Here I am, another year older counting my non existent candles and watching the metaphorical flames burn out. Another year full of promise, another year to grow and learn. I used to love birthdays, getting presents and being treated like someone special but one year the magic faded. Growing up I was left by my mum at the age of 2 1/2 while my dad tried his best to make me feel like his special girl. He was never a bad dad, not even when he met the love of his life, the woman who abused me and who I was meant to call mum. My step mum was a manipulative, selfish woman who did everything in her power to make me feel worthless and unloved and in time even my own dad saw me as second best. I remember one birthday when I was allowed to have a party and my own friends saw the extent of her evil nature for the first time. I had this friend called Lucy who I used to be best friends with in primary school. We lost touch when we went to different secondary schools but I will never forget what an amazing friend she was to me during this difficult time. When someone made a mess at my party E went ballistic and told me to get on the floor and clean it before she hit me. I got down on the floor like a modern day Cinderella and began cleaning but my kind hearted friend got down next to me and whispered in my ear ‘why didn’t you tell me’? I didn’t tell any of my friends that I was getting abused because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me and if there is anything I hate more than bullies it is people feeling sorry for me.
From that moment forth, at the age of six I had learnt that birthdays were not something to be celebrated and in actuality me living, breathing and walking was a crime in itself. When I was eventually taken into care at the age of 10 my foster mum tried really hard to make me feel special and I can honestly credit her with giving me the best 10th birthday I could have. I had never seen so many presents and she showered me with love and affection, something my little wounded heart had craved for so many years. A kind hearted woman she showed me that birthdays didn’t have to be scary and I should relish in the once in a lifetime attention that a birthday affords you. Except that was before I went to secondary school and then everything changed again. I had so called friends who would not buy me presents and deliberately pretend it wasn’t my birthday. Even my birthday was no special occasion although one year they threw me a party that I couldn’t attend and they celebrated without me. To them I was just another accessory to add to their growing collection of victims. But still, every year without fail I celebrated, watching myself fall into a deeper and deeper depression as that perfect birthday I had always wanted fell short again and again. So this year I wanted everything to change, no more expectations. No more crying because friends would cancel on me last minute and my stress levels would go through the roof. No, this time I would leave the 27th September up to fate and see what the stars had in mind for my 23rd birthday. This year there will be no party, this year I wont cry again because my mum didn’t call or my best friend didn’t wish me happy birthday. This year there will be noone else, noone but me and my Libra star sign. As much as friends tried to convince me to celebrate my birthday and plied me with tempting offers I wanted to avoid the heartache and not have to feel sad that people didn’t make the effort or pretend that I am more popular than I am. When friends tried to ask me why I didn’t celebrate I said I didn’t know but I think that I do know. I know that it has a lot to do with T, the girl who was my best friend and threw me the best 22nd birthday I could ever have had. T, the same girl who held my hand and wiped my tears, gave me food when I was feeling sick and weak. When we stopped being friends I made a vow from that moment on to not celebrate because that was the perfect birthday and I know that no other party would ever come close. I think that might be the real reason but I know that there are other misgivings too. Growing up I would invite as many people as possible to pretend that I was more popular than I was and the same was evident throughout university. Truth is despite appearances I don’t have many friends any more, when you leave an institution very few people keep in touch but also because I cut ties with many people that I was close with at uni. I realized that like an extended summer fling it wasn’t right for us to be friends any more and it was the right thing to do. I have less friends now, but in spite of all that the friends that I do have now are ones I will keep for life and that matters more to me then those who want to play games with me. My point is birthdays always showed me who I could trust and who would make the effort and give less excuses. It taught me that I don’t have to celebrate to have a good day and dealing with unrealistic expectations can put a dampener on proceedings. All I want for my 23rd birthday is to be happy that though few, the friends I do have left love me for who I am and that is all that matters.
How Do Birthdays Make You Feel?