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. Oy. What a way to ring in 30. I am 34. I found turning 30 to be one of the most liberating things ever. Suddenly, it was less about caring about how everyone else felt about what I was or wasn’t doing, and more about how I felt about what I was or wasn’t doing. If your dad manages to track you down (who just hands out people’s contact info?), I have no doubt you will handle it capably and strongly, and you will get through it. Welcome to your 30’s. They are great! and Happy birthday!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. YOU GO, GIRL! I didn’t start driving until 25 (because I totaled my mom’s car at 16 after borrowing it with no license and no permission…) and 30 years later have not gotten another ticket (knock wood). Has taken me years to stop letting other people shit on my life but man it feels good!! And P.S. that guy is a misguided douchebag. (5 for $25?? Really?!?) You can’t change the past but you can change the future! Here’s to less brutality and more love… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow…I kept waiting for you to say “These are the first few pages of a short story I am writing”. Happy birthday! I turned 30 last year and I agree, I felt like a weight had been lifted and none of that “I’m getting old!” existential dread kicked in. Here’s to our 30’s!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. CHEERS!! lol! I was telling a friend about what was going on and when I said ” He’s not like…a murderer, but people have died as a result of him stabbing them” She was like “Thats the inside cover of a book right there” lol

      Liked by 3 people

  4. OMG I love you. I’m not sure you are a unicorn, but I think you are pretty effing cool. I am 54. I will give some serious thought to this and get back with my list. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is such a treat to see you pop up in my comments, I always feel totally star struck when BGR stops by. Im doing good, and he hasnt actually come to the house. My sister saw him at a bus stop on the other side of town, but my hope is he has been arrested.


  5. First, happy belated birthday. Second, welcome back. Third, you were missed. Fourth, thank GOD for the decade between 20 and 30. It is transformative. Quick question. Was the 5 for $25 stoppage intentional or an organic evolution. It wasn’t until reading this post that I realized I too stopped shopping the 5 for $25 bin and I don’t quite know how or why it happened. Maybe you could explain it to me.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Haha! Thank you OMGF, I have missed you all so much! I feel like I am at a reunion and you are my favorite cousin and I’m like “DID YOU SEE TANYA AND PIGGY?” lol. Ok, so the 5 for 25. I had to stop because I had like 300 pair of underwear……like, I’m not George Costanza, this is ridiculous and 5 for 25 is not a good deal….lol


  6. Happy 30th!!!!

    I will be turning 30 on 10/28!!
    I had a moment a few weeks ago while I was going thru my planner and budgeting and I just started to cry. It had dawned on me that I’m turning 30 and I was scared (still am a little bit) when I scroll through Facebook/Instagram and see my friends celebrating milestones I get sad. I’m single, no kids, moved to a new city 4 years ago (still adjusting) and I my favorite thing to do is lay in bed and watch YouTube videos lol ironically enough the mommy vlogs.
    But despite my drug addicted mom (she’s been clean almost 10 years!) and my dad who is gun happy and still thinks he can whoop (I use to be scared of him) and living with my maternal grandmother who battled her own demons I think I turned out pretty good. It took me moving from WI to GA ALONE to semi find myself.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is so easy to judge our lives based on others accomplishments isnt it? But there are endless people reading your comment thinking “no kids to have to tend to and gets to watch youtube, that lucky bitch!! lol What city did you move to?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Welcome back luvly. And dayummmmm (or in ‘London’, cor blimey guvna!), I had a similar Victoria Secret thing. Until I got nabbed for import tax. ha.

    Welcome back darlin, and Happy 30th.

    I’m 48 this year.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Extra cool points for sneaking in candy to the movies! There’s just something so satisfying about not paying mortgage loan prices at the theater’s snack bar.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. LOVED this! Didn’t even realize how much I missed you until I read this genius post. Great writing here. I could feel your panic. And also, I am super annoyed at the busybody who stuck his big, fat nose in your business instead of staying the hell out with his stupid ego. He doesn’t know your past or history or relationship with your father. He really should have respected your opinions, although he shouldn’t have even reached out to you in the first place. Sigh. Happy birthday 🙂
    Let your 30s be amazing!!! Those are some great accomplishments!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. First I want to start outby saying… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Second… Holy shit. I mean, I’ve got a crazy shit story too. I’m pretty sure you read the rest of the story on my blog, and if not.. we’ll just read the one titled “Don’t Count Me Out Yet”. This is not a club anyone wants to be a part of, but I’d like to believe we are stronger because of it.

    Third, GOOD FOR YOU GIRL. It’s a hard thing to do.. to not let people shit all over your life. I do it too, and like you I’m learning to not let people do it. Forget unicorn, you’re a fucking badass. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh, I have missed you so this past month! It is good to have you back!

    Happy birthday! And damn girl – good for you! 30 was a big milestone for me too. I just turned 40 in March, and I feel like I am finally, really, truly me! It is the best time in my life – not perfect, by any means – but I know without a doubt, who I am as a person, and I have zero fucks to give for anyone who is judgmental about it. Seriously, THE BEST TIME, EVER!

    This past year, I blew things up with my dad’s sister, because she started some stupid drama on Facebook, when my dad’s health was in a really bad spot. Mind you, my dad cannot stand her, and hasn’t spoken to her or had a relationship with her in 30+ years – but I thought we were going to lose him, and I wanted to try to “fix” things a little. She pissed me off, more than I care to admit – and wrote me off as family. At first I was a little hurt – but then I realized that it is her loss,not mine. Bottom line, if someone doesn’t contribute to your life in a positive way (no matter the relationship), audios bitchachos…. don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    So happy to hear your voice again!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. I am feeling immense love for you right now, you beautiful, amazing, strong and mighty creature! You have gotten there and beyond, you are the stars and the earth and all that is strength and goodness. Your 30’s are going to be fucking spectacular, as you continue to be unstoppable. Happy Birthday Gorgeous!!!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Love the revelations! I bet your hubby is thankful for the one about sex. Happy Birthday! 20’s are weird decade. Almost as weird as our teens. That whole learning-to-adult thing is strange. 40’s (for me so far) are awesome. 0 fucks given! And your childhood makes mine look like royalty. Glad you turned out okay 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Not that it’s fun to play the comparison game, but you at 30 accomplished most of what I did by 40, so cheers! I don’t have driving anxiety but I know a few people that do (3 of my husband’s cousins) and would love to hear more about the strategies you have employed to overcome said anxiety. Thanks for the heartfelt and humorous post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much wish. The driving anxiety was horrible, and I am definitely going to write a post on it, because not driving can make you feel really incapable, and I think it is pretty common.


  15. After 66 years I have a fairly long list, but the most important thing is that I have survived this long. I would love to be physically 30 again, but things don’t work that way. Have a wonderful birthday and stay in control of YOUR life. You are doing great!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. They were all an adventure and it’s a tight race between 20s and 30s. Maybe 25 to 35 was pretty interesting. I know better now WHAT to do, but don’t have as much ability to do it. Or as we geezers sometimes say, “The older I get the better I was.” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I literally whipped around, spinning in my chair, and gasped at my husband, “SHE’S BACK :O”
    Welcome back. Happy Birthday. Wowsa. GURL. What a story.

    I commend you for your strength and bravery. When it comes to fight or flight, girlll, I’m gone. LOL.
    Good for you for rising up and standing your ground, knowing your worth.

    Love your list of accomplishments 💕💕 My favorite is:

    -Started being brutally honest
    -Took the brutality out of it
    -Added love

    You’re an inspiration.

    Glad to see you back.


    Liked by 2 people

  17. Dude. I am SO glad you are back! Seems like forever-ago that I read your words and it was such a treat to see your name reappear this morning. 🤗 Also, I am super fucking proud of you for tackling the situation with so much resiliency and insight. You stayed put and faced it like a boss – not an easy thing to do because it takes a whole lot of strength and courage to decide to stay. You are fierce. Missed you, girl, and again, just so thrilled that you have returned and are doing well. Happy belated birthday, also. The year ahead is so very bright for you; excited I get to be a part of it! Sending you one big hug from up north!! ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey! Yes, so this is the tale I alluded to in my message the other day. I felt like contacting you when it happened but I hated the idea of you fretting in canada lol. I like to think no one frets in canada. You are so sweet, and I am so thrilled to be back. I know its been like 3 weeks, but shits gone down lol.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I knew it was going to be a doozy of a story based on what you had told me…and it was!! Not sure how you are so normal and amazing, just glad you are. For the record, Tiara, you can make me fret in 🇨🇦 any damn time!!

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Damn, girl, you can write! Had me on the edge of my recliner! Just look at what you’ve accomplished! And you have probably thought of a bunch more since you posted. I’m not going to list all of mine because to you I’m grandma old and believe me my list would use up your entire wordpress comment page. But, here are some “Mary” notes on the subject.
    1. Bad student, remedial English throughout school. No college. Now a writer.
    2. No theater or voice training, yet was in plays, including musicals starting after the age of 26. Can’t remember shit now, so stopped that exhaustion.
    3. Had four years of group therapy that brought horrible memories, yet changed my life so that even colors look better.

    You are amazing in every way. Soooo glad to read your blog. Keep tellin’ it like it is. . .not like others think it should be!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. oooooh group therapy has always intrigued me! Did you stay with the same group the whole time? I love you list! What has been your favorite decade of your life so far?


    I gasped, I laughed, I thought OMFG, WTF and other acronyms full of expletives.
    I’ve been sitting at this damned computer for hours and my arse has gone to sleep – need to get some air to my legs.
    I’ll try and get the list done (or I may just copy one I did earlier – I’m a Virgo – it’s a trait)
    Ps. Happy Birthday x

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I love this lolol…how did you manage to suck in during sex?…I can definitely relate to the 5 for 25 kick…hahah… one day I woke up and I just stopped ordering just like that. I so looked forward to the panty party 7 for 25…:O… happy birthday, continue handling shit girl!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I love this. From start to finish. The part about your dad reminded me of a similar situation between my father and his father. My grandfather tried to reach out to Dad, but Dad never reached back. And my grandfather let it go, to his grave, in days.

    But then as I read further, I smiled all the way to the end. I turn 50, yes, FIFTY this year, and you’ve inspired me to make my list for the past 30 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I liked my 30s so much I’ve been 36 for 9 years now! I think I found myself, learned how to appreciate my body, and generally found a more comfortable version of myself in my own skin.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. There’s really no comment adequate to address what you’ve said. I’m so sorry your earlier years were so traumatic, then your dad being back on the horizon again… I think I would have blown over in the wind if something like that had happened. I love that you’ve evaluated what you’ve achieved and you should be incredibly proud of yourself. Sounds to me like you’ve got your shit together more than you may realise. I feel so far behind (I turn 30 in a few months’ time) and can’t say I’ve achieved hardly anything noteworthy, but perhaps if I think hard enough I’ll find a few things from the last 10 years. Here’s to more years of you being awesome – Happy belated birthday xx

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Ah welcome back, you have been missed. Love the post and the rest of your content.

    Happy late birthday, love the little section with what you have accomplished so far in life.

    I totally get what you mean about sneaking food into the cinema, i take my water with me (haha) as i don’t want to pay those pathetic prices.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Wow… just fucking WOW!!
    Happy 30th! Welcome back “Girl” you slayed this shit, no lie, your writing is brilliant, witty, and just really, fucking stellar!
    You are proof that you can rise above adversity and not have it define you in any uncertain terms.
    Be proud of the woman you have fought to become!! You made it!
    PS…being 51 is like being 30
    on steroids, you are past menopause, you are comfortable in your own skin, crows feet and all, and the best part is you can tell everyone what you really think and not give one flying fuck! So freeing!!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Happy Birthday!!!!!! I honestly feel like my 30’s have been more life changing than my 20’s were! However I didn’t drive until I was 24 I was so scared to any earlier! Great post thanks for sharing! Xo

    Liked by 2 people

  27. This is a fantastic list and a great post all around. I will be turning 30 in exactly 2 months and I am still not feeling all that great about it. :/

    Even the mailbox was like, “You’re fucking kidding right?”

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Happy Birthday! We all grow up in spite of ourselves. After living through a dysfunctional childhood I too managed to just celebrate 37 years with my husband, didn’t have good roll models but hey we are going strong. You are right no one has the right to mess with your day or life, don’t give them permission.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Dangnabit, isn’t there some kind of law in your country against giving people’s contact details out without their permission? (Especially to people with a history of violence?)
    That aside, that’s an impressive list of achievements for one decade. I’m pushing 32 now, and I’m wondering what I’ve achieved in the last couple of years. Well, I published a book. That’s probably about it, but hey, the decade’s young, right?
    I’m also learning to sew my own clothes and enjoying knowing what I want to wear, not trying to sartorially ‘find myself’ any more. If the 20s are about discovery and stepping out, maybe the 30s are about refining focus, being less bothered by all the lives you aren’t living, and committing to the one you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Happy Birthday!

    I’m new here but love your blog. You should be incredibly proud of your accomplishments! And just as I was getting down on myself for not having come quite as far as you I remembered “no one is allowed to shit on my life” not even me!!

    So I will carry that with me as I climb towards 30. I’m doing just fine and will continue to do better now that I’ve sucked all the poison out of my life and can finally begin to rebuild again!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Happy Belated Birthday.

    That was such an inspiring post. You taking life by the horns and you are smashing it.
    Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.
    Thank you sharing your story. That was such a trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I loved this post! Also, happy birthday gorgeous!
    I feel you so much right now, I really do. I’m very proud that you took the initiative and said enough, when it was completely your right to. Regardless of the crappy-ness (is that even a word), I hope you had an amazing birthday!

    I took had one of those liberating movements recently. I was working at a job I worked so hard to get and that was paying me A LOT and was a career stepping stone. However, they way my so called “client/boss/very rude person” treated me was getting out of control. I decided to screw the money, stand up for myself and demand the respect I deserved, because like you said, no one has the right to mess with my life like that! Safe to say they didn’t like that but there has been a massive change in attitude!

    Anyway, loved the post, as always! Glad you are back.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Welcome back and happy happy birthday!! It’s so good to catch up on your blog again.

    I know I just posted this tongue in check piece on adulting but honestly, welcome to the best part of being a grownup. Knowing when it’s time to give precisely zero fucks about something is remarkably liberating and it only gets better from here.

    Liked by 2 people

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