You’re going to have to excuse me on my birthday. It’s going to get a little heavy in here.
Back when I was 23 (I think it was 23), I thought I had the worst birthday ever. I spent most of it by myself, my friends were all busy, my girlfriend wasn’t around, and there was no cake to be had. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own, and from then on, I decided that I would take complete control of my birthday. I was taking the reigns of the day I was born in my hands, and through that promise to myself, Festivus was born.
Every year since then, I would take the week off surrounding my birthday and celebrate however I wanted. I saw something I wanted? I’d buy it. A restaurant I want to eat at? Goddamn it I would eat there. The wine, beer, and scotch would flow. Some years I’d throw a party, where I’d have a bunch of people over and make food for everyone. One year I threw the famous ‘Reverse Surprise Party’, where I invited a bunch of friends out to a bar for unknown reasons, then told them it was my birthday, brought out hats for everyone and opened a bunch of gifts that I purchased for myself. All the gifts were labeled ‘To Me, From Me’. For years, my birthday was something I looked forward to more than any other holiday, simply because it meant I could be absolutely selfish for a week. I was certain that my birthday would always be an awesome one because I was in control and nothing could change that. Life occasionally has a wonderful way of throwing a wrench in your plans.
The worst birthday I ever had was my 30th birthday. I was surround by family and friends, and I was in Vancouver over at my uncle’s place. Unfortunately, my father’s funeral was the next day. On August 11th, 2013, my father passed away in Victoria. A couple hours later, I opened the gifts that he got me for my birthday. It was a surreal experience, one I’ll never forget.
Needless to say, since then my birthday has had my father’s death shadowing it. I have not really celebrated my birthday since. What used to be a week-long festival of selfishness turned into me wanting to hide away under my bed for a month. And, until very recently, I was about to write the whole birthday thing off completely.
Enter my girlfriend Kat. I was telling her about Festivus and how I used to celebrate my birthday before meeting her. She knew why I didn’t celebrate my birthday anymore, but because she’s awesome she decided to do something about it.
There’s only one gift I demand for my birthday from people if they’re so inclined to get me something. And that’s a macaroni card. A card decorated with macaroni. Or basically anything that you have to sit down and make. Write a poem, sing a song, or paint a picture. Something I can’t buy for myself. I have a box full of the cards I’ve gotten for my birthday over the years, and every once and a while I open that box and reminisce about birthdays past and the friends who’ve made me something.
Kat, knowing I’ve been kinda down in the dumps the last couple of days, went ahead and painted me a picture every day for the last five days. My dull office now has a wall full of art. Considering she’s finishing her degree in Fine Arts, they also happen to be great paintings! Here, I will show you some of the art I’ve gotten this week.
Day one: Unicorn and Narwhale
Day Two: Lonely Bird
Day Three: Scaredy Owl
Day Four: Chilling Crows
Day Five: Odin’s Raven
I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the past relationships I’ve had and the gifts I’ve received. But never has anyone taken as much time to pull me out a depressive funk as Kat has. If she hadn’t done this, there’s a good chance I would never have celebrated Festivus ever again. This week, it feels like my birthday again. So thank you very much Kathryn, I owe you dearly and I love you very much.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. I still have to work today, which is the first time I’ve worked on my birthday in years. And I think it will also be the last time I work on my birthday.
p.s.s. Yes, there is clearly a theme going on in the paintings.
p.s.s.s. I’ll be taking Sunday off, because it’s going to be a taco fest here in the apartment! Beef tongue is ready to go!