Happy Birthday To Me

I’m resisting the urge to be self-deprecating
To lament about how much better I can be
At being me.

I’m holding back from giving the same spiel I give everyone
On every one of my birthdays
How I feel the ayin of my life more than the yesh (always nothing over something)
So please excuse my almost-constant state of existential angst.  

Oy.

You don’t want to hear me talk about how 37 is almost 40, and how the you-know-what can I be almost 40 when I remember 18 like yesterday?

And then suddenly, my face crumbling, realizing I’m no longer 18.
Or 23.
Or even 30.

No, you don’t want to witness that.

(The curse of nostalgia.)

I won’t share my birthday wishes
Or resolutions
To be nicer to my kids
And show more love to my husband
And be less critical
And more present
And feel more free
From my cage.

That I’ll lose weight and have a pretty face of make-up and do real good at my job and
Never fail.

And I won’t pretend that’ll happen, either.

When I was younger, I made everyone memorize my birthday.
March 18th. Chaf Adar.
March 18th. Chaf Adar.
March 18th. Chaf Adar.

As if them committing this date to mind proved that I was likable.

Memorable.

Worthy.

So, as much as I will want to
I’ll try not to
Somehow, so masterfully (as always)
Deflect the attention
When you say Happy Birthday
To me.

Because as much as I want to
And try to
Hide.
And disappear.
And apologize my life away.

I want to be seen.