It was early afternoon. I was using my laptop, and I noticed the calender read April 24. Shit, it’s my birthday. But I usually unwrap my presents in the morning, and nobody has said “happy birthday.” I went into the sitting room and tried to explain to Mum and Dad that it was my 18th birthday, and that this is a big deal. But it was like there was a glass wall between us, and they couldn’t understand what I was saying. Eventually I was screaming and crying, but they ignored me. It was like I didn’t exist, and my 18th was ignored by everyone.
When I woke up I realised how scared I must be of my next birthday.
Why? A number of reasons:
1. I feel like, after 18, you can never go back. It’s a milestone age. Here in England, I will be able to vote, drink, and get married. Though I am really looking forward to the freedom, I don’t think I want to be considered an adult just yet. I am far from being an adult.
2. Birthdays and Christmases and important events always involve so much pressure. Is it just me? The need for them to be good or fun or whatever makes me anxious, because the only thing worse than not celebrating them at all would be having a bad time. It’s a downward spiral from there. Also, you can’t help but reflect and compare yourself to last year, which is all kinds of no good.
3. What the hell do I do to celebrate? At the moment, I am not really a partying sort of person, yet I feel obliged to be one for this occasion. I want it to be special, but I don’t know how. I wish I could have a ’60s- or ’70s-themed dance party, where people would dress up and play some records, but I’d only have a few people to invite anyway.
4. What the hell do I ask for? Now that I’m older, presents have started to feel different. What’s becoming more important is how happy I am, not what I have. (Wow. That sounds decidedly adult.)
5. My 17th birthday was awful. I was so unhappy. I was so scared of turning 17 because time was just slipping through my fingers so fast, and I was crippled with fear. I didn’t feel ready to be 17, so I ended up doing nothing at all.
6. I am scared of being scared. I know that doesn’t bode well. It isn’t good to be scared.
But I want to celebrate turning 18. When I was younger, I didn’t imagine myself being in the position that I am in now. I don’t know who I thought I’d be. Maybe someone carefree? I didn’t realise that adolescence is not carefree, at least not for people like me.
I am hoping my 20s will be. And then maybe I can have all the celebration I might want for my 18th on my 21st?
Either way, I need serious help with this year’s birthday. ♦