It was my birthday yesterday, and it was lovely. Well, I had about 4 birthdays really- a day in Colchester castle with MG and Willis, dinner with my dad and step-mum, a day out in Magna (hahaha, google it. It's a disused Yorkshire Steelworks made into a kids' science museum, ever appropriate) and then an impromptu family party last night. Gooood stuff. I'm currently in the middle of a sugar coma/hangover from all the crap I've consumed though, hahahaha. The rule about there being no calories on birthdays is excellent, until the day or so after when they suddenly creep up, whooops.
I think I wrote maybe this time last year, about post-birthday blues. About how a birthday isn't a celebration of your birth, not for yourself, but more a marked day every year, a day where you actually chronicle your actions in a way you don't do on less significant days- it's an anniversary of so much more than one day, it's an anniversary and a reminder of the good and bad from years gone by. The specific day is symbolic of the weeks and months around it, in this way. I was born on the first of September, 1990. But what I remember is where I was and how I felt on the 1st of September every year since about 1994 or '5, whereas I'm not sure exactly what I did on, for example, the 18th of June every year. To the people present at your birth (or, even if not in the room for it, remember the day you entered the world), it IS an anniversary of that one day, they're more likely to remember where they were on that day in that year, than where they were on that day in others. But given how you don't remember your birth but remember more the celebrations years later or whatever, I don't suppose many people dwell much on the day they were born itself.
So this is all fine and good, mostly. In fact, at the risk of contradicting myself, I'd say most people maybe DON'T dwell so much, not consciously at least, on previous birthdays because there's something about us, maybe societal or psychological, that makes us dwell more on the bad, I think. Given that your birthday is supposed to be a day to celebrate and so, chances are and to put it simplistically, each anniversary is part of a vague mental collage of happy memories, I suppose people don't think so much. But there's always a bit of, 'oh, when I was a kid, on my birthday...' or maybe a thought about how drunk you were on your 16th or whatever- always a memory.
I have struggled on previous years over memories of previous birthdays. How I know my weight from every 1st of September from 1999, to the present. The birthdays spent in terror of that weight; of having to eat cake; of having to do the happy, social thing when I'd rather stay in bed and not dwell on another year wasted, always the waste and the seeming lack of progress.
But this year was different. I'm happy. Well, right now I'm feeling huge and my head hurts and I feel grubby and generally shitty. But the 1st of September 2011 was not a sad day, it wasn't a day to lament a wasted year, or anything like that- in fact, it was lovely because 21 feels so fresh. I've had blips, time that adds up to months on hospital and the police station, over the last year. I've had horrific days, nights, weeks, months. I've wanted to die. But I haven't. In fact, I actually lived, truly lived... and now I'm 21 I feel no different, of course I don't. And this year will also have blips, I know it. I KNOW it- that's what's reassuring, I'm not expecting any great eureka moment as I did when I turned 13, 16, 18 and 20 and I think that's the eureka in itself. Yesterday was a cause to think about previous 1st of Septembers, but this year there wasn't the feel of it being out of my control, of a lack of progress. I AM better than I have been. My eating disorder has been better this year than ever before; I've mostly managed to live away, mostly independently; I've taken responsibility and I will continue. More progress, page turned.