As I write this, the hours are counting down on February 7th. Soon it will be February 8th.
My birthday. This used to be the most exciting day of the year for me. This used to be a day I loved so deeply, I prided the number eight, the month of February, the astrological sign Aquarius, my birth stone amethyst. I prided myself. When February rolled around and I knew that my birthday was only a week away…less than a week away…just a couple days more…tomorrow…I would relish the anticipation. The mounting excitement. I planned parties and outings with friends. Perhaps not the safest or most appropriate; I spent my 15th birthday tripping on acid at a rave, but nonetheless it was always a day to rival all other days.
Now, I want to stop time. I want to obliterate February 8th from the calendar, bomb it from existence, leave a charred smoking pit in its place and skip to the 9th. Now, I hate my birthday.
I’ll be twenty-nine this year, but I know that tomorrow, I will spend the day fighting not to turn eighteen again. Last year, when I turned twenty-eight, the ten year anniversary of having turned eighteen, I spent the night of my birthday in the Emergency Room being treated for a drug overdose after I attempted suicide. I remember being halfway out of my mind high on the drugs I hadn’t taken to get high, crying for my birthday cake while the nurses, just a few feet away, openly mocked me. I remember being chastised by acquaintances for trying to abandon my children so permanently. I remember bearing the brunt of my husband’s fury and distrust for weeks. I remember having to explain to CPS that I hadn’t been with the kids, that it hadn’t been about the kids at all. I remember hearing from my mother how wrong it was to spend the money she and her sisters had given me for my birthday on drugs, how I had taken food from my children’s mouths by spending those $20. I remember the whole world thinking I had acted like a petulant child, attempting suicide because I didn’t get the party I wanted.
None of those assumptions were correct.
This year, I’ll tell you the truth. I’ll tell you all, whoever you are reading this from the United States, from Japan, from Australia, from Spain, from wherever, why I hate my birthday.
Which is to say, I’ll tell you how I spent my eighteenth birthday.