Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering.
Tomorrow is my 31st birthday. Every year it gets to me. Every year there are so many mixed feelings involving it. This year is no different.
My birthday has always been raised to that “it must be special” level by my parents. Especially my mum. I always have to want to do something for it. It has to be planned in advance. It has to be forced. In my experience this has led to let downs and feeling that it’s not that special when it’s mine and things go wrong.
The thing is you can’t control everything. You can’t control illness. You can’t control other people. You can’t control world events. When I was small I had all those parties with my class attending. I always found them overwhelming and would more than likely end up in tears. I wasn’t exactly great with the whole friendship thing. I liked people. I played with people. But it was like an obsession with a different kid each week. Now I know some of that is normal (I’ve taught children) but I was obsessive. But I never let them into my feelings or thoughts. It was all about them. It often ended in tears.
As I got older the parties trickled off and it would be things like bowling or swimming. Finding a group of friends wasn’t hard. I spent time with a particular group most of the time. But I was not in the inner circle. It was an odd number group so you know who was often on their own when the whole group was there. They all had best friends within the group. I didn’t. It was hard work. Feeling on the outside at your own birthday sucks.
Then I got to 18. Yup turning into an adult. By then I was at sixth form college. I had made new friends. I felt more comfortable with them. I invited a fairly large crowd from different classes to go out. I guessed I wouldn’t get everyone as my birthday was the Friday and we started our A levels on the Monday. But people said they’d come. I was looking forward to it. The day arrived. Then they all but one dropped out. I’d got a large table booked at a pizza place and it hurt walking in there with one friend and saying things had changed. In the end it was another guy from college’s 18th the same day so we joined him in a club with all his friends. This hurt more.
After that I decided I didn’t want to do the celebrations with friends thing anymore. No one cared. No one wanted to celebrate my existence and by that time I was wishing I didn’t exist anyway. Birthdays were meant to be special for people. Obviously not in my case.
Don’t get me wrong I did little things to celebrate but I’d rather do small things or just things I enjoyed. This didn’t please my mum. She wanted to make it a big deal always. Not that she didn’t ruin it from time to time. And the days after with her made up for it.
The first thing I did for my birthday that I truly enjoyed was for my 21st birthday with my best friend. We went to Brighton for the day (not on my actual birthday but that was the reason). The weather was atrocious but I didn’t care. She made me feel special. We laughed and had fun. We took random pictures and created the story we’d burnt down Brighton pier. (long story but fun). I loved it.
After that birthdays got tricky again. I started working full time and that always takes out some of the fun. (Why do we buy the cake?). And then I became really unwell mentally. I mean I’d had mental illness there a long time already but this was when it took everything from me. My existence was not to celebrate but proof I was still alive when I didn’t want to be. I was a failure.
And this is where it is still at as well. I think of the failure to die over and over. I don’t want to live but this is pushed on me. Why should I celebrate me when I hate me? And others hate me?
There is also a selfish side. I love making people feel special on their birthday. I want them to know how much they mean to me. I rarely get this on my birthday. I do have a few friends who will send me cards and presents. And I’m so grateful for that. But I will see those who just forget. I will feel like that 18 year old all over again. I hate myself for feeling that way. I hate how self centred I am. I should be grateful for what I’ve got (and I am) rather than focusing on those who just ignore it.
At the end of the day I’m not special. I should not be celebrated. My existence is a burden. Not a pleasure. I don’t want to be alive. I don’t want to celebrate my failure. But I also want to feel special in some weird paradox. I have so much hatred for these mixed feelings and my selfishness.