(It’s not because I’m getting older)
Truth be told I have always hated my birthday. And it is not because I am getting older or no longer in my “prime”, but because I am afraid of being let down or forgotten by people. I have had countless ideas come to mind of how I wanted to celebrate my birthday; A coming to America theme party, international getaway, a weekend-long set of festivities. Sadly, I am always too afraid of being let down by people not showing up, or not wanting to go, last-minute cancellations, and other scenarios like it. I also find myself comparing my birthday to those who have grand celebrations with a group of family or friends and I am jealous. Jealous and insecure because I do not have the same experiences.
And I know I still have plenty of time to come up with a strategy to celebrate myself, but I am just overwhelmed with the idea of planning anything. Sadly, what usually ends up happening is that as time passes by my birthday is actually around the corner and I have come up with NOTHING. And if by some miracle I do decide to do something, I settled for it or had a friend gently force me to come up with an idea. This year was no different.
Now, 2020 really hit hard because I moved recently and the friends I made in New York were further away from me. Not to mention, the impending pandemic COVID-19 starting to take its toll on America and caused me to feel like my worst fears were coming true. On a day where I should be celebrating myself and experiencing love from those who love me, so many obstacles presented themselves and challenged my confidence.
Ironically, March 13th, 2020 just happened to be the day that President Trump declared a national state of emergency. Seriously!? What are the odds of that even occurring?
So now I am in a place where my biggest fears surrounding my birthday are coming to light. Even if I had been brave enough to make plans, it would be illegal and dangerous to come together and celebrate with others.
However, a call that impacted me the most came from a dear friend of mine who could hear my heart even when I tried my best to mask my true feelings. When she called she asked me, “What’s wrong?” and I knew then she could already tell something was off. She then continued to tell me how she could relate to what I was going through because she feels the same thing on her birthday. It’s almost as if we convince ourselves that we are not worth being recognized and celebrated. We would much rather contribute to the celebration of others than have the spotlight on ourselves.
How I Feel About My Birthday Now...
I don't know! (lol) I listened to someone discuss how they celebrate their birthday every year and I really appreciated his perspective. He uses it as a time to reflect rather than to celebrate, at least in the traditional sense. He called his mom and told her that this day has just as much to do with her as it does him. And the most interesting part about his birthday is how he views it as a personal new year (which I realize is not a new concept), but it does put into perspective how there is no "right" way to celebrate.
So, for my next birthday I choose not to pressure myself into celebrating the way I see others. No more comparison or guilt for wanting to be more introspective on such an important day. And if I decide that I do want to do it big that's ok too.
In Honor of Breonna
I couldn't end this post without also acknowledging the beautiful life that was taken away on my birthday this year.
You deserved so much better.
To learn how to help Breonna Taylor's case and get justice for her death. Check out this link to multiple resources to help.