The thing about birthdays

Today's a rare occasion which calls for a rare blog post. It's my birthday! Yay!

(all pictures were taken today, on my best birthday ever, doing all the things I love)

But I haven't always reacted to the 23rd of December that way. Ever since I turned twelve, it's been kind of a touchy subject, and now it's turned into a family joke. Yesterday when the clock was about to tick 00:00, my parents asked: "So, any age crises or hate speeches about your birthday planned?"

Okay, so I should probably tell you what happened on my birthday seven years ago.

It begins with little girl with a big dream. At that time I wanted to be a singer. I'd participated in my school's talent shows and little contests, but I was completely ready to make it in the real world (or so I thought, but who could've told me that bullying and a severe case of stage fright would get to me so hard just two years after that... But that's a whole other story for another time).

At that twelfth birthday begun a habit that's been tormenting my birthdays ever since: thinking about everyone my age who've achieved much cooler things in their lives than me and hating on everything I've done all my life. (You know how you sometimes stop to think about some stupid thing you said three years ago. It was like that, but even cringier.)

I know, sad. Kids all around the world have much worse problems and there I was complaining that I'd survived yet another year.

So that was how it went down each year after that. Last year it started well, but then I wrote a list of twenty or so points about why my birthday was the worst day of the year and then presented it in front of my whole family and cried.

But that's where this year's birthday comes in. Why is it any different this time?

During this year I've really worked on myself. Most importantly self respect and self love. When December came around and I started planning what to do on my birthday, I also started making a mental list of all the reasons my birthday is the BEST day of the year.

I realized my birthday isn't the day to hate on myself and belittle all my accomplishments.

That's what New Years is for.

Just kidding.

I just had to stop taking things so seriously. I don't have to grow up just because I'm a legal adult (have been for a year... wow, I'm old) . That says nothing about what things I can like or what I can do on my free time (except that as an adult I can go to night clubs and stuff, so I guess that's kinda cool).

My birthday is the best day of the year because it's a celebration of how far I've come, of all the things I've done and all the fears I've overcome. It may be a slow progress sometimes, but that's totally okay. Nineteen years isn't even 20% of my entire life.

I don't need to have everything figured out yet. I don't need to be a teen author or find success before my twenties to be worth some fun and  have right to celebrate my birthday.

And if Peter Pan thinks I'm too old for Neverland, I'll just have to build my own.

Which is super awesome, and possible, because of all the things I've done and gone through during these 19 years. The thing about birthdays is that they're everything you make them.

In a way, they're just like regular days. Just a little more special. Because cake. (although I could just eat cake every day since I'm so grown up. Aww yeah)

So happy birthday, me. In your own weird way, you're pretty awesome.

Share this with someone who hates their birthday, or just struggles with growing up as much as I do :)

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!


No writing progress: reinventing myself

Nearly every post I've made on instagram for the past month has been full of apologies. Apologies for not writing enough, for not sharing my journey enough, for not inspiring people enough. I've felt like I'm not BEING enough.

The truth is that I've felt inadequate to speak, to write, to feel and to do pretty much anything. One of the worst feelings ever is to never be satisfied with oneself.

In many ways, I've also become much better at appreciating and loving myself this year, but this fall has been one of the toughest few months of my life.

So much has happened, and the first memories that pop into my mind are the happiest moments I've ever been blessed with. They feel glazed-over, blurry almost, as if they weren't really mine. They feel like surreal dreams and ever so often I have to pinch myself to remember how amazing life has been to me, and how much I've grown and learned this year.

I was beyond excited for university, to be a real adult and enter the big world of possibilities, wonder and the awesomeness I'd only read about in books and seen in movies—the kind of stuff I didn't really think I'd be able to experience myself.

I wrote full-time for a few months in the spring, launched my website, traveled multiple times without my family, made incredible new friends, said goodbyes and hellos, danced til 3 am (and then realized I had no idea how to get back home). This year I've seen myself become much braver. 

There were days when the introverted part of me wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there forever, and days when I hated the idea of going to school because everyone else where so much more talented, experienced and able to say things without tripping over words and forgetting how to say normal phrases in Finnish.

Most of those days I did what I had to anyway, tried to ignore those feelings but still felt guilty for them. I had every single reason in the world to be the happiest girl on earth. Why was I still hurting? Why couldn't I act like everyone else? And why in the world was I so tired and sick all the time?!

Some days I escaped, hid away, pushed things forward or just didn't do them at all. Some days it wasn't my choice.  I was sick a lot and had problems with my health all the time. It was a good excuse when I couldn't physically write. But most days I couldn't write, talk to anyone or not even face the real world because I didn't feel good enough to even exist.

I like to think of myself as a self-aware person who listens and cares about herself. But this fall has made me realize that I lie to myself all the time. I lie that I'm fine and that I'll just do everything I need to do tomorrow, until it just becomes too much and I can't do simple, normal things because I break so hard.

These past few months have basically only consisted of cycles of me tearing myself apart and gluing myself back together.

The truth is that I haven't been able to write for about two months. The truth is that I don't want to write instagram posts and lie about writing when all I can write is one line and then close the document because it makes me so guilty. I felt lazy and I hated myself for it. I was a terrible procrastinator, but the things I did to avoid writing were also kind of necessary to cope with the rest of my life.

I'm not sure exactly what to think of myself right now, but luckily I still have time to figure out who I want to be in 2018. There's one week left until my nineteenth birthday, and I'll spend this time doing things I love—which includes writing on my novel and reminding myself of how much I love it, painting and crafting Christmas presents for my loved ones.

Who I have been the past year or who I am right now doesn't really matter.

Why glue together broken pieces when I could get a completely new, shiny vase? :)

This won't be my last post of 2017, that's a promise. No more apologies, no more guilt and no more feelings of not being enough.

You're perfectly enough the way you are, and so am I. All you really need to do is to smile more, because there won't ever come a day when the world won't need the joy you have to give.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!