a few birthday lessons
For a very long time, my birthday has not been something I’ve loved exactly. When my Mama was alive, it was a special day for me because she made it special. And it was just as much about her as it was about me.
I’ve never really been one to care much about material things. I don’t care about gifts. I’m not one to really go out on my birthday either. The only thing I really want is acknowledgement that my existence in the world matters. And I know you shouldn’t seek that external validation from outside yourself, but I’ve always been a people pleaser and that kind of simple recognition matters to me. So–yes–I do get hurt when people forget or (worse) purposefully say nothing or (even worse than that) do it passive aggressively. Like yesterday, according to a friend, an ex I’ve tried to make amends with mentioned it on Twitter–but failed to actually say anything to me. Since we are not friends on Twitter or anywhere, he was counting on third parties to relay the message…and to me–that’s just bullshit.
I think more than those things, my family’s continued slights on my birthday are what bothers me the most. I didn’t really expect much, but I did probably hope they’d say something given we are now connected on FB–which makes it so easy to say something. But, of course, they didn’t. I was disappointed, but I was prepared for it.
On the other hand, my work peeps–who had no way of knowing it was my birthday–somehow found out. And people I’d totally given up on actually were kind and went out of their way to say hi.
Overall, it was a decent day. And many people remembered me. Enough that I did get the warm fuzzies. The thing is–I never expect much of anything. And while the day can sometimes be this wonderful day, it usually isn’t. So, I’m good with ho-hum.
The evening was not so fun, for reasons that had nothing to do with my birthday. But in the midst of feeling frustrated about that, I decided to turn the situation around. Due to a whole bunch of errors, I ended up with a shitty Subway sandwich for dinner–and they completely effed up my order. It was inedible for me–given what landed on my sandwich. I was a bit pissed off about it and decided I just wasn’t going to accept that. It was my Goddamn birthday, and I was going to find a reason to smile. So, I decided to make my own reasons. I packed up a care package–that sandwich, some fruit, a hot thermos of tea, and some birthday cake along with some toiletries and a blanket–and went out searching for someone who was hungry and in need. I found a homeless man at the bus stop, and I told him it was my birthday. And that I wanted to help someone else on this day–so he was my someone. We chatted for a bit, and he was so happy–so appreciative. And it made me smile just talking to him–knowing something so simple could change his whole night. It changed my whole day. And I think this might be my new birthday tradition. It felt like my Mama was there with me.
In my 38 years on this planet, I’ve struggled most with human relationships. I don’t understand the slights and the things people do to each other. Mostly because I wasn’t raised to leave people out or exclude others. I was raised to acknowledge people and respect them–to celebrate at any opportunity. But my life was also hard–so I was also taught to look for crisis–to anticipate bad things. I treat all my friends like my family. I treat everyone well. I enjoy that. It’s who I am. And I don’t need much from people to be okay. I’m emotionally a strong person. But on days like my birthday, I realize I really focus on the bad things–on the slights and the bullshit–instead of those who take the time to love me.
Last night, I realized I am driving this bus. People will do what they’ll do, and I can do nothing to stop that. My fair, get-what-you-give side wants to retaliate by forgetting them next year. But that’s not me, and they probably wouldn’t notice. The tit for tat thing never was my thing. That’s hurt driving. But I do know one thing–I need to let these people go–because they do distract me from my blessings and create more of the negative. That doesn’t mean not showing up for them when they need help or not acknowledging them. It just means not engaging unless they engage. I’m done holding on to a rope that’s been abandoned by them. I’m done going out of my way to care for them. It’s time to focus on those who actually notice I exist and don’t feel the need to purposefully forget me.
From now on, I’m done chasing after people. I’m done apologizing for things. I’m done trying to clear the air. I’m done engaging the one-sided thing. I’m done caring when there is nothing to care about. No malice. No sadness. Just moving on and making room for abundance. If they want to engage, so be it–but it makes no difference to me. It’s done. I’m done being depleted by the past. They have no influence or pull here anymore. Because I’m not attached or mad or sad. I am in acceptance of who they are and aren’t. It’s okay.
Instead, I’m going to take that love and give it to people who really need it–who are willing to accept it–even if they’re perfect strangers. Life is too short for this stuff.
Goodbye. I don’t need you anymore.