Screaming In

Aih. / Foter

Cake. Presents. Parties. What’s not to love?

A lot, actually. But it’s not what you think.

I don’t mind getting older. The more of the temporal stream I have tucked under my belt, the better I feel. For one thing, I have my own car and bank account now. Which means I can pretty much escape any situation I need to. Such was not always the case when I was a wee thing.

What do I hate about birthdays?

I hated how everything always had to be Perfect. If it wasn’t Perfect, I had failed to be loving or anticipatory enough. I hated the subtle digs about how I had ruined the world by being born all day. I hated the double chores, I hated being on eggshells the entire day, I hated the inevitable explosion when I did not produce enough gratitude, or when my face held the wrong expression, or when I didn’t correctly anticipate someone’s mood and needs.

I love other people’s birthdays. I flat-out adore making cakes for my kids and seeing their faces light up, I love calling my sisters and singing my Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday. I love surprising people with pretty things on the anniversary of their arrival on this planet, because I cannot imagine the world without them. I feel such delight in doing those things for other people, it’s almost shameful.

But my own anniversary is something I’m trying desperately to forget. I wish the day would disappear in fire, and I do my best to unremember it. Every year the loathing gets fractionally less, a bit of desensitization therapy, I guess. Maybe when I’m 80 I’ll finally feel like I’ve earned a place or just some breathing room, and make my peace with the day I came screaming in.

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Vollzin
Vollzin

I don’t like the days around my birthday, mainly because of this need of everything be Perfect. Sometimes I got a sad mood because I know the day won’t be tha Perfect — and that being born is not so wonderfull (I generally got depressed in my birthdays, but my therapist didn’t say that’s big problem). I understand you, I pretty much prefer throwing parties to others and giving gifts for others than being the one who receives it.
I hope you got 80 still writing wonderfull books and that I keep my place as a fan!

My wishes!

Ariadne
Ariadne

I thought I was the only one who is always depressed around my birthday. However, like you, I absolutely love making cakes and favorite meals for my children on their birthdays. Maybe 80 will be a magic number for me as well.

Marne O.
Marne O.

Best birthday present ever was when the crab had you sing happy birthday to me over the phone. That was a special kind of awesome ;-)~ Since celebrating your bday isn’t your thing I hope that today was quiet, uneventful and maybe included wine. Cheers & squish, squish.

Summer
Summer

I have had some really crappy birthdays. Including one that was forgotten by my entire family. But when my kids became teenagers and I realized that I made it as a single mom and my kids were whole and fairly intact….I decided I deserved my birthday even if I was the only person that cared. I lived thru each of those years and damn it I’m gunna party like it!

Colleen Champagne
Colleen Champagne

I was very lucky. My grandmother made sure all 4 of us kids had a special day for our birthday. We picked out what food we wanted, what kind of cake and our present so we got exactly what we wanted no matter what. It was a nice break from the crazy parents and we all knew we were loved.

Your experience has made you into that person, like my grandmother, who wants to make your loved ones feel special and it sounds like you do a super job of it.

Nerdy
Nerdy

Well I, for one, am glad you came screaming into the world and continue to have birthdays. Your books and blog bring a great deal of enjoyment to me and make my world a better place!

Mallory
Mallory

My mother shares the same loathing for her birthday as well. Every year she’d tell us not to get her anything just a cuddle and a kiss and she would be happy. No cakes, presents or anything birthday related as it brought up to many painful memories. Yet when my birthday or family member had a birthday roll around she would do whatever we wanted, however we wanted if it was in her power to do so. She would make sure the day was always celebrated by making us feel loved and special. It wasn’t until I was much older… Read more »