I Don’t Know Why Birthdays Are So Depressing

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Allegra Messina

I don’t know exactly when the switch took place. Don’t know the age I hit when celebrating another year around the sun started to feel more like an obligation than a party. Maybe it was seventeen, the one after he died. Maybe it was loss and grief and the idea that even the good moments would always come with a pang of what used to be. Or maybe it was just growing up. Inevitable, really.

I don’t know if I feel this more and more each year because women have been conditioned to believe our value decreases with age. This archaic mentality – that we’re not spring chickens anymore, constantly losing eggs and vitality and everything anti-aging products promise to bring back. Bounce! Elasticity! We are racing an unbeatable clock that we’ve been forced to look at our entire lives. Even when we don’t want to. There’s always a reminder. Are you married? Do you want to be? Remember, your fertility has an expiration date! Tick. Tick. Tick.

I don’t know if birthdays feel sad to me because I’m always a little sad and that’s just the nature of clinical depression. If I just carry a level of empty that some can’t fully grasp. If maybe knowing I’m supposed to be happy on a day I’m not always happy makes the sadness even worse. Makes it feel lonely to not want to join the festivities.

I don’t know if I’m just smack in the middle of my quarter life crisis and it’s hard to see the other side of the tunnel, even if I know it’s there. Maybe recognizing one more year reminds me of things I didn’t get done. Of things I did do. Of things I shouldn’t have. Of everything I promised I would.

There’s just so much I promised I would do. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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