I never kept “important” dates.
I don’t know when I accepted Christ. I don’t know when I started speaking in tongues. I don’t know when I had my first kiss. I don’t know my first day in uni (both times).
Okay. I do know these days. I just don’t know the dates.
Today though. Today’s important. Today is my birthday.
I’ve had quite a number of those. Birthdays, I mean. Each one different from the next. But somehow, they are all so similar.
It starts a few days or weeks before. I’m quite excited but trying not to be because history has proven that they never quite cut it for me. Leaving me utterly disappointed at the end of the day, and reaffirming my theory about expectations leading to disappointments.
By the night before I’m truly anxious. I’m never quite sure whether the anxiety is because I’m right, or because every bone in me is hoping I’m wrong.
Then the first call. Usually a girl. I’m happy. At least someone stayed up for me. I might post something online that reminds people it’s my birthday and suddenly, the wishes come flooding in. Some very impersonal, others too personal. I’m glad I’m not spending it alone.
Then I begin to wonder, will I get gifts this year? Something edible? Something I’d have a year from now? Would it be a thoughtful gift? Something planned for weeks? Or something last minute? Would it be utterly impersonal? Would I spend the rest of my life wondering if they know me at all? Or rather they know me too well? Most of all, would I like it? Or perhaps, even love it?
I would chastise myself. Saying that the mere fact that some people remembered is enough. I would remind myself that the world does not revolve around me. I don’t “deserve” anything and should be grateful for whatever gesture or gift I receive.
I lose it.
I wonder if I’m allowing a gift, or the lack of it, define my self worth. Not everyone cares about these things. And that’s okay. Right?
It has to be okay. I can’t expect anything from anyone. They don’t owe me anything.
Then I receive a gift. Something I probably never wanted/needed or both. But I’m so happy. Happy that someone thought of me long enough to get me something. Happy that they gave me a gift to celebrate. Happy that there’s someone out there who thinks I deserve one of those.
Sad that I didn’t really get much. It’s the realisation that I could’ve been showered with gifts from loved ones but wasn’t. That’s what knocks the wind out of my chest.
But that’s not fair to them. That’s an unfair expectation from people who have no idea I am expecting something.
So I blame myself.
For never being able to tell people exactly how I feel. And lying about how it’s no big deal.
Dr Nyameba 💜
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