It’s my birthday today (yesterday by the time this is posted). Normally, I’d shrug and move on because whatever. I’ve hated my birthday most of my life and actively pretended it didn’t exist for decades. I refused to say when it was, and I went as far as to put a fake date online whenever I had to provide a birth date. In fact, back in the early days of Facebook when you had to provide one and they published it without permission, I would have people wishing me a happy birthday in January because I picked a date at random. I would go to FB and see a dozen happy birthday wishes and think, “What the fuck? It’s not my birthday. Why are–oh, right.” I’m glad they’ve allowed the user to decide whether or not she wants to publish her birth date. I don’t care any longer, but I certainly did care for many years.
Then, about five or six years ago, I slowly went from loathing my birthday to being aggressively neutral about it to not caring about it. Was it taiji? Yeah, probably. At any rate, it was strange. What’s even stranger is that a year ago, I hated my birthday again. Not because of getting older. I don’t care about that in general*, but because of what normally haunts me on my birthday–the fact that I’ve wasted my life. For whatever reason, it hit me hard last year. Probably because I’m creeping up on fifty, which seemed unimaginable thirty years ago.
When I was a kid and a teenager, I would be dumbfounded when someone asked me about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not only did I not know; I didn’t see myself as an adult. I couldn’t picture it because I couldn’t fathom being alive. I didn’t want to be alive, and I couldn’t envision it. Me, someone who can imagine anything came up with a blank when trying to see into my own future. I didn’t think I’d make it past childhood, and it continues to surprise me that I’m alive. When I was in my twenties, I got it in my head that I would die when I reached the age my mother was–55. For a year, I was convinced this was true. Even then, I still couldn’t see anything about my future. I knew what I didn’t want–kids, specifically–but what did I want? I had no idea.
I didn’t feel as if I was really living my life or that I was a real person. It’s hard to explain because I know logically that I exist and that I’m moving through the world. But I don’t feel like an actual human being. It doesn’t help that I am invisible in this world. Asian, bisexual, woman, not married, no children, agnostic, fat, and a whole bunch of other qualifiers that render me worthless. The only way I matter now is that apparently it’s Asian women who are bearing the brunt of the anti-Asian sentiment. It’s not a problem, however, as I’m not going anywhere right now.
Anyway, my mom called last night at 11 p.m. I thought it was because I had sent her an email about some insurance thing, but no, it was because she was in a panic about not being able to call me today for my birthday.