I know even the most average of people with loving pasts get anxiety about their birthday. We want it to be this incredible celebration and really happy day, to find disappointment. Maybe people you wanted to remember didn’t or someone you really love got you a gift leaving you saying, “what??” as it feels like a betrayal that they didn’t know you well enough.
Tomorrow I turn 43. I’m dreading it. I’m still in the hospital and feel people will remember because Facebook will tell them. I have spent so many holidays and birthdays alone, especially this past year as being sick has excluded me in my ability to be festive. How do you celebrate when you are just trying to figure out how to make your body work enough to get a glass of water?
Anyway, the typical birthday dread has been setting in for over a week. It gives me nausea. My mom would throw her worst of the worst at me to remind me that I was useless, stupid, evil, unloveable, etc. I’m not going into the details of what she did, but I want people to know if you have sexual trauma from your mom, you aren’t alone. You can email or comment if you want support or need more. It’s a horrible thing to overcome feeling like if your own mother hated you so much, how could anyone have love for you. SHE was wrong, not you. My lack of connection and attachment to my mom messes with my self concept multiple times a day. I just have to build myself up and recognize that there are some people who think I’m pretty amazing. But missing having a mom is something I will grieve everyday of my life.
Anyway, that was an aside, but felt it was important as I wish someone would have told me that experience in my early trauma treatment.
So back to birthdays. My family would throw me a beautiful birthday party with presents and cake. I remember early on thinking what a sham this party was an elaborate presentation orchestrated by my mom to show I was “loved”.
So probably makes sense why my birthday is a disaster. Instead of feeling unloved and like I have to put on a happy face tomorrow, I’m going to celebrate that today is the last day of my life that I’m 42! I think that is where the rite of passage lies. I’m going to feel good today and appreciate that I’m alive, making it pretty well, all things considering, and love what makes me unique.
Tomorrow I’m going to sit with grief. I’m going to be sad without any judgment. I’m going to feel and feel and feel. It’s still going to suck, but it’s going to be authentic. I hate my birthday. It makes me sad. It really makes me angry. I’m going to feel that. If I’m lucky to have some good conversation with friends who celebrate me tomorrow, I will accept the welcome break from grieving.
You don’t have to do what I do, but if you want to celebrate on your birthday, make sure you tell people. It’s pretty low in statistical probability that you will get a surprise party. If you also want to honor yourself, do that. I might next year!
Nonetheless, happy last day of 42 to me!!
And a huge happy birthday to you no matter what day it falls on. I think you’re pretty great!