Recently, a very dear friend of mine suggested it might be time to start blogging. She felt like I needed to get myself out there more, break out of my shell, an idea that was so foreign I thought she might have said it in French. I laughed and told her I needed to check with my doctor to make sure I was healthy enough before starting that kind of physical activity. It sounded funny at the time, but when I gave it some thought, especially given the new aches in places that I didn’t know I could ache, suddenly I wasn’t laughing anymore.
Perhaps, because it was my birthday and I was another year older. The joke around the office is it’s the big 4-0. It isn’t really, but when I say that I’m turning forty, I get that look of surprise followed by a wow, you look great for forty, instead of wow, you’re only 37? Did you do something to piss off Father Time? I’m mostly kidding. I really don’t mind getting older. I like to think that perhaps I have gotten a little wiser with age so it’s a decent trade off. I think it’s more about the actual celebration itself. I am not great with attention, it makes me feel awkward. Like I’m standing in Times Square…naked, and I’m being projected on the big TV screen and silently praying my fifteen minutes will pass quickly and the Coca Cola sign will pop back up.
Why don’t I like attention on my birthday? I’m not sure. It could be because being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, we didn’t celebrate holidays, so presents and cake were something we never had. I never had to sit and have forty people surround me and sing Happy Birthday and watch while I opened everything. My cheeks are a little red just thinking about it. Even though I’ve been out (of the religious closet) for over ten years, it still doesn’t seem comfortable. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t fancy attention. I like to blend in, find a cozy corner surrounded by lots of people. If there’s a pic being taken, I like to stand in the back row and hide my face behind the tallest person there.
I’m often asked when my birthday is and why I don’t have it posted on Facebook. My response, my birthday isn’t important to me, it’s just another day. I gave that standard answer once and someone asked me, “Is my birthday important to you?” I replied that it was. She said, “You’re just as important to me as I am to you, so I’m going to make a big deal out of your birthday. Deal with it.” Properly rebuked, I did have to admit that I was expecting to be able to give to them and not allow them to return it. What a foreign idea! That I was important to someone, more than one someone.
I got a huge reminder of that on my birthday. After imploring people not to do anything for my birthday, everyone at work, which is about 150 people, dressed in purple because that’s one of my favorite colors and because they know that as a lesbian, purple for Spirit Day is something that is very important to me. The CEO wore lavender pants and a white and lavender plaid shirt. I was humbled to say the least. I got a lot of practice saying thank you.
I’m a stubborn soul, as many can attest to and it takes a lot to teach me a lesson, especially one that requires that I think of myself as special. I’m not saying I’m there, but I will say I’m working on it and isn’t that all most of us can say? That we are works in progress. By the time I turn 80, I will be able to say I am one awesome woman!