I've always hated my birthday. My mother can vouch for me.
It's kind of a running family joke, actually. Since I was very young, I've hated my own birthday. There are many photos of me from childhood with swollen teary eyes and a birthday hat on my head. I don't really remember many details about these events, but I do remember feeling overwhelmed, particularly when my family and friends sang the Happy Birthday song. Speaking of birthday songs, another atrocity comes to mind--my mother taunting me by playing "Birthday" by the Beatles on the stereo every year. I'm not sure whether I realized how stupid those songs were, or whether it was the same issue I tend to struggle with as an adult--not liking a lot of attention.
I suppose that individual attention is another form of isolation for me. I don't enjoy being a breathing target. Oddly enough, as a scholar, I was quite capable of giving effective, engaging presentations, and functioned quite well in grasping the attention of peers and professors alike. Having said that, the preparation for and recovery afterward made presentations and such a stressful experience.
Back to the birthday business. Today I turn 35. Even writing that seems unbelievable. I don't feel my age at all! I'm not sure what I expect 35 to feel like, but I suppose not like this. I still feel like that weird little kid, wandering the world, staring at the ground so as not to end the lives of caterpillars and ants. Often I still stop to save insects from ultimate death. That's me. I've grown, but not abandoned my childhood self. I hope I go on to live for at least another 35, and that I will continue to be brave enough to try new things yet remain a preserver of insects and wonder.
The above photos are from one of my favourite movies from my childhood, Happy Birthday to Me. They remind me of one thing I loved about my birthdays as a child--my mom and dad allowing me to rent horror movies for me and my friends. I don't think many of my friends' parents shared my excitement.
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!