Happy (?) Birthday…

Or… an exercise in how to make a mess out of what should be simple.

This month I endured another birthday.

That sounds jaded and cynical. I don’t mean it to be, it’s just that so much is made of birthdays. You’re “supposed” to make a big deal about them. You’re so often asked, “what are you doing for your birthday?”

The answer I would like to have given is “nothing.” The more polite version, the one I actually used, was “I don’t know…”

Here’s the thing of it. I am uncomfortable with the idea of a day that encourages you to be selfish with abandon. At least, that’s how it is in the United States. Once I broke away from being a kid, where my birthday was one of the few days of the year on which I might get a new toy or game, it didn’t matter so much.

Now, my birthday is as much for my parents’ benefit as my own. It makes them happy to celebrate their son. My enjoyment from the day comes more so from the joy they gain.

But it tends to make me sad. I’m sad because I wanted so much this time around to tell the world “f u” for a few moments and be left alone. I am so burned out on dealing with the general public, customer service and work life in general that the best gift I could be given was to be removed from that for awhile. To just, not talk for awhile. But I was overwhelmed by my burden to make my loved ones happy, to let them do for me and fuss about how they wish they could do more. I am humbled to have people who care for me so, but I am saddened by my wish to be left alone, by how much it would hurt those who don’t understand; I am saddened further by that unfortunate, dark corner of my brain that whispers to me: “don’t pass up the chance to be with those you care for on this ‘special’ day. For some, that chance will never come again.”

And then I find myself in sorrow at just the thought of not having certain people in my life come my next birthday. In sorrow and pessimism on what people tell you is supposed to be one of your happiest days of the year. It took almost an entire day’s worth of reflection for me to realize that giving into those thoughts was me giving into the fear of possibly losing those whom I care for most. Almost as bad, was me giving back into the dark train of thought telling me I didn’t deserve the gifts or nice things people did for me on my birthday. It took me hitting the proverbial wall today for me to understand that although there are things I need to work on, demons inside me that still need contending with, there’s nothing wrong with me saying that I too deserve to be loved and shown affection by those whom I care about.

One particular person involved with this, I know she will read this. I am sorry for whatever negativity I inflicted upon you because of how I reacted to this day. I hit nearly the bottom of depression’s well today. What I can take away from my journey back out is how not to fall into the same trap again. A trap set by own feelings and the unspoken pressures of our culture.


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