The Year I Almost Ruined My Birthday

Birthdays were never something I looked forward to when I was younger. I’m 32 and I can think of four, possibly five, birthdays that were pleasant. Most were uneventful and that is my preferred way for my birthdays to go. The happy highlights include my 11thbirthday, party at Chuck E Cheese’s with everyone from my class; my 26thbirthday, the girl I was dating at the time made the day all about me; my 27thbirthday, my roommate and I had a pirate party and most people there didn’t know it was my birthday.

The not happy highlights include my 15thbirthday, my mother got a restraining order on me (and my father, his girlfriend, and my oldest sister) and the court date was my birthday; my 16thbirthday, the family and I were broke down about 20 miles outside Albuquerque, NM waiting for the engine to cool down so it could overheat 20 miles later; my 17thbirthday, I had a party at my house and two people came. I had never met the second person at my party. All other birthdays are just like any other day and that is my preference.

All these birthdays, both happy and not happy, involved situations that were out of my control. Either bad things I had no control over or someone else planned the party. I have yet to plan a party for myself that succeeded. Maybe I’m just bad at planning parties. Per usual, this year I made no plans for my birthday. I had turned off my birthday settings on my Facebook page and convinced myself that no one would care about celebrating my birthday. This was my first mistake and I felt depressed for a few days leading up to my birthday. The night before, I turned on the birthday setting again.

A few people kept talking about my birthday and asked what I was doing. This perked me up a bit but by then it was too late to make any decent plans. Someone suggested attending a Greek Festival. I had no real interest in this. I mentioned I wanted time alone with a steak dinner and watching a movie. This was a half-joke half-truth. I wouldn’t complain if I had time to myself, but I did want to see a few people on my birthday. I decided to give my sister the contact information for my friends that I wanted to see and left it in her hands.

Nothing was planned. I hoped I could at least enjoy some time to myself that evening at home. My sister was staying with me for the last few months in my tiny one-bedroom apartment and time to myself was rare. She made the joke on more than one occasion that she would plan this epic party and invite everyone I know except me and I would stay home and enjoy a steak dinner. Or she would say she was planning a party where everyone celebrated in their own way at their own homes.

That day, someone I had only just met offered to buy me a pastry. They insisted, and I enjoyed eating something sweet. I felt a little selfish, but I also wanted to feel special. My sister got me a Ninja Blender. It was something I would use and small enough to have in my tiny kitchen. My sister sat on the couch that evening binge watching TV. That’s when the negative thoughts started. Since I wouldn’t have time alone, I thought I would go out for a drink and invite some people out with me. I showered and changed.

I made it to one place I had wanted to go since it opened. It was crowded. I had a beer anyway. I chose to go somewhere else. It felt weird being out alone. I suddenly didn’t want to be around people or crowds and didn’t even want to invite anyone out. I didn’t want to drink. I wanted to read a book and be alone. I drove myself to a Barnes & Noble just before they closed and bought two books. My birthday gifts to myself. This eased my negativity, but it all came back when I got home.

My sister was still binge watching so I grabbed my bag with a book and writing notebooks and I went to Starbucks, where I work part-time. The ladies working briefly sang Happy Birthday. Just enough in an attempt to embarrass me but not long enough to annoy me. It was kind of perfect. I talked with them for over an hour and this helped settle my mind. The negative thoughts still lurked beneath the surface. Sleeping would put my mind back into the right place, but I knew it wouldn’t take much to push me back over the edge.

I almost ruined everything by getting angry because no one was spoiling me but given my birthday experiences, I think I’ve earned a little spoiling. Maybe one day I’ll find that special someone who goes all out planning something for me. I imagine I’ll have a few more mundane, uneventful birthdays before that happens. I’ve realized I don’t communicate or express my needs, wants, and wishes and I’m sure this is why I don’t get the things I want. I thought I had always made it clear what I wanted, but each day I learn something new about my condition. One day I’ll figure out this whole human thing.

To summarize, it was another uneventful birthday, and this was my own fault. I didn’t do anything to make it eventful. I don’t know that I will do anything special next year. I don’t think about my birthday the way other people think about theirs. I don’t think about most holidays like others. I have a long way to go with no end in sight. All I can do is keep working hard and moving forward. For now, I need to tell people what I want.

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14 Replies to “The Year I Almost Ruined My Birthday”

  1. You know i never liked my birthday either.My parents used to throw me parties at roller skating rinks etc. i used to throw up the morning of and dod not even attend one of my own parties one time. My last birthday I spent in jail so that was uneventful to say the least. i know how you feel about birthdays.You are not alone

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You have memories of birthdays although they are memories that have left you wanting more. At least you have memories where some have at least tried to celebrate the gift of your life here on earth. Count it with a feather-like touch of joy with a twist – O-O. Give yourself permission to consider celebrating the event in the way YOU want to celebrate it and chose to invite only those you truly would like to spend time with and make it an event to remember to break the negative strands of despair that continue to surround a day that truly meant to be honored. May your path forward be blessed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice post James. I haven’t and don’t celebrate my birthday because I don’t like the fus of it so it just comes and goes like any other day.

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I go through the same thing on my birthday. In my head I imagine all the things people could do but I don’t communicate it and down play what I would like. I’ve decided I’m not celebrating anymore to avoid expectations. Happy belated birthday btw!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. At my age (77) birthdays are a celebration of being alive. I’m sorry your birthday experiences have been so awful. All birthdays are not perfect. Maybe next birthday plan something just for you…a massage, attending a play…anything you can afford and enjoy.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I defintely emphatize with you here! I am 30 and I have always had the worst birthdays. My 21st birthday was spent at work and then I went to applebees and ordered the most disgusting margarita ever. I’ll be 31 this year and my birthday falls on Thanksgiving so my hopes aren’t high. I did have an amazing 30th birthday so I think I will ride that high for the next few years! Happy belated birthday!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have a vivid memory of a birthday party when I was around 7 or 8. I can’t remember why, but I had a meltdown before my birthday party and my mother’s response to try to get me to stop crying was to scream at me and threaten me if I didn’t stop crying immediately, which of course, only upset me more and made me cry harder. That was a miserable party 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I once said that I hate birthdays because “they’re like every other day except people keep telling me to be happy.” 🙂
    This year, when I wrote on my blog about how sad it was, etc., one of the commenters said just what you did. She said I need to decide exactly what I want and to ask for it. It sounds to me like you’d like more excitement without more stress. So, tell your sis or best friend or whoever that you want to have a group of people go out for steak then watch some shows and blow out a candle on a cake.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s a good thing to let people know what you want. Try it. It’s very liberating. And, it gives you such a sense of self. Take pride in you, and others will too. Happy birthday my friend🎈🎂🎈🍰🎈🎉🎉🎉

    Liked by 2 people

  10. One thing I have realized later in life (I’m 44) is that sometimes what I “want” isn’t what I really want. Sometimes it’s what I “should” want. Sometimes it’s the fantasy version of it that I want. It has helped me a lot to do my best to be ok with what actually feels good to me.

    I too like the idea of going out for drinks with friends at a fun bar. The reality? I hate how loud it is and would enjoy my time much more at home – with or without some friends. And I’m ok with that now. Recognizing that and accepting that has really helped.

    Happy belated birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am very sorry to hear your memories attached to your birthday are unpleasant and awful. I can’t say I have many bad memories attached to my birthday specifically, however I don’t give a damn about birthdays or understand why people make a big deal out of them. Every living thing on this planet has a birthday. A spider has a birthday, but you don’t see me walking along the street wishing insects a happy birthday. Well I could but everyone would probably think I am nuts, which I am but that would attract more unwanted attention. xD Two days are important the day you were born which is yes your birthday and the day you die. Birthdays are always just another day for me really and when people make a big deal out of it I want to crawl in a hole and hide because they create things like social anxiety that I struggle horribly with. I think from now on you should celebrate your birthday in the way you want and surround yourself with positivity and not negative mofos trying to bring you down. But to me birthdays are just another day and they can be great or horrible like any other day of the year.

    Like

  12. “One day I’ll figure out this whole human thing.” Do we or just how to navigate amongst those who have? Some days it feels an impossibility. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Never give up see at least u are better and much vocal about things people mask u are a believer and and will never be hurt I pray u find peace and love 🙏🏿

    Liked by 1 person

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