- Rachel Burchfield
Happy birthday, Meghan
Today, our Duchess Meghan turns 38. She has packed so much life into those 38 years – she’s been a daughter. A half-sister. A Homecoming Queen. A Northwestern graduate. A Kappa Kappa Gamma. A freelance calligrapher. An actress. A Deal or No Deal briefcase girl. A breakout star in Suits. A humanitarian. A lifestyle blogger. A fashion designer. A feminist. A friend. A divorcee. Then, in 2016, she became the girlfriend of a prince, and you know what came next: A wife. A mom. A member of the British Royal Family. A global citizen. A world traveler. A cookbook author. A magazine guest-editor. A fashion designer, again. A recently announced children’s book author. A women’s empowerment icon. A duchess. All of that – and more – in 38 years, with a whole lot of life ahead.
But, while all of that is fantastic, take all of it away and she's still worthy of being celebrated, just as Meghan.
On August 4, 2016 – her 35th birthday, right after she had met Harry and right before the Botswana trip where they fell irreversibly in love – Meghan wrote this on The Tig, her completely underrated and totally fabulous lifestyle blog whose archives I’ve been combing through a lot recently: “My mom has always said that birthdays are your own personal New Year – your own chance to make resolutions just for yourself and what you prognosticate for your year ahead. And while I’ve always loved that sentiment, I have to say that when I close my eyes and think of what I wish for, I come up with a blank. A big old happy blank. I am feeling so incredibly joyful right now, so grateful and content that all I could wish for is more of the same. More surprises, more adventure, more opportunities to grow, more days filled with giggles and cheeky jokes, more delicious meals, and more inspiration. Always more inspiration.”
I think she got her wish.
But what I really want to do today is not use my words to highlight this occasion, but let Meghan do the talking herself. Meghan is an extraordinarily gifted writer, and this post she wrote again for her birthday, this time her 33rd, on August 4, 2014:
“I am 33 years old today. And I am happy. And I say that so plainly because, well…it takes time. To be happy. To figure out how to be kind to yourself. To not just choose that happiness, but to feel it. My 20s were brutal – a constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as cool/as hip/as smart/as 'whatever' as everyone else. My teens were even worse – grappling with how to fit in, and what that even meant. My high school had cliques: the black girls and white girls, the Filipino and the Latina girls. Being biracial, I fell somewhere in between. So everyday during lunch, I busied myself with meetings – French club, student body, whatever one could possibly do between noon and 1 p.m. – I was there. Not so that I was more involved, but so that I wouldn’t have to eat alone.
I must have been about 24 when a casting director looked at me during an audition and said ‘You need to know that you’re enough. Less makeup, more Meghan.’
You need to know that you’re enough. A mantra that has now engrained itself so deeply within me that not a day goes by without hearing it chime in my head. That five pounds lost won’t make you happier, that more makeup won’t make you prettier, that the now iconic saying from Jerry Maguire – ‘You complete me’ – frankly, isn’t true. You are complete with or without a partner. You are enough just as you are.
So for my birthday, here’s what I would like as a gift: I want you to be kind to yourself. I want you to challenge yourself. I want you to stop gossiping, to try a food that scares you, to buy a coffee for someone just because, to tell someone you love them…and then to tell yourself right back. I want you to find your happiness.
I did. And it’s never felt so good.
I am enough.”
Happy birthday to you – you special, wonderful soul. We are lucky to have you as our duchess. May this year be everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more.