Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’ll be 41.
I have never really liked my birthday, to be honest.
I don’t like parties.
And I don’t really like forced sentiment.
So social media actually made my birthday a nightmare for several years.
Lots of empty, ‘Happy Birthday!’ wishes from people who the other 364 days of the year don’t give a flying fuck about me. No thanks. Once I figured out how to turn that alert marker off, it was a huge relief.
But my birthday still feels to me like a day that’s supposed to be about the people who care about me making me feel celebrated and appreciated for existing (that’s what birthdays are supposed to be once you’re out of infancy/early childhood, right?…I mean birthdays for kids under 5 or maybe under 12 are arguably for caregivers to celebrate that you managed to keep that kid alive for another year). But they never have felt that way. Other than J, I feel like an afterthought with everyone else, if I’m thought of at all, and I don’t think the social media reminder changed that at all. My birthday has historically felt like a day to highlight my grand failure at forming meaningful connections with other people. And it’s also oddly and unfortunately attached to losing my first pregnancy now. So every year for the past 13, I’ve been PRETTY down leading up to and immediately after my birthday.
I tried the charity thing. Which works at making me feel better when I’m down a lot of the time. Make my birthday not about me, and then I’ll hate it less. Making things about other people always seems to add to my enjoyment of them and the importance I assign them in my head. And the Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s Association is around my birthday every year (convenient). But it ended up amplifying the negativity, because not only did my family not give a shit about my birthday, but they also (and more importantly…and more disturbingly) couldn’t be bothered to care about the disease that killed their mother/grandmother and I felt frustrated like I was trying to herd boneless cats. I bet if they had a beer drinking and sitting on your ass-a-thon for Alzheimer’s they’d all gladly show up in droves and enthusiastically participate without being hounded.
Last year, my brother chose the weekend of my 40th birthday to move out of my parents’ house. So I spent last year…my 40th birthday…moving boxes for my brother. The year before that, his girlfriend (now his wife) didn’t like the restaurant I chose to celebrate at and she didn’t like the inconvenience of getting ready early in the day for brunch instead of lunch or dinner, so I changed the plans. For other people. On my birthday. I’ve put on 10 pounds since my birthday last year because my mother is bored with my brother out of the house and gets passive aggressive if I turn down a lunch date with her at a restaurant now. I’m expected to have at least one restaurant meal a week with my mom and one meal she cooks for us (which is never even remotely healthy or moderate in any way), and sometimes more restaurants. If I tell her I’m not interested, she tells me that I’m actually very thin (I’m not) and does the whole ‘fine if you don’t want to’ shit and sometimes implies that J is too focused on my dress size and physical appearance and he should love me fat (he is not focused at all on my dress size…he doesn’t even KNOW my dress size…and I never wear make-up or spend much time and effort on fashion or my hair, and spa/beauty treatments freak me out because of the strangers touching me, and J does love me fat…but sometimes I don’t want to go out with my mom). And she kinda knows she made me feel like shit (although she still claims to not understand WHY) at my brother’s wedding this summer, so of course now I’m getting, ‘Anywhere you wanna go and whatever time and blah…’ for my upcoming birthday. I don’t even know what to tell her. I love food so much I’m addicted to watching food shows on television, but nothing sounds good for a birthday meal. I just feel flat, like I don’t want to do anything or eat anything or…anything.
J can manage to make me not hate all of my birthday, but…I mean…he’s it. I only like his part of it. Removed from J’s effort (he proposed on my birthday…and he has planned some great dates for my birthday) though? My birthday sucks. I didn’t even like them as a kid, which I wrote a whole post about before here.
I’m done with that this year. I’m done with trying to make my birthday about other people to make it a more valuable day, and I’m done with J feeling like it’s his responsibility to make me like my birthday. This year is about me. I’M fucking celebrating ME. I’d say ‘pardon the language’ there, but…I like the F word, and it felt natural there, so I’m not sorry. That’s just me. I’m tired of apologizing and feeling guilty for existing and being me. I’m tired of making myself more palatable and convenient for other people. I’m tired of serving and accommodating other people who don’t reciprocate that.
To celebrate my own birthday for me this year, I’m hawking books. I have ALL my titles on sale except for The Building Series for the following week in ebook formats.
BUY MY BOOKS HERE!
They’re only $.99 a copy! You can damn near get my entire body of work for $9.
And I’ll never put Lit on sale, because I want The Trevor Project to get full profits, not discount profits, but if you REALLY want to make my birthday great this year, grab one of these $.99 titles and *also* buy Lit at full price (in ebook or paperback format) and help me give more of my money away. I’d honestly love nothing more than to write a big check to TTP for my 41st birthday and feel doubly good about myself. To feel like my existence matters. That people like the things I make. That I’m doing at least a small amount of good in the world. That some people besides J and The Boy and me maybe are glad I’m around…that I exist…that I’m worth celebrating.
Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to me.