I’ve always hated birthdays.
When I was a kid, I had exactly one birthday party with birthday wrapping paper and a song with the word “birthday” in it sung to me.
The crying was off-the-charts. When asked why exactly I was crying, I managed to shake out a few words between wracking sobs “I-i-i-i-i-i d-d-d-d-d-don’t w-w-w-w-want to g-g-g-g-get old-d-d-d-der!”
And so it went. From then on, people sung me “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow” and birthday presents had to be wrapped in non-birthday paper. Like newsprint. Or Christmas wrapping. Thankfully, my birthday is in December, so it wasn’t too hard to find alternatives.
My mom had this theory about me as a kid that June-December was when I did most of my growing – “the halves to wholes” theory. That from my half birthday to my birthday I had a rough time of everything. I used to hang onto this theory until I became an adult and it seemed like an about even (in good years) mix of good and bad days that spread roughly evenly across the year, no matter the season (though summer can still fuck itself, especially July).
But one thing has always hit me with regularity: I fucking hate January.
I feel badly about it, since my husband and my mom and my uncle have January birthdays, but it’s really nothing personal. I just don’t like it much. And here in Texas, January means I’m in an allergic haze of existence due to mountain cedar.
January 2015 went by in a blur. Tiny house found, moving, apartment, settling, sick sick sick, endometriosis, pain, tired, uncertain, depression, fatigue, depression, sick sick sick. And then February came. I scheduled a life-changing procedure. And I woke up a little. Made some plans. Started writing again.
I’m due to have surgery next month. It’s out-of-state, for my endometriosis, with a specialist (for my endo sisters, the laparoscopy is wide excision). I’m terrified. Terrified of the painful pre-surgical appointments and invasive vaginal ultrasounds. Terrified that I’ll die on the table from some rare anesthesia-allergy-attack. I’m also excited. For a trip! For hope that within a few months I’ll recover fully and say “Shit, I felt TERRIBLE for the last eleven years. I forgot what it felt like to feel good.” I’m also terrified that I won’t feel different. I’m terrified to hope. I’m terrified to mourn the last seven years since my first unsuccessful, non-specialist surgery. I’m scared of the anger I’ll feel when I realize that someone could have helped me sooner.
But whatever I feel, it’s coming. Soon, soon. For now, we have February and some creativity goals for myself. With hope on the horizon again, I can wake up a little.
Regina Spektor released a song a few years ago called “Jessica.”
Some of the lyrics:
Jessica wake up.
It’s February again.
It’s February again, we must get older, now, so please wake up.
We must get older now, so please wake up.