Today is my 29th birthday.
Whenever someone finds out it’s your birthday they’re always so excited for you, like it’s the most magical day of the year. I hate my birthday though. Actually I hate most holidays. It’s not that I’m not a negative person, and I certainly don’t judge other people for loving holidays. In fact, I envy them. I, however, am not a fan. Most of the holidays are horrible for me, but most of all (except maybe Christmas) I hate my birthday. I hate my birthday because it’s MY day. It’s a holiday just for me. What a spectacular reminder that if you isolate yourself, everyone will move on without you.
Lower your expectations. No, keep going. Lower.
Every year I think to myself, I won’t get my hopes up. No expectations of gifts or cards or even well wishes. I certainly don’t expect anyone to throw me a party, or attend a party I may throw for myself. It almost seems like the more focused I am on expecting nothing, the worse it feels when things go just how I thought they would. Maybe I’m exaggerating. I’m getting older, I know you don’t get gifts as much when you’re older. It just seems like people get cards from coworkers and flowers from close friends or whatever. Who knows? I sure don’t.
“I am a rock. I am an island.” – Simon & Garfunkel
I don’t really have much family that I stay in contact with after removing all the toxic people from my life. Most of my friends are exhausted by my isolating habits, and honestly I don’t really show anyone that much of me. In fact I have a clever trick worked out where I speak very openly about my emotions and my past, so they think they know enough about me to stop asking questions. Meanwhile, I hide the deepest darkest stuff away. No one’s gonna know that they don’t know. It works so well! Until the holidays come and I haven’t bonded with anyone and no one even remembers I exist because they’re busy celebrating with loved ones.
Birthday (pity) parties.
In recent memory I have spent every birthday alone, and today is no exception. It’s not by choosing, I would love to have friends come visit or go to lunch with me. For some reason they’re always busy. I know I’m throwing a pity party, but hey, at least it’s a party right? A few years ago my then-husband had to ask his brother to take me to dinner because he was stuck at work and there was literally no one else. It was one of the few times I can remember him acknowledging and empathizing with my feelings, and I will always appreciate it, but when I think of how lonely birthdays are that is always the first memory that comes to mind. I spend days, or even weeks, trying to make plans with friends in the hopes that they won’t all back out, but they usually do.
My special day becomes my special hell…
So what do I do on my birthday? Spiral out of control with self-deprecating thoughts, of course! Now it’s a party. Why though? I honestly don’t understand why no one can be bothered to make time for me. No clue why I’m not anyone’s best friend; no one’s favorite person. Despite the tone of this post, I am actually a lot of fun to be around. I can say without ego that I am hilarious. Whenever my friends are going through something difficult I am always there to listen and offer support. People always seem to like hanging out with me… when I can actually trick them into it. I don’t really trick people in case you were wondering. Should I start? Really though, what am I doing to cause this?
Where do I go from here?
Serious inquiry! Do I attempt to find out what it is about me that people find so undesirable? It can’t simply be my isolation, because I do genuinely reach out. My friends are fully aware that I struggle with mental illness, so you would think my reaching out to them would be significant. It’s just not, though. I throw dinner parties that no one attends, and let’s not even talk about my birthday parties anymore- I invite people over and I attempt to go out with them as well. I’m tired of feeling unwanted. I’m tired of hating the holidays.
If you have any thoughts or if you also struggle with loneliness during holidays, please let me know in the comments! We can at least be here for each other, right? (There goes my inner negative voice telling me no one is going to comment on this post! Hard to tune that voice out sometimes.) Thank you for reading this and attending my 29th Birthday Pity Party. Side note: ladies love my brother, I’ve come to terms with it- feel free to drool over him in the comments as well. hah.