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I Called to Wish You an Unhappy Birthday

Well, I survived another birthday and you know what? It was pretty damn awesome. I had to go to work, but I got to come home to a very sweet and thoughtful man, two loving lunatic cats, wine, takeout, tiramisu, a showing of The Princess Bride

…and I didn’t cry!

You see, usually no matter what–even if everything is fiiiiiiiiiine–I end up in tears on my birthday.

This was probably my birthday.

So, I thought that in the spirit of our social-media-fueled love of self indulgence, I would take the time to honour myself and touch on some highlights from tearful birthdays past. I suspect only my mother* and father will make it to the end of this emotional journey with me, but it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

Age 1

It’s all downhill from here, kiddo.

I don’t remember this birthday celebration, but I am assuming it was awesome because LOOK AT MY CAKE MADE OUT OF JELL-O and LOOK AT MY FACE FUCKING LOVING IT. Take that, posh babies with your stupid ‘smash cakes’ and elaborately themed parties.

No doubt this celebration ended in tears. But tears generally aren’t frowned upon–indeed they are expected–when you are a one-year-old.

Age 3

A Veritable Potpourri of Agonies

Whatever kind of bad day I might have been having on this birthday was obviously trumped by the clearly terrible day my cousin Charlie had. Look at him abandoned up there on the sofa with a My Little Pony party hat on his head. Charlie recently described something to me as a ‘veritable potpourri of agonies’–I assume this party was just that for him.

Of course, I’m sure I still cried.

Age 7


I clearly peaked at 7 and haven’t changed much (in any positive direction) since. I had a Victorian Tea Party Birthday. Victorian Tea Party! Amazing. I’m jealous of myself. I don’t know if anyone else enjoyed decorating fans with rosebuds and lace, but I sure as hell did. I mean, in retrospect I’m annoyed my brother was anachronistically dressed as an Elizabethan and not a Victorian but what can you do? It’s hard to get good help.

Still cried.

The Slumber Party Years


These need not be documented. They were traumatic for all of us. Especially my friend Elizabeth who managed to projectile vomit at most spend-the-night parties.

Everyone cried. All of us. It always ended in tears. And fights. And warring factions.


Age 17


17 was a pretty bad year but a pretty damn decent birthday. My friends all pitched in to buy me this totally age appropriate gift–the *brand new* American Girl Doll, Kit Kittredge!

I really don’t think I cried, actually! But my dear friend Julia might have over a minor rear-ending incident in the parking lot of Dante’s Down the Hatch (the coolest restaurant ever that sadly closed its doors in 2013).

Age 18


This was another good one ’cause….. MY AMAZING FRIENDS GOT ME A FREAKING PLAQUE AT JALISCOS! It’s really comforting to know that no matter what I make of my life, I will be forever commemorated at the greatest Mexican Restaurant on the planet. Correction: greatest restaurant on the planet [sits her wine glass down on her Jaliscos coaster on her bedside table].

They love me! But I cried later over a boy who did not!

Age 21

I mean, T-Swift didn’t exist yet but you know what I mean.

This was genuinely a real low point. I had just transferred colleges from Boston and was living back at home. Pre-Facebook, my friends collectively forgot that it was my birthday and I did not hear from any of them. Not a single one!


As most uproarious 21 year-olds, I went for a nice dinner with my parents at an Italian restaurant in Virginia Highlands (trendy!). With great excitement (what was to be the highlight of my day), I ordered a bottle of wine for the table. I. Was. Not. Carded. The waitress did not ask to see my ID. Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?! I have been carded 99% of the times I have tried to order alcohol before and after the age of 21. I finally had the goods to show that I was legal and… suddenly the fact that I look 12 is ignored?!

I just…. I can’t.

Obviously cried.

Age 22


On this glorious day of my birth, my grandmother (100% serious, not joking at all) sent me a card with a little cartoon bird on the front saying, ‘A little birdie told me it was your birthday…’ On the inside of the card it said:

‘Maybe that little birdie should just shut up.’

Charming! Thanks, grandma!


Age 25


I think I worked a 12 hour double at Pasta Presto in New York for 25, 26, and 27. But 25 was pretty good. I had just been cast in the National Tour of… Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon playing a 10 year-old. So, obviously I thought I had it made and would never worry for an acting job again. Ignorance is bliss!

I finished my crying earlier in the day between shifts, and when I came home late from work, and a few of my friends had gathered a set up a little surprise for me! We drank sangria and conducted a very comical impromptu table reading of Amber Brown with debut performances from Anna, Celadon, Emma, and Sonia. This late evening with my girlfriends is one of my favourite memories and I wish I could replicate more nights like this.

Age 26



I should have been happy about this birthday: I was thin and capable of consuming beer, I cut off that horrible hair from the year before, my eyebrows were on fleek, and my roomie Anna had gone to great lengths to orchestrate a lovely evening for me.

I kept it together during the celebrations at the most wonderful establishment in New York City (original PJ Clarke’s), but after the last Sherwood cheese fry was consumed, I retired to my bedroom and listened to Adele and cried a lot. Over my future husband!

Age 29

This one had the trappings of a sad and friendless Atlanta birthday, but it ended up being another unexpected positive highlight. It was on a Saturday, and I had to fill in in the morning at the shop where I was working. My heroic parents came over later in the evening bearing Fellini’s pizza, and we snuggled with the cats and dvr’ed the latest film version of Jane Eyre.

Tears are inevitable when watching that film. Right?

The Robust Age of 33

As I said before, this year was awesome and tear-free. I woke up to Wilco tickets in my inbox from my dear brother. Boom! I went into work and received cards with cats on them–and an incredible miniature kitty crocheted by my amazing coworker. Boom! And I came home to an impressively wrapped case of wine and several more cards with cats on them (box and cat cards shortly thereafter eaten by Edward). Boom!

So here’s to more tear-free, low-key, and just fine birthdays to come. Because we’re adults and isn’t that all your birthday (day, you get one day, people!) should be: ‘just fine’? We’re all lucky to still be alive in this madcap world!

Let’s call it what it is: Happy First Day of Autumn, Everyone!

Socks and Jellies 4ever

xWG // #dazeandweekes

*My mother is actually a Birthday Party Genius. My parties as a child were all elaborate and great. They were highly themed and involved dressing up and props and full-family involvement (to the chagrin of my much older and cooler brother and sister). So, I think that earns me a lifetime of borderline un-celebrated adult birthdays.

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