Today is my birthday. My little girl woke up and the first thing she said to me was “It’s you’re birthday Mommy!” Her eyes were so bright when she said it, despite the fact that it was 6:00AM and she was two seconds away from passing back out. It was amazing and thinking about that moment makes me feel so accomplished.

I have one person in my life who insists on celebrating my existence. It’s nice to feel loved and valued for a little bit.

My dad didn’t know it was my birthday. When my daughter mentioned my birthday in front of him later in the day, I got annoyed and told him “Yeah, thanks for the birthday acknowledgement.” At which point he got flustered and said Happy Birthday, followed by an apology for it being late. It wasn’t an apology for it being later in the day. Noooope. He thought he’d missed it completely and didn’t realize that it WAS my birthday.

I got talked into going to the store to buy some cupcakes and a candle. My kiddo was insistent that I have cake and a candle to make a wish on. While we were walking out the door I heard my mom mumble “I was going to make cupcakes but we were out of eggs” Now in her defense, earlier this month I told my family that I didn’t want my birthday to be acknowledged. At all. I told them I didn’t want any presents or cake.

But it still blew my mind by how ok they were with that. I make a fuss for their birthday’s. I fucking force that shit on them. There’s only three of us, so every year I make sure to ask them who’s doing what. I get them organized, get them to cook, we all sit down to eat, and for a few hours I make sure that everyone has a chance to feel important. I can’t tell if this is one of those times where I need to examine my motivations or allow myself to feel disappointed in them. If I really threw their parties for them, then why would it bother me that they don’t return the “favor”? If it was a truly selfless act then it wouldn’t bother me. Right?

The disappointment is real though. It’s there, and it’s gnawing at me. I’m justified in feeling it, I know that. On the other hand I’m judging myself because I shouldn’t care about it. I know who they are and what they’re like. I guess this year I just really needed other people to show me that they value my presence. In their defense again, my mom gave me a present and my brother said his stuff is all delayed cause of shipping issues. I’m not convinced that my mom’s present was for my birthday, because I overheard my daughter asking her about where the present from her was at, and it wasn’t wrapped or anything. Either way I’m glad it wasn’t just my daughter’s present. I’m not sure what kind of message that would have sent my daughter about me/our family.

My daughter does value my presence though. She loves me. That’s what I keep trying to refocus on when the pain makes my eyes water and my throat tighten. Research shows that all we need is one person in our lives to mitigate negative life experiences/environments. One person can literally change an individual’s world.

But I digress.

So later, after all of this, I sucked it up and decided to face my anxiety. I messaged my friend and told her that I wasn’t doing ok. That I was functional, highly functional, but that I’d been cutting at my tattoo. She responded, and part of her initial response was asking if I was going to get a therapist. I told her to never mind and that I shouldn’t have said anything. Then I deleted the messaging app and deactivated my Facebook since I don’t use it anyway.

I had been wrestling with my anxiety for two days. So it hurt when she went straight to that, instead of talking to me. Because that’s all I wanted. I just needed someone to talk to. (FOR FUTURE REFERENCE FOLKS, TALK TO SOMEONE FOR A BIT AND THEN SUGGEST THERAPY – that way they feel like you actually care about how they’re doing)

What she didn’t know was that I spent all day yesterday looking into therapists. Unfortunately I can’t spend $258/mo for one individual session a week. Especially when I’m still working through feeling like my trust was violated by the last therapist I saw. So it was a little like pouring salt in the open wound for me when she mentioned it. That’s not her fault though.

I was going to testify on her behalf in court when her asshole ex tried to file domestic violence charges against her, when HE stalked her and threatened her in front of me. I was by her side through her suicide attempt and inpatient hospital stay. I sat next to her when she got fired from our company, just so she didn’t have to feel alone…..

I’m tired. It takes a lot of energy to care about people, to offer support and encouragement, just to end up feeling like this when I finally work up the nerve to ask for help. That’s the pattern of my life. I’m not a people pleaser, I tell people to fuck off, and I’m assertive AS FUCK. So it’s not like I’m killing myself for folks, just the everyday kind of support and shit. Why is this a pattern? Am I being selfish when I want people to be supportive for me when the dark sets in?

My mom’s present was a bracelet that says “You are loved, You are valued, You are beautiful” and I don’t know how to balance receiving that message with how she actually treats me. The disregard for my personal space, the judgement, and the fact that she never listens. I have to pay someone $60 to be there once a week, every week for an hour, just so I can have someone to consistently talk to.

I think I’ve given up on trying to have that emotional connection with people for a little bit. When COVID restrictions lift I think I’ll try making some new social supports. For right now, I’m going to start doing some martial arts and throw myself into learning my computer programming shit.

 

**I don’t think anyone is reading these so I’m not afraid to put this out there: When I blew out my cupcake candle, I wished I never existed.

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