I Don't Celebrate My Birthday; That's Alright
Birthdays hypothesize that friends will come, have fun, and celebrate your life. After two entire no shows, how can I rely or trust the people to celebrate my life? Is my life worth celebrating?
But I don’t blame them. Their lives (in their eyes) are important and when your birthday falls on a Monday and a national holiday—you really aren’t give room to celebrate. I used to be a birthdayzilla with balloons, cakes and the whole shebang. I love making birthdays, gifts, and surprises for friends, people I sincerely cared about but when it came to me, the favor was never returned. That's when I realized that planning my own birthday was too much pressure trying to please others. If you announce “I don’t like my birthday,” everyone is quick to assume that something tragic happened on the day you were born — because seriously, how could anyone not like their birthday? What kind of grinch doesn’t want to celebrate they day they came into this beautiful world? Who would dare turn down the opportunity to get presents, cake, and a surplus of Facebook notifications?
Well at 23, I realized that I made friends, but not the type of friends who remember days like these. Do you know how embarrassing it is to plan a birthday dinner and have zero people show up? And to only have the wait staff wish you a happy birthday in a busy restaurant? It’s hair-raising amounts of mortifying. Those who had other plans, last minute appointments, couldn’t make it to my part of town, I can’t blame them. So I stopped all together—now my birthday is a day of reflection. I’m now 27. Still young but an adult in the eyes of strangers and the government alike.
I’ve gone to parties where friends bring everyone together for one night to celebrate that person’s life. The cakes, the reservations, the focus and lens put on the birthday (girl or boy.) It was something that made sense, it always happens because you have best friends who will make your day special for you. But as someone who’s developed meaningful connections with acquaintances, no one will go out of their way to remember you or your day of birth. It’s a limbo effect of non-best-friendom.
But do friends have to think of you on your day? Shouldn’t your birthday be for you? It’s your day of birth, emancipation of womb, if you will. It’s not talked about enough but your day should be for reflecting on your X number of years in life. Wrapping your brain about how your X year could be better. Volunteering more? Putting yourself out there? Quitting a habit or addiction? Instead, for those who roll with a crew, you’re expected to spend a vast amount of money on a person you love because society says to? So what do you use your birthday for?
In fashion, your birthday should be for what you want? You don’t need to be peer pressured to celebrate something if you don’t want to. Every year, I schedule a pretty heavy cry session to really offset emotional baggage—but it’s what I want. But you may have questions as to why and how I think this way. Let’s delve:
"I would have done something if I had known."
What am I supposed to do? Tell you to throw me party? Should I write out a guest list and pitch in for the booze and decorations too? I know! Why don't we have the party at my apartment? That way I can play host all night and then have the supreme joy of scrubbing beer stains out of my carpet by myself the next morning because you have brunch plans.
"Well, you have to let me get you a drink some time."
Great! I'd love a nice cocktail! How about tomorrow? What's that? You're busy tomorrow? You'll text me and set something up later? Lovely! I'll be sure to hold my breath in the meantime.
“Well, let’s go do something, where do you want to go?”
I’d love to go to my personal favorite spots but you will have a second opinion about how they’re awful, too expensive, or not your style. And that’s fine, so when you suggest a spot, we’re basically just doing drinks. And that’s it.
But I find solace in celebrating alone. On my birthday in 2013, I saw the K-pop boy group, INFINITE, in San Jose and really enjoyed being by myself screaming out their names and singing along.
So what do I want for my birthday?
Someone to remember that’s not my mother and something where someone actually thought about me. Without the influence of FB, Instagram, or any social media. But we live in an age where no one remembers any important dates, phone numbers, or even names. We have a rolodex of online references to pull from—it’s the way of the world.
On my birthday, I will be working. Making money. And remembering that 364 days, we have to do this again. Bon anniversaire.
// Feature photo by Sergio Villatoro.