Friday, September 24, 2010

The Birthday Myth

Somewhere in my youth, along with the Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, the tooth mouse (Mexican version of the tooth fairy), and other lies parents tell their children, the birthday myth was ingrained in my mind.  The myth that there is one day a year when you are celebrated, a special day when people stop to remember you and things go your way.  It always seemed that birthdays worked liked that for others.  But I seemed to be missing out.  Like the eternal Cubs fan, though, I always thought that this "could" be the year that the myth would pan out for me.  And every year, not only was I disappointed, but it seemed like bad things tended to happen.  My earliest recollection was my fourth year birthday party when my party was held in an old-fashioned style ice-cream shop in Mexico.  As is the case in many eating establishments, the staff gathered around to sing and make a fuss.   Except at this place, they would offer you a bit of cake by holding it up for you to bite, but when you went to take the bite, they would smash it in your face.  As a four-year old, I didn't quite enjoy that.  I remember sitting under the table crying with cake all over my face.

I won't sit here and reminisce about all the unfortunate incidents that have happened since, suffice it to say that there seemed to be a recurring theme.  Over time, I came to distance myself from the concept of my birthday as a time to celebrate.  However, that birthday myth continued to covertly live on deep inside my psyche and a part of me continues to long for it.  Of course, the negativity I associate with this one day and the absence of having the myth play out for me intertwines with the other demons in my head to create a festival of self-deprecation.  It runs ramshackle over any logic my intellect puts forth - why should this day be any different?  It's just another day.  The world moves on just like it did yesterday, just like it will tomorrow.  But somewhere inside this aging 40 year old body (and mind), there is still a child longing for the attention, wanting to be celebrated, and hoping that no one will smash cake in his face.

Yet here I sit at home alone, moping.  The day is almost over and I will have another year before I go through the same set of emotions again.

But 40 - wow.  My youth is gone.  Oh well...

1 comment:

Patricia Elizabeth said...

It makes me feel so immature to wish that my birthday be special. I feel like, at 37, it shouldn't matter if I don't get any phone calls or texts or emails from folks wishing me a good day.

But it does matter and I'm always amazed at how low the mood can get when the day goes by unacknowledged. I guess the birthday myth is a strong one, huh?

Whenever I think about getting to 40 I remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally: "I'm going to be 40!" "When?" "Someday!"

:) I hope the coming year is a good one for you. <3