30th Birthday Poem (W/O rhymes)

Photography by Joel Benjamin. Hair & makeup by Bre Welch

WOW, I’m 30. I could vent about how traumatic my 20s were between losing our family home to a fire, the devastating series of events that massacred the dynamics of my nuclear family, getting diagnosed with a rare and incurable illness, or losing a few friends to premature deaths BUT, I’d rather focus on the quirks & lesser known things I discovered / experienced over the last 10 years…

The volume of my snoring is not commensurate to my size
At home, you’ll find me sporting colorful muumuus and grannie panties
My mother alleges I have full-blown conversations and practice karate in my sleep
My skincare regimen includes 8-steps yet I never care to remove my makeup after a night out
The perfect night includes my blankie, a true crime documentary/Real Housewives/any JLo movie, and falling asleep before 9 PM šŸ’¤

I avoid revolving doors, porta potties, and gutters at all costs
I have emetophobia, misophonia, and arithmomania (look them up)
I have zero tolerance for ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, unsolicited hatred, and war
If you want to give me a panic attack, show me photos of Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, or Christ the Redeemer šŸ˜±

My memory is my most powerful weapon
I have a type A personality, value punctuality, and am a woman of longevity
I spend a lot of time on a daily basis wondering about dinosaurs, how big the universe is, and Pangea
I will speak in up to 4 different accents (not including my “Harvard voice”) in a single conversation without realizing it šŸ—£

I am 12.5% Burmese from my mother’s side
I’ve had red, pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, and black hair
Facebook’s facial recognition thinks I am my mother; I’ll take that as a compliment
My birth mark is on the tip of my tongue meaning I am privy to futuristic information šŸ”®

I love to emulate baby Thumper from Bambi
Wine consumption turns me into an extension of Satan
My dream vacation is to drive through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
Though lactose intolerant, I only eat the cheese on pizza and that too, with a fork and knife
I am not at all talented in the kitchen. Most of my food is inedible & masked with hot sauce šŸ¤® 

According to my sister, watching me flirt is cringe worthy
At social gatherings, you’ll find me hanging out with kids or dogs
My most prized possessions are my family and my perfume garden
I go out of my way to bark "good morning" to dogs on my walk to work
I am the proud narrator of an instructional video about digital rectal exams in the NEJM šŸ’©

There were times when I didn’t think I’d make it to 30 but I’m here, far from “normal”, content, eccentric, peculiar, and weirder than ever and I plan to keep it that way. Self-awareness is one of the most useful gadgets in my toolbox and knowing all these oddities will only better equip me for the next decade. Shout out to my mom for giving birth to me! With love, warm hugs, and many hiccup-filled giggles šŸ’— Sumz


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