Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Happy Birthday, Suebob!

It's Suebob's birthday, people, and this is an occasion to celebrate.

Suebob and many tutus
photo credit: Average Jane

Suebob probably doesn't know it, but she has had a profound effect on my life.

When I went to BlogHer '10 last year, I was days away from coming to terms with the fact that I am an alcoholic. I had not talked to anyone about it, because I didn't want to face the truth of it. I didn't want to have to take action. I was terrified at the prospect of changing myself and my life.

One evening in particular, I sipped my drinks extra slowly through two parties, fighting the urge to pound back twice as many drinks in half the time. I was desperate and unhappy and isolated by my own silence. Every happy face served only to underscore the joy I no longer had the capacity to feel.

Just when I was certain I was going to be that variety of party girl who ends up weeping pathetically in the middle of a crowd, I found Suebob. She was an oasis in my personal desert, and when she invited me to sit with her, I nearly cried with relief.

Suebob and Goldie @ Ventura
photo credit: Joe Crawford

Suebob believes in humanity, community, and ethical conduct. She says what she means and she means what she says. She is honest and warm, and being near her helped me to snap back into myself. Something in me centred in a way that I had not felt for a very long time, in that way that makes you suddenly able to see yourself as a whole person rather than just a jumbled mess of fear and reactions to fear.

After we had a sat on the floor talking and eating shitty cheeseburgers for a while, I handed off my last drink tickets to another reveller and walked out of that room with the full sense that I was also taking a step away from a whole chapter of my life. I had seen myself, and I was ready. An essential part of me was shifting and growing, and I felt very clearly that I was walking out of history and into the growth of something new.

I have no doubt that sitting with Suebob that night moved part of me into a stillness that allowed me to recognize this sea change just when I needed to feel the shift and know it.

Suebob, this is why I'm making such a grand happy birthday gesture for you today. Who you are has a beautiful impact on the world you live in, and I'm thankful that you let me be in it with you, too.

Happy birthday, Suebob!

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One last thing: Suebob devoted her weblog to promoting 50 charities over the days leading up to her birthday, and I want to give a shout out to those charities here, too. In honour of Suebob, why not donate to one of the following organizations:

WriteGirl
International Princess Project
National Parks Foundation
Paradigm Project
ONE
Lupus Foundation of America
Scholarship America
Media Matters for America
Boys and Girls Club
Your Local Food Bank
Girls for a Change
Operation Smile
Wheels for Humanity
National Security Archive
Books for Africa
Seed Savers Exchange
MAP International
The Fresh Air Fund
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Arghand
Impact Personal Safety
Kristin Brooks Hope Center
Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
Light Up the World Foundation
Planned Parenthood
Doctors Without Borders
Heifer International
Team Rubicon
Kiva
The Carter Center
Bikes Not Bombs
Friends of Maddie
ProPublica
Surfrider Foundation
Livestrong
United Through Reading
Operation Shower
The Liz Logelin Foundation
KidSave
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Kids Vs Global Warming
Help a Mother Out
Direct Relief International
WriteGirl
Accelerated Cure for Multiple Sclerosis
Women for Women
Epic Change
Amnesty International

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