Since the age of 11 years old I have loathed my birthday.
At 11 birthdays were starting to become more than a day all about you. By 11 I had realized that people in my little group of friends viewed birthdays as a way to socialize with others. To see boys they liked. To have fun at your expense. There was pressure over who to invite, what we'd do, and if people would have fun.
A week before the birthday "dance party" I was planning in my garage I began panicking. Would they like it? Would people come? Did I invite the right people? Would people think I was lame?
I'm 11. Most likely my birthday wish-list that year was 90% Barbie Doll related and I'm pretty sure I was still rocking my splatter paint jump suit I'd gotten for my 10th birthday, and yet I was already drowning in social pressure surrounding an event that was supposed to be about celebrating MY special day.
Out of fear that everything would be horrible and everyone would talk behind my back or that simply no one would come, I got sick. I actually fretted and worried so fervently I managed to get sick.
Phew. Birthday canceled.
After that day I gladly attended my friends birthday parties with bells on. I brought gifts, helped them plan the theme, even helped decorate, but I never had my own.
I avoided my birthday like the plague until I was 16 and my friends forced me to celebrate. They actually came to my house while I was sleeping, kidnapped me, and took me to breakfast. I had to be kidnapped so I might enjoy myself.
Since then I've gotten better about my birthday. Camping with friends at 18, various college get togethers or join us at the bar nights, but all events were planned and managed by my friends. Sure, I'll meet everyone for a drink on my birthday. But I won't pick the bar and I won't invite people. You do the work, I'll come.
I mean, I'm not a total heartless troll. I love to be the center of attention, as long as I don't have to orchestrate the entire thing from start to finish. I love cards or gifts, calls and general niceties, but if I know it's coming, if I can see it on my calendar for weeks while I wonder if anyone will show up at this event I've created for ME, then the magic is lost and I'll probably just find a way to sabotage it.
Basically this all stems from a fear that no one could possibly want to celebrate a day that is just about me. I can throw a movie night, dinner party, themed party, let's meet at the bar event with my eyes closed because it's about a group of people coming together to enjoy one another's company. MY birthday is all about ME. No one else. People are coming specifically to celebrate MY day, MY birth, MY event. I am center stage.
If it sucks it's on me. If they don't come it's on me.
I don't know how to shake this loathing of my birthday, and sometimes I wonder if I need to. With two odd weeks before my next birthday I feel this pressure to do something, plan something, get people together, BE A NORMAL HUMAN ASHLEY. But then I have to ask myself why. Why should I force it when the mere thought of it is giving me anxiety?
The rational side of me knows that when it comes to my birthday it always works out and I always have fun because logically I've surrounded myself with lovely people and not evil 11 year old trolls, but the moments leading up are too heavy to handle.
So, why bother?
This concludes another look into the severely f-ed up mind of Ashley.