Happy First Birthday to Me

This is my birthday. Right here and right now. My name is Paul and look who is proudly one year old. Me! You read that right.

Last year I was nothing more than an intangible cluster of ideas. That was my birth into TCK TOWN.

You might think TCK TOWN is only a tour of external experiences of places we have been and things we have seen. It's more than that. There is the exploration of self. It is the why I am “me.” What experiences have I had that changed my life? The biggest surprises are about myself—my looking into things I once chose to leave covered, safe and ignored.

If you ever get the chance, go to a small temple called Tamagawa Daishi on the outskirts of Tokyo. You will see a very small and unassuming building. It belongs to the Shikoku 88 temple group. It was built like one down in their district as a replica. You take off your shoes and go down a damp, dimly lit stairway, which veers right. It gets very dark—so dark in fact you cannot see anything. You have to find your way through a small maze towards light in the most muted hues. Gradually it gets brighter; you are in a room with buddhas. The journey through the dark maze is your first, physical birth and emergence as a child. Then around a corner you go into dark again and back into another room of more buddhas. This second birth is the one of your rational and moral self. Then you find the stairs back up to the place you left your shoes.

In some ways, I might think my journey with TCK TOWN is much like that temple basement. I have had to blindly tap around, feel by faith and trust in myself and others in the group that I would make it through.

Ava was the woman who was there at my beginning. She was, for want of a better phrase, a midwife. She helped bring me to life and eventually set me on my feet.  

I have published for a year in TCK TOWN. We have gone through the usual phases of maturity and exploration. You learn; you grow; you live. I look back and sometimes I cringe. It's all good.
We as writers share, and we celebrate our lives.

I am now one year old and I am proud to be here. This is my family and it feels like home. For my friends like Steph, Farah, Danish, Anam, Anthony, Ash, and Ava I think of you as my family. I catch myself smiling when I am typing out your names. To our newer members, wait and see how much fun this can be. To our readers, read us and join us.

I have learned to laugh at myself first and laugh with others second. To understand the joy, to recognize the hurt, and grow from both.

So I look at my best friend in the mirror, and I say, "happy first birthday to me".