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June 21, 2005

Birthday Resolutions

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Hi! Yes, you in the frown! Please stop taking pictures of your woe-is-me face and get back to work!


Yesterday. Memo. Boss to staff: Due to Issues, everyone must cancel all vacation plans between now and July 1st. Which means tomorrow? On my birthday? I'll be at work.

Working.

With coworkers and work and such.

And right about now is when I fess up and tell ya'll the truth, the deep, dark lurking truth that I have kept secret from ya'll in hopes that the secret-keeping would make the truth -- the hateful, mean, spiteful truth -- go away and poof! Like it never existed.

MY BIRTHDAY HATES ME.

My Birthday always kicks me and makes me cry. I'm not sure I should go into great detail about the many ways and hows my birthday has been hateful to me, but here is a small list:

1) Attended a funeral on my sweet 16
2) Age 22: my celebration attire includes a plaster cast with pins holding my leg together
3) Brought home a stowaway from summer camp, age 9, poison ivy. ALL OVER.
4) My parents leaving me alone in big, scary California, age... uh, well, a little to old to be crying about my parents leaving me in California with my husband. Heh.
5) Chicken pox.

This is just a very small list. Oh get me a glass for this bottle of whine and get me started and I will not stop with the stories because 1) I am a talker and 2) My Birthday hates me.

I thought that throwing myself a big Spoiled Girl Birthday Party might change things this time around, but the part I didn't tell ya'll about the party is the moment -- that MOMENT -- when the door closed and the last guest left and you've drunk 3000 bottles of wine and smoked 70,000 cigarettes and you are still, after all the talking and carrying on, totally 100% alone with your four cats and your looming divorce date.

That was the part I left out yesterday. Because you know, it wasn't pertinent. Since I was in DENIAL about the HATRED this day has for me.

But that moment, post-party, is kind of when I started to suspect my birthday was not one bit fooled by the conviviality and still hates me much as ever and also was going to sneak up on me and so I made Plans. Big, evil-thwarting Plans, since we all know the only way to ward off evil is with deodorant and also Good Planning.

Here's what I had planned for my birthday:

I reserved a vacation day MONTHS in advance. Shannon, one of my oldest and dearest friends, was going to spend all day with me, going to the hootchie mall up in Panorama City and going to the ghetto Wal-Mart and then we'd eat lunch at Rincon Taurino which has my favorite tacos and I get to order in Spanish (because that's all you speak at the Rincon), and then Shan and I were going to see the Sisterhood of the Traveling seat-of-your Pants and then do the celebrating later with wine on my patio.

Which I know sounds small, but to me it was a plan for The Perfect Day.

Now? Me? With my three-hour commute and loooong workday? Yes. Drinking alone has never looked so promising. For whatever reason, maybe because I am a spoiled, melodramatic panties-in-a-wad girl, my birthday is out to get me. And good.

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Other people have mentioned to me that birthdays are stressful for them, so maybe I'm not alone with the Drama and Doom. The expectation of having a great day is impossible to live up to (like New Year's Eve, ya'll ever notice that? You always feel like you should be somewhere better, partying it up? And maybe nekkid? Covered in glitter and rum?)

In addition, I do not much care for the pondering and the reflection and, um, the aging that birthdays bring to mind. It's like all at once the AGING is upon me. Not so much the physical aging, I don't care about that. Years ago I realized that physical beauty is a short-lived fugitive (I was REALLY HOT and full of perkiness in all body parts for about a day and a half when I was in high school, and then you know, it peaked. And all went south.)

No, the AGING of my nightmares is the spiritual kind. Sounds poetic on paper, right? But here's what it sounds like in my head, "Holy fuck you're going to be THIRTY FOUR YEARS OLD and you are ALL ALONE and still you have not learned how to cook, play the guitar, speak French and your dreams? goals? writerly ambitions? YOU WORK AT A BANK. You are getting old. Time, ticking. Tick tock. Before long you will be OLD and life will have passed you BY and all the chances you ever had to make something of yourself will be LONG GONE old old old...."

Yeah. So, hi! Melodrama! Neurotic! Pass the Prozac!

One thing I always do to make my birthday a little less stinky is make a list. Because nothing, I tell you NOTHING, makes you feel better than a list. And, ya'll know, that means Birthday Resolutions, which are way more important to me than New Year's Resolutions. Because even if your Birthday hates you, you have a list in hand for ways to make the other 364 days a little better.


My Birthday Resolutions For June 2005:

1. Be Buddha-like, without the tummy, all zen and more accepting of things like having to WORK on your birthday VACATION DAY and not cuss about it to everyone, except on the internets which is like really cheap therapy and probably very healthy in the long run.

2. Stop justifying your bad behavior, like you did in list item # 1 (above).

3.(private)

4. Wear some colors other than black.

5. Do some form of exercise aside from complaining

5. Channel Emerson. Be the Self-reliance. Or, you know, pretend.

6. Live out Loud. Tell people the truth, even when the truth is embarrassing or something I don't want people to know. (Except I can still lie to people at work about my age. Ya'll know.)

7. Be a better listener.

8. Write. More, better, something.

9. Stop with the perfectionism.

10. Finish the kitty thingamajig.

11. Eat vegetables. That aren't fried.

12. Really make an effort to cut back on the smoking.

13. And drinking.

14. And carrying on.

15. Finally put the cat scratcher tree together.

16. Finally unpack the office. It's only been six months after all. UNPACK.

17. Stop telling everyone that marriage is a soul-sucking sham. Marriage works for some people. They don't want to hear about the sham and the soul-suckage. Keep bitterness to self.

18. After the divorce is final, open a 401(k) at work

19. Stop calling Bob "scabies."

20. Scan in old pics of my family.

21. Repay my parents for the lawyer $$

22 -24. (private)

25. Be kind.


So there's my list so far. It grows as time and wine progresses. I have no idea why I am this way, ya'll, with the whining. But you know. It could be worse. Like it could be warts. Or gnomes. No I don't even know what I'm saying ... the birthday madness has already descended upon me, clearly. I'm going to ferret myself away in a conference room at luchtime and knit and pretend I'm on a beach somewhere reading a trashy novel while a man named Ricardo, or maybe Esteban, wearing little red bikini pants brings me drinks with umbrellas in them.

Also, because My Birthday always brings surprises, like flat tires or maybe the bus will by hijacked by banditos or maybe we'll have a tornado or probably stuff will break, and leak and also detain me for long periods of time, I made a Survival Kit. Because you know how I am.

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So screw you, birthday. I have Cheetos and refreshments and all sorts of things not even pictured here stuffed in my handbag ready for The Doom. Bring on the banditos!

Posted by laurie at June 21, 2005 9:26 AM