The truth is, I hate my birthday.
Every year when my birthday approaches, I get antsy and have constant panic attacks. I just want that day to pass without even thinking about it. I don’t want to know that it’s my birthday. Some years are better than others because I freak out more about my age than the fact that it’s my birthday. But other years, like this year in particular, I dread it.
Fact: my birthday scares the shit out of me.
Growing up, birthdays are not days of joy, happiness or feeling special. It’s a day of fear, pain and anguish.
As a child, teenager and part of my young adult life, I was abused. Not physically, though corporal punishment was a form of discipline via a 2×4, I was abused mentally and emotionally by my mother. Each day growing up was a day of constant fear and morale busting. However, birthdays were always the worse. Those were the days that hearing the words: “stupid,” “fat,” “idiot,” “dumb,” “worthless” and “failure” (among many others), stung the most.
I weep for anyone growing up in a first generation household. The poor child deserves better. Way better. No person, child or adult, should ever be treated this way. But most importantly, every person, especially as a child, deserved to know and be loved.
The first birthday I can actually remember that was joyful and made me truly happy was when I turned 20. I was in Grant Park in Chicago with 3 of my dear college friends watching a movie during “Movies in the Park.” After that was my 21st birthday when my best friend, Matt Charles, took over the reign and helped me celebrate my legal drinking age. Since then, I can’t remember a birthday where I was happy. 26 years and I only had 2 birthdays worth remembering.
There have been highlights here and there, but nothing that brings joy. Deep down, I wish that one day when I have a party, people would attend. That one day I will have a surprise party. One day where I can be in hugging distance of all my dear friends. A day when my own birthday doesn’t scare me. But this year isn’t the year.
True, I have had parties the last few years, but it has always been before my birthday and I have called those parties my “unbirthday.” I don’t celebrate being a year older, but I celebrate the end of a wonderful year. Honestly,the only thing I’ve looked forward to my birthday is the fact that I get to run 10 miles. Ever since I started running, my 10 mile run has coincide with my birthday and it brings me the most joy. Most of the time it’s alone, though one year, MOzzie & AAron did join me.
And yet, this year I won’t have the opportunity to do it. I do get the pleasure of going to Disneyland this year (vs traveling again) on my birthday. However, what scares me is that for a change, I’m with others on the day of fear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited to hang out with Nico, Jenn, Ashley & Katherine. But in my mind, I know I’ll be treating it like a regular day to avoid the pain of my childhood.
My heart weighs so heavy now, even though my birthday is still 5 days away. My only consolation is that I will be able to finally celebrate my golden birthday (27 on 27). But even then, it’s still a birthday.
Please know that I do not want you to feel sorry for me. I am sharing this to you because I have kept it as my own burden for too long. Do not feel pity for me, but know that I have come a long way.
And so, I ask you to stay tuned because on my birthday, I have a request for you. A request that I hold dear to my heart and I hope together, we can make it happen. A request that would not only bring a smile to my face, but to many others. So please come back on the 27th of July and help make my birthday wish this year come true.