I hate my birthday. It’s taken me a lot of years to realise this. It has always felt crap and then a few years ago I realised: hey I actually really fucking hate my birthday.
Realising that helped.
Unfortunately husband hasn’t got the memo. In fact he thinks I love a big fuss on my birthday, that I like to drag it out over several days, that presents and surprises are important to me. Yes, of course I’ve told him but he says that I’m wrong and that if he didn’t make a fuss I’d be unhappy. Ummm….
So here we have the classic dialectic. In some ways he’s right. Birthdays are supposed to be special days and therefore yes, I would like some acknowledgement. However, it’d be really in keeping with the spirit of the day if said fuss was something I could actually enjoy. I mean, if I was listened to, rather than having BIRTHDAY!!!!! thrust upon me then that’d be great.
A few years ago I started being quite specific with what presents I’d like from the husband. I did this because it really hurt my feelings that he would choose stuff that wasn’t me at all. How can my best friend, the person to whom I am closest to in the whole world get it/me so wrong?! Even now he always buys me Ferrero Rocher chocolates because that is his Mum’s favourite. I like Ferrero Rocher – don’t get me wrong – but it’s not what I want, not what I’d choose and, after 14 years, you’d think he’d have noticed that but you’d be wrong. Anyway I let the chocolate thing go. Chocolate is chocolate so it doesn’t really matter. Husband agonises saying that I need to have surprises as presents. Nope. Again I’ve told him that this just simply isn’t true but again, apparently I’m wrong.
Whilst we’re on chocolate this is often what sparks the Birthday Argument. The Boy has real issues with jealousy so he will go on and on all day about how he doesn’t have any chocolate. If I share it out (after all I’m desperate to get rid of it) then he will loudly, repetitively and really rather specifically check that my sharing is equal. He will go on and on about how I could divide up the remaining chocolate fairly. He will ask when I’m going to eat it. He will talk about how much he wants chocolate (and how unfair it is that he doesn’t have any), he will want to discuss the healthiness of it. I’m short he will go and on relentlessly. Some years I snap at him. Sometimes I leave the room and cry. It always ends up with the husband shouting at the boy over chocolate I didn’t even want. DON’T YOU KNOW IT’S MUM’S BIRTHDAY?!
Mum doesn’t want a birthday. Mum wants to be dead. If I had never been born then all of this stress wouldn’t be happening. I was never supposed to be born. My core belief right there – my birth was an accident, a blip in the Universe. By being born I brought chaos, stress and a badness into the world that was never supposed to be. My existence is all wrong. Why the fuck I’d want to celebrate that I don’t know.
Anyway, my parents usually send a gift. This is also unrecognisable as chosen for me. Of course it is because they don’t see me. To them I’m not even a real person, I’m more of an idea. I hate unwrapping their gift. If they have wrapped it at home then it comes with their smells. The smells that make me want to vomit. Happy fucking birthday? What a joke. More often than not now they’ll just randomly purchase something online and send it. This has the added bonus of not having their smell. However it will come without any note. I mean why add a Happy Birthday message that would be a lie right? We all know that day ruined everything but society demands these niceties.
My parents used to forget my birthday sometimes.
Well, they had a lot on didn’t they? Oh, they deny that this happened but I was sure. Utterly, utterly convinced and I found a photo as evidence. Me, aged 9, wearing pyjamas because it is bedtime. I am posing in front of a defrosted Victoria sponge with 9 candles. Back in the 80s it was harder to get cakes so when they realised they had forgotten to sort one out they went to Asda, stressed the fuck out, bought this frozen thing and then had to wait until bedtime for it to defrost. I absolutely remember this happening. They deny it. The photo confirms it. It’s no wonder I’m fucking mental.
Quite often over the years my dad gets the date wrong. Easily done I suppose. Who remembers the day the first child, their only daughter, was born. Easily done. How selfish I am to want to occupy some brain space. I remember one year he went on holiday with the boys (my 3 brothers). I stayed at home with home. She was drunk and cruel the whole time. The house was dark and had its usual stink of vodka, cigs and piss (ah! There’s no place like home!). Dad rang me to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 2 days early as he’d gotten the date wrong again. He said there was a present hidden for me somewhere in the house but he couldn’t remember where. Gee, thanks. Anyway, Mum was so awful that I packed a bag and headed to join him on holiday in a caravan somewhere in Scotland. To this day I have no idea how I achieved this. I must have had money. There was no internet for looking up trains etc. I had to get a ferry. A fucking ferry! I mean, just how?! But I did it. At least two trains and a (fucking!) ferry and I arrived. I had escaped.
I used to ask for a chemistry set for birthdays and Christmasses. However I was never given one as my parents told me that I didn’t really want one. Ummm…ok. One chemistry degree later…god, I am so fucking sick of people telling me who I am. It’s no wonder I have no sense of self and instead was given the gift of a personality disorder. No, I really didn’t want that!
Birthday parties were a no go. Obviously. Who would I have invited anyway? Friends weren’t really my thing were they? Or certainly that was something else I was brought up believing.
Anyway, you get it. I hate my birthday.
This year to navigate the upset I’ve provisionally planned out the day. Apparently this is quite demanding? Well, I’ve only done it to try and minimise the upset and arguments and to try and take pressure off of the husband. Sigh. How is it that I’m so misunderstood?
And there’s the food of course. I’m having a bit of a difficult time with food at the minute. I certainly don’t want to eat loads but heyyyyyy it’s your birthday so you gotta! No, no, no thank you. Please don’t make me explain. Again I’ve planned somewhere for lunch where I’ll be happy with the food (oh how demanding!).
Fortunately no one outside of close family ever remembers my birthday. I say fortunately but yes, it hurts. It’s not unknown for husband to buy a card from the kids and then forget to write it. I’ll find it, still in the cellophane and tidy it away.?I most likely won’t even get texts from the 3 brothers I raised. God, I hate my birthday.
So, I guess I do want a little fuss. I want the people that I love to show me a little bit of extra love and to help me enjoy the day, as I want.
On the plus side it’s only 24 hours and then it’s done…until next year.