An Ode to Myself: Celebrating Ana

Well, my birthday has come and gone but I am still celebrating! First, I want to give a big THANK YOU to all who took the time out of their busy lives to send me well wishes. It was awfully kind and sweet of you. It also made my day! Last year was a little rough for me and the point of my solo “Austin Adventure” was to remind myself to be comfortable in my own skin, be kind to myself, be happy with very little and to love myself more, without anyone or anything validating my self-worth.

I started my morning with some prayer and meditation, then breakfast with my parents. I left Dallas by 8:00A.M. By 11:30, I was getting a pedicure and sipping on some vino. I stopped in Georgetown, Texas to visit Grape Creek VineyardsOn the Square. As a wine club member you get a free tasting everyday or a free glass of wine. The vineyard is actually located in Fredericksburg, Texas but they happen to have a tasting room in Georgetown, so it seemed fitting to make a quick stop. Afterward, I explored the town square and made my way into a little antique mall, called Rough and Ready Antiques. I bought myself a book published in 1907 called Poems With Power To Strengthen The Soul. It is a very special treat and I have enjoyed reading it before bed every night since my birthday weekend.

Then I made my way to Austin and visited the art exhibit I mentioned to y’all in the last blog. I walked around Austin for a bit and was able to check in a little early to my hotel. I made it just in time to drop off my luggage and make my next appointment. Now, don’t get jelly, but I scheduled myself a 1-hour massage and it was ah-mazing! It was part of my “love yo-self” challenge! Then, I went shopping for a birthday outfit and bought myself a Calvin Klein, LBD (little black dress). It was perfect for the occasion. Then I went back to the hotel to get dolled up for my next event. This is where all the birthday magic happened.

I arrived to a beautiful home nestled in the Austin hill country in West Lake Hills. This was the private and intimate soirée featuring pianist, Graham Yates and soprano artist Lucy Bergin. I can call them by name now, because not only did they put on an amazing performance, but we also made friends. It is even Facebook official! When I got there, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I was there alone, but as soon as I walked up to the front door, I was greeted by the pianist himself. He welcomed me in and directed me to grab a glass of wine and find a seat, as the show was soon to begin. The next person I met was Lucy, the soprano artist. She was very warm and sweet. When I finally made my way to a seat, I ended up front row and center, sitting right next to the next person I made friends with. Her name is Pat, and we became instant besties. The show started and Oh. My. God.

It was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. Totally gave all the feels. It was a very heart-felt and magical performance by both artists.

At intermission, everyone would get up and mingle, get wine refills and some snacks. Well that was when I met Pat. We ended up at the bar together. We had not formally met, although we were sitting next to each other. Neither one of us had really noticed to be honest. We realized it when we made our way back to our seats. Before we did, though, I met the owner of the home, chatted up with Lucy and that was when I told them, I was celebrating my birthday. I truly could not have chosen a better way to celebrate. Ironically enough, all the songs chosen for the performance were related to love, loss, heartbreak and finding yourself. It was absolutely amazing. As if God and the Universe conspired together to perfectly tailor the weekend, just for me.

But wait, it gets better—

Once the next intermission came around and everyone was making their way back to their seats, I hear the show starting without me, wine glass and snacks in hand! I walk into the room and was greeted with the most amazing “Happy Birthday” serenade ever! A mini opera, singing to me for my birthday, on my actual birthday with a room full of strangers and newly made friends. It was the absolute sweetest gesture. I was truly humbled and just overwhelmed with excitement. It was the most amazing birthday serenade ever! It will forever be one of the most memorable birthday experiences of my life. Honestly, I don’t know that anything could ever top that. After the show, Pat and I met up with Lucy to watch her band perform at a cool little bar in downtown. However, before we did, Pat and I made our way to the rooftop patio to check out the breathtaking view of downtown Austin. The next part of the night was pretty spectacular too. The Lady Jams put on a killer performance and gained a new fan. The night ended with more “Happy Birthday” serenades, selfies and of course, tacos!

The following morning, I woke up and had me a hearty-healthy breakfast, compliments of my swanky hotel. I debated whether or not I would take a hike or maybe attend church service, but time really did not allow for my jam packed itinerary. However, I was ever most gracious to God for another year of life, a wonderful birthday celebration and I was looking forward to what other surprises my weekend would hold and it did.

After breakfast, I checked out of my hotel and was right on schedule. I drove over the Texas State Capitol and enjoyed the free tour. If you have never been, I encourage you to do so. It is rich in history and pretty freaking awesome, especially if you are Texan! I had a wonderful time, learning new facts and exploring the Capitol. Right after, I made my way over to the University of Texas at Austin, for the last play of the season, Lost Girl. It too, was a wonderful play and happened to be the perfect ending to my birthday adventure. I even snagged a front row seat!

Finally, I made my way back to Dallas and as if that weren’t already the best birthday ever, to top it off, one of my sweet, dear friends, Alice, invited me over for a birthday dinner. She prepared an exquisite Italian dinner (my favorite) and we drank expensive dessert wine all the way from Napa Valley. It truly was an all around amazing birthday and I thoroughly enjoyed every single part of it. I cannot wait to see what this next year has in store for me. If it is anything like my birthday weekend, it will be full of sweet surprises!

Right now, I am at a place of peace and comfort, embracing and enjoying each passing day. Every day I learn more about myself and I am able to find joy in simply being myself, without any validation from any being. I just love me some me and I am happy just the way I am, flaws and all.

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