I canceled my 31st birthday because……well, ME.
February 14th was exactly one week before my birthday. I spent it celebrating a ‘galantines day’ with friends. I went home after two drinks that I probably didn’t need to have (my body and alcohol are NOT friends anymore).
I was sad for the rest of the week. Extremely sad.
Like the type of sad where I spent the rest of the week forwarding all my calls, ignoring texts and leaving social media alone. If it didn’t have to do with work, I didn’t want to talk.
What I ended up doing was reflecting on how I got here. I was a week away from 31 and I felt empty af. Something about circling the earth and seeing a new year does something to your mental space and you start to reflect way too much. As a professional over thinker, this time of year (right before a birthday) is especially hard.
Friends and family all asked (or texted and left several voicemails asking — thank you, I got all of them and yes I’m fine) ‘what’s wrong’? And there was nothing I could say but ……
“I have nothing left to give……”.
Birthday’s for me have always been my achilles heel. The anxiety and stress of setting up the perfect place, getting all the right people, making sure I didn’t miss people, not inviting people for fear of rejection, wearing the perfect dress so I could take all the right pictures and showing everyone else that yes — I am loved and people come out because I matter — was draining. I gave a lot of energy to my birthday but none of the moment came back to me. And it’s not the fault or lack of participation from friends or family. All of it I used to create this picture of what I thought I show do and who I thought I should be and what would be the best thing for the group to enjoy.
This year. I told my friends “my birthday is cancelled”. At first, the anxiety set in of ‘maybe I should do something — stop being so uptight”. Still, I felt exactly the same “I have nothing left to give”. And so as the day came closer, I said again and again “I have nothing left to give”.
I was crying for ME to pay attention to ME.
I’ve given to groups, clubs, friends, fremenies, enemies, lovers, family and everyone in between. I’ve spent hours in front of computers cranking out work that I’ll never know how much it was appreciated or noticed. I sacrificed sleep and social circles. I told myself every year, I’d buy that purse, get that tattoo I’ve been eyeing for literally years, take that trip once I found the right group of people to go (I never wanted to trips alone so I waited to see who would come).
I’d get my body right, I’d get my hair done (like, done, DONE), I’d buy those new clothes that cost more than I usually spend on myself, I’d go get those pancakes from IHOP I love (a lot), get that massage I desperately need. But without someone to go with or do with me, or even encourage me, I shied away from it all.
I cancelled my birthday this year and decided to celebrate ME. It is so imperative for me this year to be better — not just feel better. I never want to be in those former places again. I cancelled it not because I didn’t want to get high off the artificial dependency of having friends around me for a day. And to prevent the subsequent days, weeks and years feeling like I have nothing left to give. Or just empty af.
I have some really wonderful friends and family around me who truly love me. And I’m appreciative of that every. single. day. Some days not as much as I should. I’m working on this. My intension was less about what people would think or even how they’d feel about me being distant. It was really a self-full attempt to pay attention to me. And tune out the noise.
And so I could honestly make this a happy birthday….for me. :-)