Halloween is my birthday. Before you get all "that's so cool, you must have the birthday ever every year", let me just say it has it's ups and downs. Really, I don't know why, maybe I think it should be so extraordinary, but it's not. However, that's not to say it isn't great. After all, I can become someone else for a night or put on my "birthday" wig and be incognito for a day or two.
When I was younger, my birthday ROCKED. Probably because I was a kid and it was all about trick-or-treating. My mom used to make my costumes - one year I was Sleeping Beauty and she did an amazing job with the dress. Another year I was Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz" and I put our black Lhasa Apso in a basket as Toto. My parents let me take her to school and show everyone my costume and then they took her back home. And...there was always more candy and cupcakes for the class.
As I grew older, it became harder but my family did amazing things for me: Sister1 taped a huge plastic pumpkin outside my bedroom door. When I woke up I ran right into it and couldn't stop laughing. One year my parents turned our garage and basement into a haunted house. It was a family affair and my friends thought it was amazing! For my Sweet Sixteen I came home to my boyfriend and a handful of friends hosting a surprise party. It was mellow but so much fun. That's when I began to realize that it's more about who you're with than anything else. I didn't get a car, a real piece of jewelry or anything else extraordinary, just my family and friends.
I love the effort my family always put in. Most years my Dad would dress up as a ghost and as kids walked into the entry way and rang the bell, he'd jump out from the garage or off the chair he was sitting on. He continues to do something fun. He loves Halloween. For him, it's the greatest night of the year.
Since I moved away and became (cough) older, things changed. There was no longer family, family but there was a new family. My Urban Tribe and they have done some pretty awesome things from a surprise party for my 31st to simply dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant. Or the few years I've shared my birthday with others and had a mean girls night of manis/pedis and BYOB sushi. The last two years I've gone to the parade in Boystown, which is every gay man's national holiday and a riot! These people go far out for incredible costumes - of course all I can think about is how do you go to the bathroom in that thing? And...of course my family has visited. Sister 1 has rang in the Big 30 and Bigger 35 with me and my aunt and uncle celebrated numero 32 with a night filled with Italian and champagne.
Then there were the beginning years in Chicago when everyone talked me into hosting a party at a bar. I did that and 200 of my closest friends RSVP'd to attend, however, in the end maybe 35 showed and stayed, another 35 came, said they were just coming in to wish me "Happy Birthday" and then leave, and, in the end, I was left holding the bag for the room. Their excuse - "We have, like, five more parties to go to..." And I was like "Listen, sister, I vaguely remember holding your hair back from your face while you puked into a trash can in the "Viagra Triangle" (locals know what I'm talking about) at 4:00 in the morning on your birthday and you can't stay and have ONE drink to help pay for the room?" Whatever. Sure friends pitched in so I wasn't alone in paying $1,000 to the bar -yep, you read that clearly - but I was embarrassed and mad, and the rest went on credit card. Obviously, I've not done anything like that since.
I often wonder if it's because I'm single and alone that I don't feel like my birthday is really that great. There's no waking up in the morning to "Happy Birthday, babe", someone to take me to dinner or dress up in a couple's costume. Reading through this, I know that I'm pretty lucky and it's not so bad, but I feel like something's missing. Aside of the costume and parties it's just another day. I do want to give my gay boys a shout out for Saturday night. I came out of the bathroom to trick candles on Twinkies and happy birthday, followed by a Tequila shot at Midnight and more singing. Now, I DO NOT DO Tequila. He and I had a bad one-night stand in college, and since then we just don't interact without Margarita mix. Needless to say, it was not pretty and, to that point, I'd only had three and half drinks over five hours. I was done.
There's also a new need. A need to not be hungover or worthless the next day. Besides, Sunday was my actual birthday and I wanted to enjoy the day. I could have slept a few more hours but at 7am my eyes opened and I decided to get the day started. What did I do? I cleaned my house. Seriously, it's the best gift I could give to myself, aside of a day off (today) to finish the job. Later a could gay boys took me to yummy Mexican, I hooked up with Tequila again, in a Margarita, and then to the parade. I wish I had taken pictures to share. Laughing was the medicine I needed and I received it. After wards, I we went to a gay bar (me in my brunette bob wig) where I had my butt grabbed twice and one telling me how much he liked it. My response "Honey, I'm not what you think I am". A compliment is a compliment!
I guess at the end of the day that my birthday is child-like and youthful, and I've begun growing out of it. Not in a way that I will never dress up and go to parties, but in the "I want to celebrate my day in a new way." Or, maybe I need to accept a new, exciting normal and I'm really just a big whiner who needs to dump her expectations. What that "new normal" is I have yet to determine, but I can tell you the Big 40 is on the horizons and I'd like to be in a place to do something BIG with family and friends!
Hope you had a wonderful and safe Halloween!