Poetry by Charles Joseph

On Birthdays

I don’t celebrate my birthday. As soon as I tell anyone that, their immediate reaction is always, “why? (Wtf).” Below, I’ve dived into detail with some of the reasons why I don’t celebrate my birthday. I’m sure you will understand after reading.

To me, a birthday is just another day on the calendar—I just so happen to have been born on that day, along with millions of others. So it’s nothing too crazy. Growing up, my birthday was never celebrated because no one knew what it was—and, still, that didn’t matter because, with 4 kids in the house, my caretakers would just have one celebration for all of us. So I got used to not having a personal birthday celebration. I have a vivid memory of my caretakers (aunt and uncle) at the time asking me for the date of my birthday. First of all, if you didn’t know then how was I supposed to know?! So I ran to a newspaper, looked through the zodiac pictures, and picked taurus because it had (still does) the coolest design of them all. I didn’t even read the attributes of taurus. At that time, the first day for taurus was on April 24th. I told my uncle that I was born on April 24th. Thinking back to that time of my life, what surprises me the most is how close this date is to my ACTUAL birthday. I was actually born on April 22nd. I’m a very spiritual person, but I think astrology is nothing but a marketing scheme and a bunch of excuses—something incredibly helpful for those who do not want to face the person in the mirror. Although I don’t believe in astrology, I still can’t help but wonder if there is something more than mortal—a spirit; a force; a signature within my existence that surpasses age and consciousness—that attracted me to the taurus zodiac (remember, I didn’t pick it for its qualities—I picked it because I thought that was a cool-looking bull).

The first legitimate “Charles-focused” birthday celebration was for my 11th birthday. As I grew older, I also grew an indifference towards holidays and other days where it’s a general consensus to do something “happy” or be festive. I never understood why on a holiday I am expected to magically be happy even though I still lived in a traumatizing home. So I stopped caring for these holidays. My birthday got thrown in there too. I also don’t like receiving all of that self-centered attention. I will admit that it does feel nice to be appreciated on one day a year—and I love seeing the creative ways that people want to express their appreciation for me—but eh. I don’t like this idea that people expect you to always “do something” for your birthday or, even worse, stop the ENTIRE world just because it’s “my birthday”. That’s cute and all, but the world doesn’t stop because it’s your birthday. Most people who are happy for you on your birthday are happy out of tradition, not out of true appreciation for your existence. Some people celebrate the whole month of their birthday; some celebrate the whole week of their birthday. I think that’s extra. What if I’m not feeling festive?

But if people feel the need to be extravagant for their birthday then please go off. It’s not my life and, honestly, it is nice to see how people choose to appreciate themselves. Don’t force that shit onto me though.

I still do something nice for myself on my birthday each year—something that I usually keep between me, myself and I. Most years, that something is whispering a prayer under my breath to thank God for giving me another chance.

There was a time in my life when I would not tell people my birthday because I didn’t want all the birthday attention that would be filled with phony wishes. I share my birthday now because I got tired of experiencing the weird atmosphere created when I tell people that knowing my birthday is not their business. But maybe I am more prone to sharing that information now because I carry some deep regrets about a girl I missed out on. I had a really nice thing going on with this girl back in University. Eventually, she stopped talking to me without any warning. I never knew why but I cannot stop thinking that it’s probably because each time she asked me for my birthday, I would refuse to share. She was REALLY into astrology haha.

Next week, I will be sharing what gifts I got myself for my birthday in 2023. Keep an eye out for that post!

2 responses to “On Birthdays”

  1. Happy birthday 26th yeah!

    1. Haha thank you, again, Nguyen 😅

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