Hello and happy Thursday. For the brief time of my professional life in which I worked with teens, I couldn’t help but look back and relate to things they were living. And, like my psychoanalyst says, I was looking at those moments “from the other side,” like a bullfighter after the fight, watching their colleagues struggle with a huge beast that might harm them. I know, terrible analogy, but it was my psychoanalyst’s, not mine.
One day I had class with ninth grade and this girl approached me and said “Miss, can I got to the nurse’s office. It’s my birthday and I have a terrible headache.” Now I can only speculate that she decided to give me those two pieces of information because they were related. She was telling me that it was her birthday and that she was having a miserable time. I looked at her and told her, with all the conviction in the world and now being on the other side, that it would get better. I mean, it has gotten better for me, at least.
When I turned fifteen years old I was in ninth grade. I wasn’t going to throw a party, like some of my classmates, which is common tradition in Latin American countries. I was going to travel and see my favorite band perform at a shady bar in Chicago. I was going through that existential crisis I’ve told you about here and there, and honestly I was feeling quite indifferent towards turning fifteen.
I went to school that day because life was unfair. I mean, all birthdays should be moved to weekends or people should be allowed to avoid their responsibilities for the day. In my school we had to wear uniforms: skirts for “everyday,” and sweats for the days when we had P.E. I wore sweats on a skirt day on my fifteenth birthday because I got the schedule mixed up.
Now, I’ll tell you something now that I’m ten years older and not a day wiser: you do not want to attract attention on your birthday by wearing the wrong uniform. That’s just self-sabotage. Nobody noticed me very much that day at school aside from my two best friends who congratulated me and the math teacher who told me, “wearing sweats for your birthday, huh?” Self-sabotage, I’m telling you.
I feel that it was a bad birthday partly because of my attitude. I’m not one to announce to the world, “hey, today x years ago I came into this world,” but you know, I could’ve done something, like do a countdown so that people were aware and could at least congratulate me. With the years I have come to realize that sometimes people have the best intentions towards us and we have to give them a little push or stir in the right direction. Sometimes people want to do a nice thing for us and they need a clue as to what to do or how to do it.
That’s why I don’t blame anyone who didn’t say happy birthday to me that day, and that’s why a Facebook post resonated with me so much. The post was from a classmate who I can now call a good friend. She wrote on my wall something along the lines of “OMG I had no idea today was your birthday. Why didn’t you say anything?” I know now that she felt bad for having spending the entire day sharing a room with me and not saying happy birthday.
The following morning I threw up first thing. I didn’t even have time to go to the bathroom. I threw up on my duvet. And I felt, “well if this is what fifteen’s like, I don’t want it.” Even though I was feeling better later that day, I begged my mom to let me stay at home. For some reason I just didn’t want to be at school after my horrible birthday, and she let me. I feel that on that day I started “recovering” from that crisis of mine, and I decided no other birthday would be spent the way my fifteenth birthday was.
Do you remember any particularly bad birthday? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila