I’ve always been weird about my birthday. When I was younger I felt really obligated to celebrate my birthday and even now I still do. For a while I wouldn’t even really tell anyone about my birthday. It wasn’t a huge deal to me like it was for some of my friends.
Looking back I have a lot of overwhelming feelings when it comes to my birthday. I love, love, love, helping other people celebrate their birthday and I always have! In high school I would make all my friends cakes for their birthday and I still did that well into college. I even made my boyfriend's friends cakes for their birthday this year!
I remember planning parties, surprises, and thoughtful gifts for people who are close to me and I still do that. But when it comes to my birthday I have never been one to plan anything for myself. I think for a long time I didn’t feel comfortable celebrating myself. I still don’t in a lot of ways.
I am always the type of person that needs to be the best host. Even when I was a kid I was always worried about everyone else and making sure the party ran smoothly. It was never about making sure I had a ton of fun. I feel a lot of pressure to make sure everyone else is enjoying themselves and that things are running okay.
Another part of my birthday feelings is my social anxiety about being with a lot of people. At my graduation party earlier this year I was SO focused on making sure everyone had what they needed, they had space, there were drinks, and the ice cream was being served and more. There were so, so, so many people at my house and I felt so fucking overwhelmed I would find myself running to the bathroom to be alone. I felt like I was drowning even though I was surrounded by all my loved ones who were there to love and celebrate me.
Last year for my 21st birthday my roomie/best friend Mallory threw me a “surprise” party and invited ALL of my friends. Like she even was so thoughtful to invite people who lived far and those who she didn’t really know but knew I would love to see. She had drinks planned, food, a cake ready, fresh flowers, and games and SO many people I love and adore.
She even set up a Polaroid station and I have pictures with everyone that are around my makeup mirror. It was truly one of the best days of my life. It was the single nicest thing I think anyone has ever done for me. I remember telling Mallory thank you about every ten minutes and I cried quite a few times because I just felt SO loved and important and cared for.
Since that party last year I have been trying to be more thoughtful about my birthday. For me it’s an act of self-care. It is day to be selfishly all about myself and do the things I want to do. I still don’t like having a huge fuss made over me but I understand that it is necessary to celebrate myself if not only once a year. A birthday can be spent alone, with ones you love, or with your dog. It’s all about what you want to do and how you want to do it. Birthdays are only so bad when we make them out to be these huge things. It is something that we need to do for ourselves. It’s an important reminder. Birthdays don’t have to be so bad and I am still trying to change my thinking around them.
This year I found myself not so scared my birthday and excited to hang out with friends who love me.
What does your birthday mean to you?