Personal, Writing
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On Birthdays

If you’ve known me long enough, you’d probably know that I don’t really like birthdays. Like Garfield hates Mondays, I have a certain aversion to birthdays. It’s not exactly a “woe-is-me, why was I born” type of feeling—though, it’s a valid question, to be fair—but I’ve associated “unfortunate circumstances beyond my control” with my birthday. Aside from growing older a year, the novelty of which wears off once you hit 18, I have had my fair share of pretty seemingly inauspicious birthdays, the source, presumably, of my aforementioned aversion.

The Big Three that launched (and in my mind, proved) my birthday grumblin’s is as follows:

  1. The year I turned 7: I had a Pocahontas-themed party that barely anyone showed up to because of a storm. It was catered and everything, but it had scarred me for life, in terms of birthday parties, forever scared that my succeeding parties will be as poorly-attended.
  2. The year I turned 13: We lost power at home because of a storm, and I fell asleep to my mom trying to keep us from overheating by manually fanning us to sleep. It was probably worse for her, but it was very un-Birthday-like.
  3. The year I turned 18: Classes were called off at Ateneo, which I would normally be happy about, but my best friend apparently had an elaborate scavenger hunt planned for me, enlisting friends to do her bidding. Anyway, there were no classes and I had to come in on a Saturday for a makeup class for English. We watched The Piano Teacher early in the morning.

If you notice, these are all milestone birthdays, a detail that had convinced me of my terrible birthday luck. A curse has been placed upon my head, albeit a silly one. It came as no surprise to me, then, that my birthday this year saw me alone at the printer. I have been working at a men’s magazine for over two months, so no one in the office knew that it was my birthday. I wouldn’t have been able to take a day off anyway, as we were closing an issue. I didn’t mind—like I said, I’ve come to expect the bare minimum for my birthday, and as long as things were as good as they could be on a regular day, that is already a good birthday, in my opinion.

Anyway. Since it’s not a milestone birthday, I didn’t expect any major disasters. The most damage was self-inflicted: I ate a massive KFC lunch by myself, among page proofs, seemingly hellbent on getting my arteries clogged at the ripe old age of 27.

I removed my birth date from my Facebook ages ago, and this was the first year that I wasn’t bombarded with greetings on my wall anyway. I received some texts, private messages, and phone calls. Some people online remembered, and that was nice, but I asked for good vibes for my birthday on my Tumblr and was surprised by some of the messages I got from people I hadn’t even met yet.

(It’s taken a while for me to get to my point, but please bear with me a little longer.)

I got a handful of greetings from people I didn’t even know still listened to me or read my stuff. A bunch were terribly sweet, and I guess I wanted to somehow take a moment to say thank you to anyone who has been supporting me, silently or otherwise, by paying attention. As conceited or vain as it sounds. The world feels a lot less lonely, and writing feels a lot less like uselessly shouting into a void because of you.

So, thank you for that reminder, which beats any type of birthday surprise. Yes, even a follow from Zayn.

Disclaimer: Not all of my birthdays have been awful. I just like being dramatic.