Friday, April 22, 2011

Birthday Blues

Oh, birthdays. How is it that the day of my birth is met with so much frustration these days? It's not what you think; I'm not fretting over getting old. I'm friggin 20 years old, I've got my whole life ahead of me (provided that 2012 doesn't actually end with all the creatures on earth dying... or a zombie apocalypse). I'm excited about getting older, and I was really excited about this upcoming birthday considering it is the last interesting birthday until I turn 30. I mean, let's face it, once you turn 21, the rest of your 20s are kinda lame. Twenty-two through twenty-nine are largely neglected because legally, nothing much changes (except when you turn 25 and can officially rent a car) and thirty is only interesting because your twenties have suddenly passed you by and you desperately want to cling to your youth.

Anyway, I've spent my last few birthdays laying low, not wanting to make a big deal out of it because I didn't want to be the brat who always needed attention (even though we all know I'm an attention where at heart) and I struggle with both needing and fearing being the center of the universe. Here's how my birthdays have looked like since middle school:

  • 11th birthday- I think this one slipped by unattended. I probably got some birthday cards and a cake, but nothing fancy. No party, probably because I didn't have friends.

  • 12th birthday- this time I DID have friends, so we had a sleep over in our tiny apartment (but I wasn't complaining, I had FRIENDS!). We spent the day gossiping and eating cake, then I spent the night coughing up a lung and scratching at my throat. A couple days later I found out I had strep throat. Happy Birthday to me....
    Okay, not my birthday, but proof that I have friends! (this was actually laura's birthday. I bought that dino-candle holder. Cuz I keeps it real.)
  • 13th birthday- this one was definitely lame. I'm just saying, this one was actually really important to me. I mean, I was officially a teenager! Kind of a big deal! But that year my brother stole the show when he decided he wanted to be baptized. My parents were ecstatic and made a big to-do about it, and so my birthday was largely forgotten- I vaguely recall his baptism being either on my birthday or the day after, and either way I felt very neglected. I got one present that year, and it was a bible (sorry, but they get no credit for originality here). As a teen I thought this was the most ridiculous gift ever, if you could call it a gift. I thought, "how is this a gift if it's required reading?!" Of course, I read it anyway because I desperately wanted to please my parents. To be fair, my parents are great, and they've made a lot of good choices in regards to my upbringing, but this incident was not one of them! No worries, I forgave them (after all, they did provide food and shelter and love; all the rest is just a bonus).
    This is actually the exact edition I recieved on the big 1-3. Thanks, Google.
  • 14th birthday- this one was awesome. Remember the friends I mentioned in the 12th birthday? Well, they were still my friends! And they must have thought I was kinda cool, because they threw me a surprise party. Yes, I was totally surprised, I had no idea they had planned anything, and I felt super special. That was the nicest thing anyone had done for me at that point in my life, and it totally made up for not having an all-American 13th birthday bash. I still have the birthday cards I got from that party. And the Blues Clues party hats.
    Um, Blues Clues? Yes, Please!
  • 15th birthday- um..... I think this one was skipped.  I'm pretty much positive that there was no party, and I don't remember gifts. I probably feigned indifference, but on the inside I was disappointed.

  • 16th birthday- no, I didn't have a magical sweet sixteen. However, I spent the two weeks before my birthday in England on a school trip. Sacrifices had to be made (and it was totally worth it).
    This is where I was around the time of my 16th.
  • 17th Birthday- again, no party, but I celebrated my birthday in Germany on another school trip, in which I spent my days eating bread and cheese because apparently there are no vegetarians in Europe (I also had eggs. Or nothing at all, depending on the day). I did get a birthday treat a month later- I saw the musical Rent with my dad in San Francisco. It's pretty much the best musical ever, so it was one of the coolest birthday presents I've ever gotten (thanks dad!).

Me, on my 17th birthday, in Germany. That thing on fire? It's a snickers bar.

    Obviously I'm not with my dad here.  But seriously, Rent is kind of a big deal.
  • 18th birthday- it was a Sunday. I went to the local park with my friends Angela, Jenny and Michaela, stocked with caprisun juice packs, a bag of chips, and smiles on our faces. And then we took an impromptu trip to the mall. It may have been a small celebration, but I got to spend the day with my closest friends, and it was the summer after graduation; it was so freeing just to be out and about without having to ask permission from our parents! That was our second to last outing as a group. I miss them a lot....

  • 19th birthday- I spent the day at work.
    Me, after a long day's work, on my 19th Birthday.  Wearing red, because I worked at Target. Yay...
  • 20th birthday- I spent the day at work.

Not on by birthday. However, this is where I was on my 20th.
 Which leads us to now: the big one. The one we've all been waiting for. The one where I thought, "finally! I get to have a party, with people all gathered to see ME, and I get to receive presents and not feel selfish, and I get to have a day that is all about me, no distractions, no people to please, no pretending that I'm too modest or humble to be a queen for the day. No! This time my birthday will not be pushed to the wayside, I will NOT let this one pass me by because I think no one cares. It's my day, damnit!"

And then I went and did the exact opposite. I told people, as if possessed by some evil spirit, that it was no big deal, and I didn't care what we did for my birthday. Instead of it being about me, I made it about no one; I turned it into just another day on the calendar. Now its practically may, two months before my birthday, and it looks like I will be spending it at work, again. The excuse will he that no one wants to come out on a week night, people already made plans for the weekends in June, no one has time, and I don't want to be an inconvenience. Somehow, I have managed yet again to push myself to the lowest priority on everyone's list. I have a habit of telling people that some of the most important events in my life are not a big deal, convincing them that I don't care and they shouldn't either. But I do care, and it IS a big deal.

I'm very good at shooting myself in the foot. Life would just be too easy if I didn't get in my own way.

Oh, Birthday Blues, we meet once again. I must admit, I'm disappointed that I must looked at your ugly mug for another year, but that's the way the cracker crumbles. Who wants cake?

1 comment:

  1. we need to make your birthday epic. So I think I will request that day off and come visit you. Sound good?

    Because seriously seeing you drunk is going to be awesome...just saying. :)