Since reading at Marj’s Blog Survivors Can Thrive that February’s Blog Carnival, hosted by Issue Knitting, would have a birthday theme I have known exactly what I would write about and submit. I was not surprised that Issue Knitting chose birthdays as a topic on her birthday month. I don’t know if she did that on purpose. But I did. The topic of birthdays are often on my mind during my birthday month. May is my birthday month and that is why I volunteered to host the Blog Carnival that month. I’m a Taurus, The Bull, those of you who read my blog can hardly be surprised.
My childhood memories are of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and for me that made everything wonderful. On our birthdays my siblings and I were able to request a specific type of cake for our birthday cakes.Even having a cake made by my sexual abuser did not lessen the excitement and happiness that my birthdays engendered.
So I remember the cakes and I remember the candles and blowing them out. I have an old photo of me at ten sitting in front of the cake all lit up. My face is glowing. I don’t think it was just the candles that were making them glow. That moment was one of the happiest moments of my year.
We usually didn’t get presents. My mother did not believe in them, nor in really celebrating the birthdays of her children much. She didn’t believe in much that was joyful or celebratory. She didn’t bring a lot of happiness into my life on those days. But even a little was a huge thing for me.
As an adult several of my siblings and I tried to change that and have small gatherings on our birthdays together with cake and presents. It was really nice and I have much more good memories of those days and so many days of anticipation.
I stopped seeing my sister several years ago due to emotional abuse in her home and by her. I tried long and hard to get her to stop, to get her to care about me and how I was treated by her and others in her home. Finally I had to stop going to take care of myself, to help myself be safe, and to learn how to heal away from abusers.
All our gatherings had been at her home for some time. They all still get together, without me. I still see some of my siblings privately. It is nice to take them out for a meal around their birthday, but the last few years they don’t have time to get together, often for months, a few times not at all. So the aloneness I feel most of the time is felt even stronger. And I resent that they see her, at her house, for their birthdays and don’t always have time to see me. I want to honor their birthdays. I want to celebrate. Even if it can’t be on the day they were born, I want to be with them and feel happy that they are my siblings, that they are mine and that I can be a part of their lives.
It’s just so hard, all this family stuff, all this birthday stuff. It gets all wrapped up, enmeshed in one another. Enmeshed, that is the one word that describes most of my life dealing with my family of origin, everything becomes enmeshed. That is what happens when you are from a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic and a sex offender as parents. I was the rejected ones, the scapegoat and that keeps repeating over and over in my family, with my siblings, even though both my parents are long gone.
Last year I saw my brother on the evening of my birthday. It was a lovely time. We went out to dinner. Then we went to pick out a cake and at his place we watched some television and then lit the cake. He had the most beautific look on his face as he was walking toward me with the cake. He was all lit up, all glowing. I could see the love for me in his face, his eyes. It reminded me so much of the little boy he had been. It made me love him more than before.
It was a relative’s birthday last month and so birthdays have been on my mind since then. A few days later I met a friend of his who had recently had a birthday as well. I told him well happy birthday then. He didn’t look happy about it. I suppose he is at that age where you don’t want to remember. He looked it. He said I don’t want to remember. I told him oh I do. On my birthdays I get treated by my family the way that I wish deep in my heart they would treat me all year through.
That is what I wish. But for now I am doing things to make my life fuller and richer and finding others who see me like that all year round. And every day I try to celebrate myself, my birth, my life. Today I breathe in and celebrate myself.