Fragapanophobia – The fear of celebrating a birthday- one who does not wish for anyone, including family and friends, to acknowledge or celebrate their birthday.
As a child the most exciting day of the year would always be my birthday. You get cake, you get presents, you stand out in the sea of uniforms at school in your brand new spanking colourful outfit, you get to generously distribute treats amongst your friends and for that one day you are ever so ‘popular’!
As one grows older however, the excitement surrounding becoming one year older somehow began to diminish. The day just did not seem just as exciting as it did to me once upon a time.
I found that I was torn between remnant emotions of ‘cake anticipation joy’ and an underlying sense of dread. Dread that another year had been added to my credit, another whorl to my tree as it were. Have I indeed grown any wiser, have I indeed achieved any of the goals that I had set for myself during this past year? Have I earned the additional stripe? What achievement do I have to announce or share with friends and family who call me on the day? “Hey thank you for the wishes….oh yes yes all is well……hmmm what’s that now… what’s new you ask? Well, I’ve gained about 10pounds since last year. Besides that not much else, quite frankly!” That’s a conversation halter if any!
Invariably the dread would magnify in intensity as I approached the day and I would dig myself into a dark hole of depression most birthdays of late. The day would come, with friends and family reaching out in their own ways to make the day special for me. Gifts, calls, flowers, wishes and all I could think of while receiving all this positive love was ‘I don’t deserve any of this. I am a total imposter! I have done nothing all year and now all I have are several could haves and should haves.’
Then on the boxing day of a birthday (can you call any annual event+1 day that?), the cloud begins to slowly lift. I begin to get hopeful, excited even about the year ahead. This would be the age when I get my act together and make some long overdue tweaks to my life. This would be the year that will change me as a person entirely. Or so I would think. Days become night, routine becomes mundane and before you know it another birthday is round the corner. Once again my biggest achievement would be nothing.
Well, this year magically all that’s changed! I am positively hurtling at high speed towards another birthday once again and this time, surprisingly the black hole has a lid on it! I bet you did not see that curve ball in this story now did you? J
The past year or two have been momentous and action packed. I gained a child, I gained a new job, I gained oodles of weight and I gained a sense of direction quite literally. I mean this in its literal sense and not metaphorically. I am no longer always lost on the roads driving around in circles. All of a sudden my brain no longer freezes and I manage to recollect roads or actually find my way around town. I don’t have an unhealthy dependence on my GPS anymore. Strange as it may seem, this is actually an achievement for me. I have figuratively grown a spine and discovered courage too.
I suddenly find that I am increasingly becoming impervious to negative comments and have now learnt to switch off from toxic people. Perhaps it’s the added layers of experience or just the added layers to my hide! Maybe that peak once crossed in my mind I have begun to care less and less about keeping up with perceptions and accepting wholeheartedly my realities.
Perhaps my brain needed to reach a certain level of usage and maturity for me to discover a “who gives a f*&^k” attitude.
This year I am positively looking forward to my birthday. Bring it on new age! Grey hair? More weight? Slower metabolism? More work? More challenges? Bring it on! Challenges accepted!
Because I have finally figured out the fact that I have another birthday in itself, is a cause for celebration. For many lose this privilege abruptly and much too soon. The unpredictability of life is such that life deals you with sometimes a cruel hand when you least expect it. So many I love and so many whom I respect each carry their own individual crosses and my insignificant insecurities at each birthday seem to fade away as negligent in comparison.
So this year for those who decide to actually wish me, be warned you are going to be greeted by an alarmingly chirpy and upbeat person. I haven’t lost my mind, I am not intoxicated and neither am I faking it!
My joy is merely down to the fact that I am just grateful for the prospect of one more year to try and get it right this time!