Halloween was—not the Halloween I wanted. I was a pirate, and people stopped me in the streets and said, “Oh my god! You’re a pirate!” and that was full of happiness, because oh my god, yes, I am so totally a pirate, arr! Candy? But I did not end up doing anything at all, and that felt like a very sad thing indeed to me, especially when I had been all filled up with the Joy of the Holiday Season, sloshing around inside me. Where was it all supposed to go? It drained out of me, and left me sad and sitting in a puddle, all alone, sighing arr and avast and well blow me down, and sobbing into me bottle of rum. Yo, ho. Ho.
But then there was my birthday, and I was filled with the spirit of having the day off and being older and yet, still so pretty. Wiser, and yet not so wise that I didn’t do anything slightly retarded like spend way too much on a bottle of bubblebath that smells like unicorns and rainbows and shiny diamonds. It was a good day—so exactly what I needed, and everything I wanted, which is really how birthdays ought to go. If on your birthday you find yourself doing something you dislike or even for a moment being vexed, my advice to you is to punch the vexer right in the face and then go straight out and buy yourself a pony. Birthdays are sacred.
To celebrate myself and sing myself, I went and snuggled into a big
leather chair and gave people money to do my nails which always makes
me feel slightly guilty, because are my hands broken? Can’t I do my own
nails? Sure I can! But it smacks of effort. Also, when I do my own
nails, I also end up doing the couch and the floor and the walls and it
looks, more or less, like a murder scene and then I spend a lot of time
in front of the sink, doing my Lady Macbeth impression because the
stains won’t come out. And I tip well. And I will stop justifying
myself now, and tell you they massaged my calves and admired my
tattoos, and I sipped my iced latte, and what a lovely way to start a
And then I raced downtown and laid down on a table in a spa and got my
eyebrows done, which always makes me feel pretty. Then a haircut from
the very best haircutter on all of the earth who always makes me feel
gorgeous and tells me how super-excellently awesome I look and how
sassy I am and how can you not fall a little bit in love and try to
forget that this is a relationship that involves the exchange of money
for goods and services? Sometimes, you have to let yourself forget. And
then a drink with one of the very best people on the whole of the
earth, and my mood, already spectacular, grew spectacularer, and my
birthday was nearly completely complete.
The bar was loud and the lines were long but the drinks were good and
friends started coming in, in twos and threes and were arranged all
around me and I felt lovely and loved, and that, right there, is
exactly what makes a birthday perfect, what makes it important, what
makes it sacred. The chance to drag everyone over and wrap them up in a
hug and hope that they know how important they are to you, and how much
they mean to you, even though you suck all the other 364 days of the
year—thank you for loving me, even though I suck. Thank you for coming
and celebrating the day I was born, and I will try not to suck any
more, if you will forgive me. I know how lucky I am, I do.
Drinks, incredibly thoughtful gifts, a cab ride home. A half day at
work the next day, and then a weekend with E., who came bearing
presents and kisses, and accidentally, we spent the whole weekend
inside and it was perfect, and I did not want it to end.
I never want it to end, my birthdays and my birthday weekends, because
it feels like the beginning of something—a fresh start, a chance to
take everything I’ve done over the past year, both for ill and for
good, and not wipe the slate clean, but stack it all up and use it as a
stepping stone toward the next set of choices and decisions and
mistakes and spectacular failures and maybe some successes, this
time—maybe more successes, this time. There is always that hope, for
this time. A weekend and a few days of feeling new and feeling hope.
Making plans. And now it’s time to actually begin, which is the hard
part. There’s no more putting it off.