It’s my birthday today (yesterday by the time you read this), and I have a history of hating my birthday. As a kid, it was always fraught with who to invite to my party (which I was expected to have), and it only underscored what a loser I was. I remember one birthday (but not which one) in which I had friends over. I was blowing the candles out on the cake with all my friends watching, and I was utterly miserable. I felt like they were there because they felt they had to be (my depression started young), and I hated being the center of attention if I wasn’t on the stage.
In my twenties, I actively hated my birthday. I refused to say when it was, and I preferred to pretend it didn’t exist. It reminded me every year that I was still alive and that I shouldn’t be. I got really bitchy* a week or two beforehand, and it carried over for the next few days. I don’t think I can emphasize enough how toxic I thought me being alive was in those days. I thought I was actively harming the world by being alive (which is the weird egotistical part of having a low self-esteem–an outsized sense of impact–and I hated that I was too cowardly to kill myself.
It’s strange how my twenties were when I was both at my most depressed and when I was out doing the most things. I was involved in the theater community, which was probably one of the best experiences of my life. However, I stopped once I moved to the Bay Area for a short time (to get my MA), and I never started up again once I returned because I had a few big issues to deal with at that time.
I became less hateful of my birthday in my thirties. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. I would never offer it to someone else, but if they asked, I wouldn’t obfuscate and refuse to answer. I never made a big deal about it, but I didn’t freak out if someone else brought it up.
Side Note: My amusing birthday story. When I first started Facebook, you had to provide your birthday, and they displayed it. There was no privacy option at the time, so I used a fake birthday. I always do this online. I may not care about my birthday, but I don’t need others to have it. Anyway, I set it as one day in January, and I promptly forgot about it. When that day came around, my FB wall was flooded with birthday wishes. I was like, “What the–oh, right.” FB will still wish me a happy birthday every year on the fake day, and it’s still hilarious to me. Thankfully, now the setting is private so I don’t have to explain to everyone that it’s not actually my birthday.
Two or three years ago, I slowly realized that I didn’t hate my birthday or even really dislike it that much. I mentioned it casually and didn’t feel weird about it. Last year, I actually bought myself a piece of (gluten-free/dairy-free) cake and enjoyed it thoroughly. That’s because cake is the best, even when it’s a lie. Today, I ate a banana walnut chocolate chip (GF/DF) muffin, which was delicious. I will have GF/DF ice cream later and call it a day.
Not gonna lie. I still don’t love my birthday. I don’t dislike it, but it still brings with me the feeling of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.