My birthday has always been a source of confusion for me. As I'm sure other holiday baby's might attest, being born on a holiday is pretty difficult sometimes. Not just for you but everyone around you. It doesn't take a psychologist to tell you that many people have serious emotional issues and many of them stem from how they're treated on their birthdays. A child's self worth is generated by displays of their importance from their siblings, parents and friends. If everyone hates the fact that you were born on a certain day for what ever reasons, whether they tell you this or not, it shows. Kids pick up on this stuff.
My experience of being a holiday baby starts before I was born. I was two weeks late having been due on my mother's 30th birthday. Her doctor told her several times that he hoped she didn't go into labor on the fourth. He had a picnic to attend. I guess I preferred to piss off the doctor and ruin his fourth of July than have the same birthday as my mother! Stealing the doctor's party day was to be the first episode in an on going series of disappointing parties lasting 50 years. But I know now that I chose this day to be born not just for the self awareness and study it's evoked in me but because of the times we're in today; our independence is disintegrating and our very constitution is under threat; something I'm personally very concerned about.
One of the first birthdays I remember was a back yard party at our house in New Jersey. What I found to be strange was that I had lots of presents but no one was there. I opened gift after gift and card after card but none of those friends were there. I asked my mom time and time again, "where are they" and she said, "they had a family picnic" or "they're on vacation". This happened every year. As I got older, it began happening with my own family as they preferred to go to their friends picnics and pool parties than gather around me. I imagine, resentments began to blossom all around because the parties stopped. Instead, like clockwork, about two weeks before my birthday, I'm asked, "what do you want to do for your birthday, Rebecca?" Then I'm faced with the elusive Santa wish list that never gets full filled, so saying, "nothing" has let everyone off the hook to go to their own gatherings. Honestly, I'd just like to be invited like a person not born on the fourth to someones pool party picnic.
I must have been three or four years old because I was wearing a frilly little dress, something I think I stopped doing when I was old enough to protest but I remember going to a July fourth parade. It was hot and humid and I didn't want to go so I was told that the parade was for me. I understand that this was meant to be a tantalizing compliment of grandiosity aimed at a four year olds precious ego in the hopes to manipulate someone else's desires but somehow it really screwed me up and I've never forgotten it. I knew that parade was not for me but was pissed that it wasn't. Now for the rest of my life, I equated every parade with a big fake ass lie, harboring resentments that nothing would ever come close to having my own parade on my birthday. Nothing could ever live up to that. Because even as a four year old, I knew dang well that the parade was not for me but some how couldn't separate myself enough to not be wounded by it. I have issues with Christmas as well because I resent being lied to about Santa. We never had an awesome Christmas but everyone around us seemed to. If Santa was real, he wouldn't give rich kids better stuff than me. He'd treat us the same not to mention he certainly wouldn't let African children starve to death with flies in their eyes as we sit and eat candy canes and watch it snow because for as long I can remember, children have been starving to death in Africa. How could Santa let this happen? I was wondering this when I was 4 years old and I was pissed about being lied to.
So, I have issues with being lied to at a young age, although I know no one had ill intentions by lying, it screwed me up. Because I know now, that being born on the fourth of July does not make me more special than anyone else on this planet but I was told as a child that it did yet nothing ever really showed me that I was more special (in fact the opposite) because everyone always had other things to do on my birthday. So in fact it generated animosity no matter how suppressed from those around me because they knew they were expected to celebrate my birthday and felt guilty for wanting to go do anything BUT.
For many years I didn't tell anyone when my birthday was. Moving around so much had it's perks, no one knew my birthday but my family. I don't want to compete with peoples celebratory traditions or feel like shit when I'm not invited to the festivities, like I should be entitled to some universal backstage pass to every ones events because I was born on this day or something.
I've spent my entire life trying to heal from the emotional wounds being human has inflicted on me; the
alcoholic family, an absent father, neglect, abusive sibling, abandonment, single parenthood and my own self inflicted dysfunctions. I completely understand now that, like my birthday, I've chosen all these elements in my life in order to expedite the growth of my Spirit. We're all here climbing the lesson ladder of awareness towards love, healing and spirit.
Allowing myself to understand that a birthday is probably the most painful and horrifying day of our lives here on Earth has help me put closure on the unreal, Earthly expectations of a toe headed little girl. What really matters is not how others treat me on my birthday, but how I treat me everyday. After all , honoring yourself once a year does not seem like quite enough.