NOTE: I started this piece on my birthday, but was unable to finish it for the interruptions. I should have locked myself in my room and done it, because now, as I sit to finish, I find that I’m in an entirely different headspace, and that hope and almost-contentment have long since disappeared into the horizon. Half of the below is fiction because it was written today, and not on my birthday. I’ve just now realized how attached my writing is to my mood. A shame, because this piece could have been really something.
I take birthdays pretty seriously. I believe in them with fervor and await their arrival almost breathlessly. Airy confections of whipped hope and anticipation, they speed around the sun every year, taking the mire and gunk of the past 365 only to return again, whitewashed and on-schedule. Skipping blithely with a basket of promise, birthdays beckon like little imps, peeking in and out of the periphery, giggling at the eager glint in our eyes.
Each year, I smile into the gleam of what Could Be, and throw my arms open, keen to begin the revelry of the day. An April baby, the month itself is my own personal analogy. A stunning dichotomy, April is equal parts sunshine and snow squall, one often followed by the other, nonchalant in its apt absurdity. As my birthday rolls around, I’m often surrounded by the beginnings of greening grass and pops of cherry blossoms with their perfect pink chests defiantly heralding the new spring. I’ve gotten a tan on this day, and woken up the next surrounded by snow drifts. But the smell of lilac always breaks through, and the sun insists on persisting. When all is said, my own new year is Nature’s too and something about that begs belief in faeries and the whispered possibility of fulfilled wishes.
Colorful bows and smiling faces, impossibly tall heels and cake-top dresses; No Sharing Required. On a birthday, the heart’s quietest yearnings linger just beyond a filmy curtain, sometimes stepping through and stealing breath…like a kiss full on the lips. It’s a pure joy. One of the few I know. For a day, I give up on compromise and hold those around me to a higher standard. I court surprises and dare my companions to live just as loudly. I give myself over to highest expectation and whirl headlong into celebration.
For one day, I give up (over)thinking, and live in the moment. I marvel at the sunshine, and throw up silent prayers of thanks for those who have gone out of their way to participate in my life. During these 24 hours, I can successfully convince myself that everything is going to be okay, that with my party dress and t-strap sandals I can conquer my demons, my life and then, maybe, the world. On my birthday, I revel in the love (feigned or real) of others and take, selfishly but without remorse, time for myself.
It is special. Unique to me. My own. A day for others to please me, and not the other way around.