Friday, September 18, 2020

Bonus Post: Birthday Anxiety

My birthday is in five days and I laid in bed this morning and cried over it. Why? Well, the basic reason is that I'm sure "the man" won't remember until Facebook reminds him and even then, he won't do anything more than text me Happy Birthday.

The deeper reason goes back a lot further. Some of you may know that my mother was abusive. I don't remember when it started, but I know that by the time I was in middle school, it was happening. She would get upset about something and scream at me. She would scream that she wished I'd never been born, that I ruined her life. Quite often this would come along with her slapping me repeatedly. Over the years, that has stuck with me like sap clinging to a pine tree.

So, ever year, when September rolls around, I start hearing her voice in my head. Except the message has changed slightly.  Now it's that nobody cares that I was born. Nobody cares enough to even go to the dollar store to get me a card and mail it out. It's not about the money, it's about the effort. Nobody loves me enough to make any effort.

People will point out how many Facebook comments I get that day wishing me a happy birthday. My brain will kick in and say, "Sure, but those take zero effort. You leave them for people all the time and it takes about two seconds of your life." To those people I'll smile and say "Yes, isn't it wonderful? So many people care."

It's getting better, I guess. It used to be the entire month. Last year it was the ten days leading up to my birthday. This year I made it to five days before my birthday. Except the next five days will be hell for me. I'll have a desperate urge to go and check the mailbox, even though I know there's nothing there. I'll look for UPS shipping notifications even though I know nobody has sent anything.

My birthday will be the worst because, in my head, it will be the day that yet again it is confirmed that I don't matter enough to anyone, not even the man I've been in a relationship with for five years, to make even the smallest of efforts. One year I received something like three cards and a friend had a cake delivered. It was the most amazing year, but the next year was a hard crash when none of those same people did it again. Still, for that one year, I felt loved and special and it was wonderful.

I've mentioned my birthday once or twice on Facebook, mostly because it sort of snuck up on me. I guess that's improvement. I've not shared an Amazon wish list even once (nobody has asked for one either). I've not posted any sort of countdown. I'm sure that people got tired of me mentioning it for an entire month...well, 23 days.

I've been asked if I have plans for my birthday and the answer is no. In the past, whenever I've made plans, the other people have cancelled them. Those were really tough blows for me and further proof to my brain that I didn't matter. I always hope someone will remember and invite me to visit or something, but that's never happened. I suppose I could buy myself a tiny cake and eat it, but doesn't that scream pathetic and nobody loves you?

No, it will be just another Wednesday. I'll be here, alone, working on a client's book. The only addition will be some tears as my mother's voice screams I told you so in my head.


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