The worst birthday I ever had was when I was very young. I don’t remember what age I was turning, but my party was on April Fools Day, and I was under 10 years old because this memory takes place very vividly in my old house. It’s also highly possible that I’m conflating two different shitty birthdays into one day, but I don’t think that matters so much.
So first of all, there were these series of games that the group of us played at my house, and every time a person won a game, they would get to pick a prize. These prizes were Lisa Frank themed, because obviously. They were the fucking bomb, except there were two that were clearly more inferior than the rest of the prizes.
They were mini notebooks that were on a keychain, and they had classic Lisa Frank covers. The yellow puppy, the multicolored neon lion, a pre-Bratz cartoon girl with a huge head. And I know you’re like “how could any of these be a terrible option?” and I get that, but two of these mini notebook keychains had a cover with two aliens on it.
It was quickly decided that these aliens were like, not the thing to get. Compared to dolphins, unicorns, and puppies these aliens were like if Lisa Frank had just drawn Hitler and put it on a notebook.
Looking at them now, they’re actually kind of cool, but NO. While playing these party games, it became less about winning a prize than not getting the notebooks with the aliens on it. It was ridiculous and stupid and meaningless, but I was like 7 or something. Nothing had meant more to me in my whole life at that point, except for maybe getting into fifth grade honors chorus a couple years later (which I did, by the way).
We played these games, and I don’t remember any of them, but I do remember that I didn’t win a single one. So I was simply given the prize that was left, which was covered by these shitty aliens.
IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY. At some point I should have been given some kind of birthday handicap, because this was the worst thing that could have happened. I want to say that I put on a brave face and made some joke about it, but I was seven. So I probably threw a huge tantrum about it, but let’s try to save a little bit of my dignity and say that I handled it with grace.
This could have been the only thing that happened that day, BUT NO. I also had a pinata at my birthday party, because I’m not some kind of dork that doesn’t get a pinata. This one was shaped like a smiley face, and I loved it so much that I fully intended on keeping it after the party. I would often stare at the pinata before my birthday, imagining how good it would look in my room and how I could look at it and remember the awesome birthday party that I had.
So we do the thing with the pinata, grab the candy, and that was that. I left to do something probably super cool, like eat cake or something, and we I returned I found two of my “friends” pulling the tissue paper off the front of the pinata.
And this is why I remember this party happened on April Fools Day because when they saw that I was clearly angry with them, one of them said, “April Fools….?”
THAT IS NOT HOW YOU PULL A PRANK REBECCA. NOT EVEN CLOSE.
I’ve had other shitty birthdays. On my 15th birthday, I had to spend it at a tech rehearsal for a musical because I was playing oboe in the pit band, which I didn’t even want to do and it caused me so much stress that I’m pretty sure I contracted mono and I only ate french fries and cheez-its for about two weeks. The rehearsal was something like 13 hours long, and when I called to get a ride home from my parents, no one picked up. So I had to get a ride from someone I barely knew, and when I got home, no one was there because my family had gone out to dinner without me.
I remember sitting on the living room floor and petting my dog and I whispered to him, “it’s my birthday” in the saddest, most overdramatic 15 year old voice I could manage.
There was also the time when I had been grounded because I dyed my hair pink without my parents permission, so I was walking to the library to where my mom worked and on the way a kid sped past me on his bike and flipped me off and told me to go fuck myself.
Those are probably the top three.
I used to be obsessed with my birthday, and while it was 90% a joke, it was also 10% very serious. Birthdays are fun, and people are extra nice to you, and you get to eat cake. What’s not to like, you know? I used to think that people that weren’t excited for their birthday were lying about it. It’s the best holiday of the year.
But there’s nothing worse than expecting something and not getting it, right? It hurts to be counting on something, and then missing it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about entitlement, and what people think they deserve. It’s so easy to look at what someone has and think like “they don’t deserve that but I do” and I’m starting to think that maybe it’s all bullshit.
Ugh, I want to try really hard not to sound cynical, but I don’t think anyone really deserves anything. I’m 21, and I think a lot of the time people criticize people my age by saying that we’re entitled. We think that we are owed something. And they say this comes from being given awards for participation or everyone being told that we’re special or whatever the heck these people are saying.
essentially what my undergraduate degree says
I don’t know. I think I used to feel that way, but now I don’t. I used to think that I deserved to have people be nice to me and happy for me on my birthday, but I don’t really feel that way anymore. There is a certain kind of arrogance that I have, and I know that because I still think I’m special and I still think that I’m smart. But I don’t know if that means that I deserve anything. There are plenty of people that are special and they, like, I don’t fucking know, disappear on planes and stuff like that. I don’t think anyone really deserves that, except for fucking Rebecca who ruined my pinata over a decade a go.
You can be special and get nothing. You can be nothing and get something really special. I don’t really think there’s a trick to it. It just is what it is.
I think I used to make a huge deal about my birthday because I was scared that if I didn’t, no one would care about it and then I would get let down. But it turns out that even when I did make a big deal about it, I still got let down.
So I guess the moral of the story is to just chill out. I don’t want to take things so seriously any more, and I don’t think anyone should. Who fucking cares if someone you know has a cooler job or more twitter followers or more money or more friends? I don’t. I make myself happy. I write these stupid blogs because I want to. I go to open mics that no one cares about because I feel happy when I do.
Who cares that Rebecca ruined your pinata? You don’t need it.
Though seriously if you’re not following me on Twitter, than you’re just missing out. Like that’s more for your happiness than mine, really.