The sun didn’t rise on my birthday (the horizon was far too hazy from all the wild fires), but I did. Something about another orbit under your belt makes you take a beat to reflect, and 33 was certainly one for the books.
They call it your “Jesus Year” because that’s how old he was when he died and rose from the dead. Metaphorically, that’s the age of rebirth for many people. I hadn’t thought about it while it was happening, but 33 was exactly that for me.
I went to see an energy reader/healer shortly after my last birthday. (I know that makes it sound like I have gone full Californian, but when you grow up Catholic, you’re basically raised to believe in magic, so it’s not such a stretch.) She told me a lot of things that were helpful and made sense, but the most dead-on was that this year would be extremely hard. “In fact, it’s going to suck,” she said, and she told me that I just needed to be strong and push through it, and I’d be transformed.
Without any exaggeration, that’s exactly what happened. In March, I broke off a six-year relationship that I came to realize was unhealthy and that was supposed to end in marriage. At five in the morning after yet another sleepless night of being berated (in a long chain of those types of nights), I arose from bed like a marionette on a string and calmly stated that I was going to take a shower, get dressed, and leave. I didn’t know what was happening at the time, but I did just that.
My body felt like it was on autopilot. My motions were mechanical: turning the nob on the shower, pulling on my clothes, even packing a bag. I grabbed things without thinking — a toothbrush, contacts, a change of clothes, a checkbook — as if a giant magnet was pulling my hands towards these things, not the other way around. It was as close to an out-of-body experience I’ve had.
It was still dark when I left, but I instinctively walked towards the park a block away and called my mom. She picked up immediately, knowing something was wrong. It was before six in the morning on a Saturday, after all. “Rachael-what’s-the-matter-honey-are-you-all-right,” she asked in the rushed, frantic tone she uses when a baby gets too close to a staircase and she calls out that one-syllable prayer: “Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph!”
I opened my mouth to speak, but all I could do was cry. And she just knew. “Oh, not again,” she said. I continued to sob into the phone, and when she said in a strained voice, like she was holding back tears, “Honey, you can’t keep living like this,” that’s when I knew I was never going back, and my Jesus year was just beginning.
It was hard. It was damn hard. I put a lot to rest in the months that followed. There was a lot to handle, logistically and emotionally. There was a lot I left behind, not unlike what happens when someone dies. But I handled it. With the help of countless friends, family, and co-workers, I pushed through. (It’s amazing who shows up when you need help in your life.)
The morning of March 18th, I sat in darkness on a park bench talking to my mom for two hours. I watched the sun rise over San Francisco, and I thought to myself “The sun it rises, and so will I.”
This morning of October 11th, I watched the dark purple fade to pink and orange swirls, and I couldn’t help but think back to that morning, and all the mornings since. Like the sun, I have inched my way above the horizon, getting brighter, warmer, and stronger by the minute, by the day.
I am rising.