The Big-Ass Birthday Lie

I know he meant well.

Part of it I handled.

Part of it I chose to let go but today, the part I let go is pissing me off. Did I say pissing me off? I mean…

PISSING

ME

OFF.

This clearly indicates that I did not let it go. The more I think about it the more pissed off I get. I intend to take issue with this. This is good. I’m supposed to have the difficult conversations. I’m supposed to push back. I’m supposed to stop, drop, and regulate. I might not have picked this fight—it came to me—but I’m not supposed to let it go. You can blame Shonda Rhimes. (I don’t think she’ll mind.) And my book club. (My shiny new girl squad.) It went like this:

Him:  So are you doing something special for your birthday tonight?

Me:  I have book club tonight.

Him:  Book club? You mean you’re not having a party? You’re not going out? You’re not having friends over or anything? Aren’t you at least going out for a nice dinner?

Me:  No. Mr. Husband took me out for a nice dinner on Saturday. He’s working tonight. And I have book club tonight. I’ll be busy.

What I didn’t say here was that I don’t have party friends. I don’t have friends who come over. And that made me cry later because the book club discussion was all about building a Celebration Circle of women. But that shit got handled. I showed up for book club with this truth and I made those friends. I hate looking weak and needy but I risked it. I made myself swallow that vulnerability and asked for what I needed. And I got it. They loved me up. They even sang to me. Even though I wasn’t brilliant and badass (for once). They didn’t mind. So that part? Handled. It’s this next part that continues to pluck my sass the next day.

Him:  That’s just wrong. You should be doing something special. I mean, your birthday is the one day all year that you get to feel special.

And I let that go. I let that statement stand. I blew it off yesterday but today this feels unreasonable. It feels egregious. It feels completely contrary to my mission of wellness and wholeness. Because it is contrary. It’s bullshit. It’s a big-ass birthday lie.

Your birthday is the one day all year that you get to feel special.

Like HELL it is.

No.

No. No. No. NO.

I don’t get only one day per year.

I don’t get to feel special only on days that are socially justified.

I don’t have to wait for an occasion appropriated by Hallmark.

I get to feel special any on any day I choose.

Every. Damn. Day. If that’s what I choose.

And let’s get one thing razorblade straight here:  It’s not a holiday that makes me special, it is ME that makes the holiday special, motherfucker. Special is my natural state.

And I sure as hell don’t have to wait for friends to approve. For that matter, I don’t think I want any friends who think I’m only allowed to feel special on special occasions. I’ll hold out for friends who think—who know—that we get all the special days we want, not just one.

Again, I know he meant well. But this language and the thinking behind it is corrosive to wellness and wholeness. It has a cumulative effect. It slowly erodes our value until we believe that we have to wait to feel special; that we need a reason or permission.

I am stomping my feet and kicking chairs and shattering coffee cups over this. It pisses me off that well-meaning, affectionate peers think this about me or about themselves; that this feels like a reasonable and normal thing to say. It pisses me off that my first instinct was to let it go. I was going to accept it as reasonable and normal. I was going to just roll over and take this; receive it as good intentions on the surface when the consequences underneath are soul-fatal.

Well now I’m not. I can’t let this stand. I can’t let another woman hear this on her birthday. Worse than that, I can’t let another woman be put in a position to get used to this. I can’t let this become reasonable and normal. As soon as he gets back from lunch I’m marching back in, Shonda-style.

I intend to handle this. I intend to keep handling this. Until the very act of breath filling my self-righteous lungs is considered a special occasion. Because it is.

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