For those of you who don't know, I feel compelled to explain (though I feel I must have done it before) the reason I tend to make such a big deal about my birthday.
Having a summer birthday when you're a kid SUCKS–or at least it did for me. Too much pressure. If your birthday falls during the school year, you can have cake with the whole class if you want to. There isn't the same level of angst–no need for invitations, for worry about who will or won't show up. This is not the case with summer birthdays, especially when you live in a rural place where there are no common neighborhoods to meet up in…and when you're surrounded by budding sociopaths like I was.
I had a bona fide Mean Girl in my class throughout my elementary school career. On one of my better summer birthdays, which I believe was seventh grade-ish? Possibly sixth? Anyway, I had a pool party and it was fun; some of the kids from my class showed up, including the Mean Girl, and my brother's older friends who I tended to idolize and develop crazy crushes on. All was well until afterward, when I–I suppose for having had a good day–became the target of said Mean Girl for a three way call of doom. For those of you who don't know, in the days of three-way calling, it was seriously easy to "trick" someone onto the other end of a phone line. In this set up, one of the girls tighter in the Mean Girl's orbit convinced me to listen in on a conversation between herself and Mean Girl–in which, OF COURSE, Mean Girl said terrible things about me. Even then, I knew I'd been made a patsy. And I had to endure a sleepover with the traitorous assistant sociopath. So, birthdays? Sucked.
In college, I decided to reclaim birthdays as a good thing. Hence, GwendaGras was born. It doesn't last the full first 12 days of July anymore, but I do my best to make it count. And I see it as not unrelated to the recent Women Declare Their Awesomeness movement. We all deserve good birthdays. (And it's not like anyone forgets them anymore with Facebook to the rescue.) Embrace your BirthdayGras.
I also hatehatehate this societal message that getting older is an awful thing–particularly if you're a woman–and reject it utterly. Every year of my life has been a gift. Why wouldn't I want more gifts?
Sappy moment: It's because of all you guys–my dear friends and family, offline and on–that I feel this way. If you were ever tricked onto my three-way call, you'd only hear me say the best of things about you. To another year better than the last.
Updated: Several of you have sent me emails about how SAD the three-way call story is. Seriously, it's not that sad or I wouldn't have posted it here. That which does not kill us makes a killer anecedote later, etc. Also, thanks for your lovely b-day wishes all across the network of social–it was a fun day.