I’m not a big birthday person. I mean, I don’t know what’s to celebrate about turning a year older. The last subjectively big birthday “party” I’ve had was when I turned ten and as far as I could remember, I didn’t enjoy it that much because I really don’t like having lots of visitors around. Granted that there were lots of food then, it sucks having to cater to visitors. I mean, you’re already taking my food, do I also have to be a good host and be nice to you? Of course there were gifts too, half of which I don’t really like/need. So, yeah, I’m definitely not a birthday person.
Being born on a Christmas eve has more cons than pros. First off, it’s hard to get people to come over should I decide to celebrate. It’s the eve of Christmas, people have enough going ons to deal with. Then the gift. Yes, singular because every gift I have ever received for my birthday also becomes my Christmas gift. It’s ridiculous how my friends’ and relatives’ generosity doesn’t match my neediness and materialism. And probably the biggest bummer of being born on the 24th is how much it made me not like Christmas. It’s bad enough that my birthday is almost always a huge let down, but do I really have to pretend to be joyful on the next day too? As far as I could remember, I never really looked forward to Christmas even as a kid because I always end up tired when the day is over. And I’m never the one to rake in lots of money too because, being the youngest, I’m the least known kid in the family. Growing up, I’m used to seeing surprised faces of relatives because apparently, they didn’t know I exist. Being older, the novelty of Christmas has totally worn off.
I’m turning 21 today. And the past few years have been a blur. I really can’t remember how I did my birthday 2-3 years ago.
It has been a pretty rough three years for me, with things come crashing down more than they are building up. One failure lead to another and one disappointment gave way to another one. It’s ridiculous, but I would say that I was pretty beaten down. I felt like a lot was taken away from me without a warning. I was taken by surprise, or shock. For three years I felt lost and aimless.
The hardest thing to overcome during the first few months was the fact that I failed at something I was pretty sure I’m good at. It was bitter and ugly. It kept me up for countless of nights, thinking where I went wrong and why did it seem like nobody cared that I did. I was alone after the fall and I was left with no one to hold on to, let alone to blame. I have always felt like I have to suck it up, toughen up and move on as quickly as the people around me did. But the pain lingered. It took over me. It hung around like a dark cloud over my head and I feel like I can’t tell anybody because I felt like nobody wanted to pause and look back and see how I was holding up. I felt useless because I know I was.
Then it came to a point where I isolated myself from people I cared about. Shame was what I felt. I was ashamed that what happened to me actually happened and I was ashamed that I had to pretend to be okay in front of others. I don’t want to be in denial but admitting to it still hits me inside. I just feel drained after having to put up a front when I am with others. I know that it wasn’t asked of me to put on a smile and pretend to have a good time, but at that time I felt like it was the right thing to do. And as time went by I lived for solidarity. I wanted silence. I longed to be left alone. I feared the laughter I shared with people because I knew that there is something else that’s eating me up inside. Having company wasn’t an escape, it was a reminder that I feel better alone. So before I knew it, I became out of touch. I counted months not seeing anybody other than my family and I was actually fine with it. My bubble became a wall and it was only much later on that I realized that I was stuck.
I’m really trying hard to remember how I “celebrated” my birthday for 2010-2012. Okay, I’m not sure if it was 2009 or 2010 that was the worst, but I would say it was 2009. 2011 was fine, I guess. Last year was a whole new different low, but what I remembered most was I had a birthday cake. So it was pretty good.
It really is a big bummer remembering how birthdays went if it has always been overshadowed by a much bigger birthday holiday (I’m looking at you, Jesus). Of course I remember 2012 the best because a.) it was just last year, b.) it was different all-time low for me, and c.) there was cake involved.
All these time that I was constantly hitting rock bottom, I made it sure that I still have myself in check. I made sure I never acted on thoughts that I’m constantly having. I was passively wishing for things to happen, but I wasn’t brave (or coward) enough to act on it. I also made sure that even if I was out of school, I am not getting dumber. I rekindled my passion with reading and writing (hence this blog). And on top of all, I made sure that even though I was lonely and miserable, I wasn’t desperate. And I didn’t want to drag anybody in my misery. I know that I was working on a very thin line separating everything that I became to desperation. But I crossed that line. Crossed it and danced all over it, much to my disadvantage.
I would say that 2012 has been my turning point. It is when I called a spade a spade. I realized that I should be doing something. Just anything but wallow in my failed past. I came into terms with my feelings. I was hollowed out and just ready to fill the hole with anything that would just get rid of the void. It was going well. I found a job and was pretty content with it until it ended. I was empty even before I was even half-full.
My days weren’t as dark as they used to be, but I grew tired of the silence that I brought myself to long and live for. I would like to think that I am a smart guy for the most part, but I’m also capable of doing really stupid things. So, yeah, there I was, basking in the glory of my last few months of my being a teenager being an idiot. I was at my most desperate and I did drag people around while I’m at it. I looked for something to hold on to, a temporary crutch, maybe it was also that I just needed to breathe a different air. You know, try to let go of the things that I lost by holding on to something else. But it all boiled down to the fact that I was making excuses for myself. I filled my emptiness with lies and bullshit I soon started to believe. I get caught up and it was horrible.
I guess I could say that this is the deepest of the rock bottom that somehow kept on spiraling downward for me. It was painful. It was the worst because it was something that I would’ve not done. I was finally in control of my situation and I chose to be stupid about it. It was something that I’m still sorry for, but somehow it turned me around.
So there I was again, back to fucking square one. Miserable, lonely and desperate. I needed to rethink and over think again and giving up, really giving up, became the most reasonable option. Man, I was depressed. I have always been and I started 2013 in my most depressed state. The sleepless nights came back, the ones where I can’t even cry myself into. I was just there, lying, feeling guilty about things I could and couldn’t control. I felt sorry for myself, but I felt more sorry for the people I have affected. I blamed myself, then I blamed the person that I was. My moods were all over the place, and I felt bad about it. I resented the fact that I have no idea how I’m feeling. My sleep came in shorter and I wasn’t too thrilled about waking up. I was scared of my future and how fucked up it may look like. I was mad at myself for doing and not doing the things I have and have not done. I grew to hate the walls I built around me. I lost hope and I gave up on dreaming.
2013 may have not started well for me, but for some reason I felt like I needed it to be that way. Half the time I thought I was just going through an extra long phase of loneliness. I mean, how can I possibly be depressed if I seem to function well? It took me lots of courage to finally realize that something is wrong and I am possibly paving a way to a really dark future. I am slowly accepting the fact that I needed and still need help. I guess the best I can do is help myself.
I realized that the moment I entered the state that I am in for the past few years, I wouldn’t come out of it as the same person. I may not get the same drive I used to have before and I may not allow myself to be as passionate about certain things, but I think I can deal with that. I realized that happiness isn’t my end-game after all this chase with my demons, I just need to be perfectly fine with how life molded me. I guess we are at our best when we stay unfixed and wounded. Everything doesn’t need to be all right.
I may have lost certain connections along the way, and man did I grieve for my losses. But I needed to regroup my thoughts and re-evaluate the relationships I have for me to be able to move forward. Letting go and realizing that I may have driven certain opportunities away is a big pain in the ass, but maybe some things and some people don’t stick around for the best.
I’m sorry that I didn’t turn out as great as everybody (including myself) thought I would be. I might have shown lots of promise, but shit went down and nobody can control it. I’m still disappointed that I don’t have it all figured out. But at least I can say that I’m not scared to try again anymore. I’m sorry to my 10-year-old self because the light in his eyes have died after a couple of years but I am working on it. I would also tell my 10-year-old self to not judge one of his birthday party guest for assembling his garden salad on top of a heap of rice. People are weird. And you will grow up to be one weird guy yourself. And what’s your business serving garden salads on your 10th birthday? You’re not going to be a healthy eater no matter how hard you try.
I don’t think I will be having a big birthday this year. it’s just too tiring to get people together this day. But I’m glad that I have a few things to be thankful for. I am lucky to still be alive, and I’m glad I didn’t wish hard enough for some things to happen. I’m also happy to have friends that stood by me. You guys don’t know how much a single text, call, like or tweet mean to me. And of course my family. I may have not openly tell them what I’m going through but I know that somehow they knew, and they try their best to make things ok. And I thank myself for screwing up and still trying to stay strong. I’m giving myself a pat on the back because I fucking deserve it and all the love I can give myself. Here’s to conquering my twenties still working on lots of things and still embracing my mistakes.
Happy birthday, war is over.
Now, where my cake at?