It was a long and well-hidden secret and yet everyone knows about it but me. It seems birthdays are absolute happy days––a day, bestowed, to you, a day on which you can be special, selfish, and narcissistic as much as possible. But why is society so discreet and won't tell me their secret to be happy on their day?
Going back years ago, it appears it is impossible for me to earn happiness when my day came. Year after year I try to meticulously conjure and control that day, so I would be susceptible to pain and stress, and only funnel happiness. But it’s a cheaply bought and poorly made funnel. Holes within holes were spotted in the material which hides a soft psyche full of repressed sadness and trauma. It drips and drips until it shows the hidden boy, cowering without cover.
And so, I tweaked it. Changed the concept of receiving happiness to being the provider of happiness. Meaning I created my own hope.
Four years ago, an offer came up to share the concept of debate with an uninitiated group of students, and surprisingly it was right on my day. I woke up early, took a shower, and walked briskly into the foggy campus. It was mundane yet an amazing activity just to wake up and feel excited.
I always had a knack for presentations and jokes. So that day, I taught the curious group of people about feminism, mental health, and nuclear weapons. I left them with smiles and laughs and knowledge then I came home alone feeling rejuvenated and fulfilled–– a bliss of feeling that fueled me for a year. I was a concrete-man molded by just that one day.
People said ‘happiness and sadness come and go’. The Quran endorsed that idea and I conceptualized it fully. But it seems for years now and after that day, there is an absence of happiness and the cracks of my concrete skin started to show. There are holes and molds besides the corrosion that is caused by time and the brutal circumstances.
Only grief and loneliness remain on the day. It promises happiness and delivers sadness. Always sad, never happy. It feels if the 7th of April were a worker, it would do terribly at its job. They would get fired and lived on the streets.
So I gave up on that day. I only expected sadness, loneliness, heartbreak disappointments, and more. But what I hate was, each year it had given me hope in a form of lovers, money, work, and objects. It was a manifestation of hope, it felt like a realistic longing with more than a 50% chance for it to transpire, and so I stupidly believe.
And no surprise, it was a chasm almost resembling an abyss yet it has an end where I could fall and die. I should stop believing.
Last year was somewhat saddening. I shared that birthday with my best friend. He was shocked, at how sad I could be. If I remembered, it was the first time he saw me cry. We were men, living in a patriarchy, so we never showed the limits of our sadness.
And I felt bad every time I shared that sadness with anybody as I was confused because I felt responsible to calm them down and lie, for just a little bit, that I will be fine. This sadness is temporary. I am a very sensitive man. Those are the defensive arguments. Now I feel lonely because sharing my sadness will always be associated with guilt.
I just wanted to be selfish this year. I’m turning 23. I thought that I would be a hotshot something by now, therefore I resonate so much with the film Tick Tick Boom. Age is just a reminder a ticking time bomb where it can explode which produces anxiety and pressure or even the most silent yet peaceful deaths. Birthdays are just a reminder of our mortality, of course, as cliche as it sounds. Birthdays are also a reminder that you have lived an X number of years in a world full of pain and suffering and scarce of happiness. And congratulations, you survived and had subscribed to another year!
I have always opt-out of suicide and managed to get myself out of that thought process since 2017. I considered thinking about loved ones and thinking about the glimpse of a chance to have a happy life. I always felt encumbered and shackled by money, religion, responsibility, and morality. Although, I think that's a good thing yet I just wanted to be repaid for my life of good deeds.
Maybe it's a selfish thought process to consider one is a good person and owed a happy life. But at least, one can hope as exactly the only thing that is certain in the life of uncertainty was just hope.
I haven't found that glorious day. I wish will. I wish it is this year. Happy birthday, me.