Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's My Birthday And Apparently, I *Will* Cry If I Want To.

So, my 30th birthday is fast approaching. I'm not a big birthday person, I'm of the Patton Oswalt "We need to conserve cake and paper" opinion about them. I don't really care about turning 30 either. I'm pretty sure I'll be the same geeky weirdo who enjoys age-inappropriate pop culture who went to bed 29 years old and woke up 30. Still a Twilight fan? Check. Still rockin' out to My Chemical Romance? Check. Reading comics? Yup. Powerpuff Girls? Uh-huh. Watching "Gossip Girl?" You betcha. Fuck putting away childish things. What fun would that be? I still want that tattoo and nose piercing and maybe this is the year I'll woman up and do it!

The past few years as my birthday approaches, I always remember a birthday that was especially significant for me. No, not my 18th. I don't even remember that one, really. (No, I wasn't drunk. I just don't remember how I celebrated it) Not my 19th, which I would still rate as my best birthday. And definitely not my 21st, which was, of course, spent in a bar. There was that momentary thrill of "Oooh, now I can drink LEGALLY!" but that passed and drinking lost most of its already limited appeal once it was no big thing. For me, the most important birthday (so far!) was my 23rd. I know, right? Who gives a shit about 23 years old?

Lemme ', no, there's too much. Lemme sum up.

I was living in Grim City the year after I graduated from college. I'd had the bright idea that it would be SUPER AWESOME to move in with my college boyfriend and live in this city and go to grad school. Well, grad school plans fell through (Due to poor planning on my part and lack of funds) and I had a shitty job that I hated. Well, I had two jobs, one shitty that I hated where my boss couldn't stand me and treated me poorly but worked me like crazy and one that was totally fun but paid very little. The awesome job was working nights and weekends in an indie video store. Seriously, that job and the people I worked with there kept me smiling. That, and the Powerpuff Girl puppets that I made. (No, really, they were adorable) At this particular time, Mame and I were not on speaking terms, which totally blew. (Clearly, we got over that. Yay!) [We do not SPEAK of that time, BEA! -Mame] I haaaaaated Grim City. I missed my family and my college friends. And my relationship went south in a really long, drawn-out and miserable fashion. Oh, but the best part? We still had to live together. Yeah, that ruled. GREAT PLANNING, BEA. I was the Dramatic Girl Who Is In A Bad Relationship. I cried a lot and pretty much everyone in my life was sick to death of hearing about it. I was sick to death of it and I knew I had to get over myself but I had very little idea of how to do that.

Now that we're all caught was my birthday. I was hundreds of miles away from my family and most of my friends. My closest Grim City friends, Josephine and Sweet were out of town. I couldn't be in the same room as Ex, let alone expect any kind of birthday wishes from him. (Seriously, if he'd gotten me a cake or something, I would have had had it tested for poison and/or bodily fluids)

So, I'm trudging home from work, miserable and self-pitying and griping to myself about none of my friends being around and blah blah, being a huge baby. And then I had an epiphany. IT WAS NO ONE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE ME HAPPY BUT MY OWN. It wasn't Sweet's or Josie's job to make sure I was entertained on my birthday nor was it anyone else's. If I was miserable, that was my own fault. So, I sat down for a bit and thought about what I would like to do with my evening. Sadly, this took some thinking. Most of my time lately had been spent at work, on my way to or from work, crying, complaining or having pointless, painful conversations with Ex. I decided I wanted to go to the library and then get takeout from this awesome Mexican restaurant that was around the block from my apartment. (I'd been avoiding that place because Ex and I used to like to go there. Yeah, really.) And that's what I did. Then I came home, watched some tv, messed around with my scrapbooking stuff and read. It was a good night.

Don't get me wrong, I was still a fucking wreck for a long while after that. But that was an important lesson. Even though I look back at that particular time in my life and cringe until I almost break my spine, I probably wouldn't change a thing. If I could hop in the Tardis, I'd leave it all the same. Because I learned. I always thought that Eleanor Roosevelt quote about no one being able to make you feel inferior without your consent was victim-blaming. I still kind of do. Sometimes people are just dicks and being around people who are dicks makes you feel like shit. (There's a Team America: World Police joke here, but I can't quite get to it...) But there's some truth to it. If you let people treat you badly, that's what they'll do. If you define yourself by someone else's reactions to or feelings about, you, well. There you go.

These days, I have a quietly pleasant life. I have an awesome family and great friends. I have a job that I like and find satisfying. I have hobbies and things I like to do and I mostly don't care what anyone thinks about it. I haven't had a screaming fight that ended with me throwing a chair in years.

So, hey. Happy fucking birthday to me, right? (Seriously, though. We don't want to run out of cake and paper!)


Volstaag said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hopefully you won't have anything to cry about this time.

Anonymous said...

Great post and wonderful lessons. It's priceless to know that learning from the crappy things that happen in life keep it from being tragic. Not to mention being happy is just a matter of doing it. Not always easy but well worth the effort. We will have a great birthday celebration. I love you.


EGT said...

This is such a beautiful post, and so inspiring. I love that you learned these lessons at 23, and I haven't learned most of them at 28. You are so much more mature than me! And an endlessly patient friend who so generously shares all your wisdom every time I'm in a self-indulgent pity spiral, for which enough thanks cannot be given.

Happy birthday!!

Dr. Fabulous said...

Great story. You are an amazing woman. Happy Birthday, Kiddo.

Sorsha Ni said...

Happy Birthday. It's a day to do whatever the hell you want and to hell with anyone else! Public Enemy said "Fight the Power!" and played with a big weird clock on a chain, but I digress. HAPPY FREAKIN' BIRTHDAY Bea! Digital Undreground said "Do Whatcha Like!" So go do it. (BTW, LOVED the Princess Bride reference!)