One thing that VERY few (maybe at max 2) will know about me is how I usually spend my birthdays. It is a story that dates back about 6 years. It is probably one of the things in the world I don’t like identifying as my story, but sadly enough, it is.
The first story would be of my birthday in 2013. I had been a dick to this one girl. We were really close friends, pretty much dating without the formalities of it. Then one day, due to a multitude of reasons (at least I’d like to think it was a multitude of reasons), I decided that this wasn’t a relationship to take forward. Like the mature 16-year-old that everyone is, I ignored her. Like she’d say something straight to my face and I would hold my thick skin and ignore her. Then, on the eve of my birthday that year, she found me doing an assignment alone. She wished me Happy Birthday and walked away.
The guilt over what I had done to such a pure hearted, sweet girl really washed over me that day. I couldn’t really remember my birthday that year, even, just that one event. You have to understand a few things about me:
- My birthday falls on a public holiday in my country
- I’m someone who likes to hide the day, so at least I know wishes coming in are meaningful rather than of an obligatory nature.
To this day, it is still my fondest memory of what someone has done for me for my birthday. To rip apart your soul and to do what you know you might regret. Sometimes it just means so much to me for someone to physically say it to me in my face. Since I don’t normally see someone apart from my family on that particular day.
Now we fast forward to 2015. On the back of decidedly mediocre A Level results. Just at home, with lots of guilt. Going to Singapore, working on a Plan B. Just stress, and sadness from that 19th Birthday.
The 20th is THE one that made me decide to celebrate alone year after year. I pulled out all the stops for my girlfriend’s birthday that year. I made her a hand made gift, taking hours upon end, prepared a song and a performance for her, and took her out for a nice dinner. All this WHILST DURING MY EXAM PERIOD. I think the part that I’m angry about often gets lost in translation when talking to her, to the point that I just keep it to myself.
I need to clarify a few things. I AM 100% FINE WITH HER BEING ON A FAMILY TRIP in the one-month trip preceding and following my birthday. But she has a TWO MONTH HOLIDAY where she can think of doing whatever she wants, and she buys me a gift she took 2 minutes to pick out from a generic gift shop. She is someone who likes to rewrite the narrative to fit her agenda (sorry I’m a straight shooter), so if I ever bring it up, she will just say I’m sorry I’m not around.
So, from that moment, I just said to her, I have other plans for my birthday that don’t involve you. I felt a breach in what the relationship means to us. It hasn’t changed how I’ve celebrated with hers one bit. I just think she’s never understood how I’ve felt.
But celebrating by yourself is great. You don’t have the expectation, so you’re never disappointed. You’re guaranteed to enjoy whatever you plan for yourself. It’s what’s kept me sane on a day I don’t like. It’s what gives me a bit of sanity when I wish my girlfriend could try harder sometimes.