I’ve tried for years to overcome this (though, truly, I haven’t tried that hard).
Is it a matter of humility, of being able to just shut up and say “thank you” with a smile? Is it a streak of ingratitude a mile wide? Is it just that I refuse to play along?
Yes, yes, and yes. And more.
It’s not the growing older thing: I really marvel that I’ve made it this far…I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’m a year older. This year wasn’t quite as exciting as the year I turned 30, but that memory also isn’t why I hate my birthday. I have a list of “maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that,” but they all seem to fall a little short of the mark.
Truth is, I don’t know why I hate my birthday. I try to swallow it, and then some well-meaning person does something thoughtful and nice and my inner brat rears up and retorts before my filters kick in. (I need to work on that.) Then I find myself apologizing when I could have just said “thank you” and offered my distaste for the whole business of celebrating the day for some soul in Purgatory.
I started the day braced, ready for the singing phone calls and the general disturbances, knowing that these things are, really, an expression of being loved. I tried to resolve, through the haze of the baby’s crying, that I would smile and be gracious.
I failed right away, and then at least four more times before I got in the shower and turned on an audio rosary. I gripped the words, wondering where my anger and annoyance and frustration was coming from. (It seems a little larger than usual this year.)
My phone kept lighting up with messages from Facebook, happy little three-word wishes from people who get some sort of alert to do these things (I try not to think of how, once again, I fail at sending the card…I don’t do it on Facebook any better than I do through the mail…).
I realized, talking to a family member who told me — and tells me every year — how wonderful my birth made their life, that maybe this is symptomatic of something else. I don’t know what the something else is, but now that I’ve put this much thought into it, it really bothers me. (I’m forgiving myself for just now realizing it, marking it as extreme immaturity and a failing. Sigh.)
I’m with you. I try and keep my birthday hidden from most folk (including Facebook friends.) Perhaps I don’t like the attention, perhaps it’s something linked to the way I don’t know how to deal with compliments, perhaps I feel as if I don’t deserve a special day without earning it, or at least all the fuss people go to. Point is, it’s OK to *feel* this way, isn’t it, but how to deal with it in practice, when it takes such effort to pretend about feeling special on your birthday? I’d like answers too! Note – I don’t think reflecting on scripture, being fearfully & wonderfully made, God’s plans for me before I was born, and so on, is going to cut it.
You’re not alone, Sarah. I hate my birthday, too, and have no good reason for doing so. You circled around a lot of my feelings about the day, though, and I appreciate you putting those thoughts into your always-well-chosen words!