Marwa Kazi Mohammed
I hate my birthdays. They only remind me of how unimportant my existence is.
Every year on that particular day, I am reminded that no surprise party is waiting for me, no one will post a lengthy essay with a picture, and no one thought of a gift months ago for me.
Every other day of the year, I’m alright with it. I do my part, I plan parties and buy gifts and post pictures on other people’s birthdays. I do all of these for the people who are supposed to be my loved ones, my best friends, my significant other. And I see them do it too, for other people. And it seems very reasonable because all these other people are important. They deserve love.
Me? I’m bland and boring, and unpretty and average. I’m not important. I know that. I accept that. And I move on with my life.
I keep being the least important friend, the least important person in the group, the last priority. I keep taking pictures of my beautiful friends together. I tell them where to move and how to pose, so the group picture comes out well. And if I’m lucky, I get a mention in the photo credit.
And it doesn’t bother me at all. I react to the pictures and take them on every occasion, repeatedly. But there are times when I don’t take the pictures because I wasn’t invited at all. That’s alright; it doesn’t bother me anymore.
But honestly, it does bother me. I get tired of being unspecial. I get tired of being a nuisance, and I get tired of the reminders that I’m not pretty or funny or talented. I see people being treated specially. I see my friends treating each other like friends should be treated. And I get tired of never figuring out why I’m never that person.
And I try, I try to laugh at the depreciating ‘jokes’ they throw at me, I ignore being ignored. I try dressing better and trying to be pretty. And skipping lunch so I can afford that special hangout where I forced myself an invite so my friends can make me feel excluded. And I try to get rid of my dark spots. And I try not to cry myself to sleep almost once a week.
And I get exhausted. I never really know why I’m not enough, and I don’t know what to do about it. I think of being brave and finding a new company. But I know, I’m too old, too unpretty, and too unimportant to have anybody like that.
And I move on with my life. I let myself be lonely in a crowd, keep quiet in hangouts, take the group photo, plan the parties, and never complain.
Until I wake up on my birthday, and I know that all those things that my friends get, the things they do for each other, and things I do for them- they will never do for me. They never have.
I’m not important, not pretty, not funny, not talented, and not special.
I know. But I could surely go on without the annual reminders.