixing red and white
  • Started wearing sunscreen
  • Kept a slew of house plants alive
  • Started investing in a Roth IRA, despite the serious fear that the apocalypse will come and I would be in the first row of the meteor impact/Yellowstone supervolcano/imminent Russian takeover regretting not buying more panties at 5 for $25 sale

I want to invite you to make your own list. Tag it on your blog or post it down below. Where did you come from and what have you accomplished despite it? What do you feel like will never change no matter how hard you try?

132 thoughts on “A Very Stabby Birthday

  1. Happy Birthday, Tiara!! I’m sorry about the circumstance surrounding your birthday but so glad you stayed put and did what you can to make it the best you could.

    I turned 30 two years ago and I must say that the amount of “don’t-shit-on-my-face” moments that I have had in this decade far outnumbers the amount I had in my 20s. I also took time to list my accomplishments on my blog. It’s good to see that despite how far I am from my goals, I still accomplished something, lol.

    So glad you’re back!!!


    Liked by 4 people

  2. Way to ring in your 30’s!!! I just turned 50, my list is pretty simple but took 50 years to accomplish. “Challenge accepted (dumb ass)!” What was the other part of the question? I forget things more frequently too! LOL. Seriously though, good for you! You got this! ~Kim

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I swear we’re the same person. After a long time of avoiding contact, I finally spoke to my father via email a couple of years ago when he sent me a message to tell me his dad had died. It was actually less scary than I’d expected it to be, and it felt so different from the horror of having anything to do with him before. Which isn’t to say that I ever want to speak to him *again* but… y’know… it was good to make that delineation: I’m old enough now, and secure enough in who I am, that I’m not freaking out about him.

    I started learning to drive when I was 29. I’m 30 very soon and still learning. It’s exciting, although my driving instructor keeps going “You’re a natural! Why are you so nervous? You haven’t made any mistakes!” I’ll get there in the end I’m sure…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Holy crap, that was a tale of two halves. I thought the first half must be a work of fiction. But love how you got your superhero cape on for the second half. I was lucky to have my ‘mid-life crisis’ way early, stopped all that ‘caring what people think as long as I’m hurting no-one’ crap. DECADES later, forced circumstances helped push me to a point where in my 50s (oh, that does not look right at all, how did THAT happen), I know more about myself than ever and have finally found my voice. Very liberating. When you’re young, you think your 20s will be the prime of your life. Hell no! Loved this post as per. Happy Birthday and welcome back 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  5. First of all, YAYYYY you’re back. Second you are such a brilliant writer and a badass in general. Your post was on my mind this morning and I decided to save space in your comments section by writing a list for your DGGYST challenge in https://letsbuildfutures.com/2018/05/04/shes-making-a-list-the-dggyst-challenge/

    I so often write about learning from millennial mistakes that I rarely focus on all that I’ve accomplished. Thank you for inspiring all of us to celebrate ourselves!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Happy birthday! Loved this!!

    My 30s were awesome but my 40s have been even better despite the shitty stuff like divorce and a stint of poverty. My 20s, on the other hand, were fairly ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I hate arriving too late to read all the other person’s comments. “People’s” comments? Yes. Peoples comments. The “other people’s comments.”

    Sorry, still trying to get the hang of this grammar thing.

    But there are like 14,000 people who got to read your triumphant return before me, and they made – like – 174,000 comments so I’ll just say I agreed with each and every one of them and add a 1 millionth (insert Dr. Evil finger pose here) “welcome back!”

    I will also say that my wife waited until 29 to overcome her fear of driving. 10 years later, I overcame my fear of her driving, too. 😁

    I will absolutely take up the challenge, the very day I turn 30.

    Or, maybe, exactly 20 years later. Stay tuned. 😉

    You had me lol’ing at work the whole way through, and throwing out virtual hugs and “middle-aged white man curses” a couple of times. In other words, you haven’t missed a beat. You may have even improved, which makes you only 1873 times better at this than I am now.

    Enough numbers, I’m getting dizzy.

    Is it next Thursday yet? ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My heart! It’s so full and happy, it’s uncomfortable! Make it stop! Lol. When you said you overcame your fear of her driving I laughed. So. Hard!!! I am definitely going to write about the driving thing now. Comment 1 or 1,000 yours always make my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tiara I am so glad you are back! I have missed your sarcastic and entertaining posts. Sounds like your 30th birthday was quite an experience. It truly amazes me how fathers can so easily disappear from their children’s life and feel it is okay to try to get back in their good graces whenever they want.. I am so sorry for all the emotions I know you went through.
    10 years with your husband is great! I have been with my husband for almost 14 years, married 7. We got married the day after my 30 birthday. I guess wild things happen when we reach 30!
    Again, I am so happy you are back ♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ what you said about the disappearing and resurfacing dads!! WTH! It’s a bizarre and common thing isn’t it. You are so lovely and I am so happy to be back

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly normally refer to my “father” as the sperm donor because that is all he really did! I will never understand the way some men think as it makes no sense at all! I hope you were able to relax and enjoy your month away!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fantastic list! And I agree with Lockwood Echo that, at first, I wondered if you were writing a short story for us. I started driving late, too. But fortunately, I didn’t have a crazy dad. I’m glad that all men weren’t tainted for you by bad childhood experiences. I actually know several guys who were the primary custodians of their children after divorce from a crazy/negligent woman.

    Keep going, you strong, magnificent woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ I do remember beautiful my very firm that I would never get married, and then married quite young. The best laid plans…… lol


  10. Your blogs are humorous yet so understanding. I love the line “I will be 30.” Dont let anyone take your joy girl. Your past is was built you to be this magnificently great person that gives her reader empowerment to move forward. However, get those 5 for $25 underwear lol

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I will never change no matter how hard I try.
    I accomplished lots of things….then forgot….now I’m learning them all over again.

    Welcome back, hun. I hope you’re staying for good. Happy birthday and many happy returns!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “No one has the right to shit on my life” is a fantastic motto that I’m going to repeat to myself when people start taking massive dumps on my life.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. This is one heck of a good idea. Adding making a list to my to-do list (I’ll have plenty of time to think about it while we drive through Illinois and Indiana :P). And Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s quiet a way to move on and high five yourself after that childhood. You added love…I think that was a winner. Happy birthday and well done for being awesome. Thanks for writing like a queen and sharing with the rest of us that needs a reality check. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Girrow… if you think thats progress, what till you hit 40 and then 50! Yes I said 50, yes I know I don’t look it! You are well on your way my sister and a lot further along then most! Happy birthday, we’ve missed you.


  16. Love the honesty in your list. I recently turned 30 and I could list the things that actually happened in the last decade – Marriage, Kids, House etc.But i feel like your list of the sometimes overlooked achievements is better like learning to cook, and sneaking your own candy into the cinema – given the prices of candy at the cinema, this probably helped you buy a house 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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