Peculiar thoughts about the word “present”.
In the 4th Century, when Constantine banished the demons from his dark soul and let God into Rome and Christians became persecutors that outlawed all other forms of belief by torturing green garland hangers and incense burners, birthdays were outlawed and deemed evil (by Christians). How could you celebrate a life that was born with “original sin?” Pagan astrology and the celebration of an ego was sinful. For whatever reason, Christians changed their minds so they could celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Prior, ancient Egyptians celebrated the birth of Pharaohs because Pharaohs were considered gods. Pagan Romans were the first to celebrate the birth of the common MAN, especially those in government. The Chinese caught up when the 12 animals of the universe were summoned and raced up to the Jade Emperor’s palace and the order they came in determined the order of the zodiac. The rat made it up first, naturally. These magical animals traveled to China via trade route Silk Road (incase you were wondering where that onion fell from), and tall-tale supposedly this is how Buddhism was brought from India to China. The Chinese began to honor the birth day of the first born son into a family. Traditionally the Chinese eat noodles and the birthday being attempts to eat the longest noodle to represent a long life. Craving noodles? Some extra back fat Kotteri ramen on Rue des Petits Champs sounds like a dream right now.
By the 18th century when American colonials revolted and Marie Antoinette was beheaded, the husky ol’ Germans started baking cakes to celebrate each year their kinder survived. Kids got candles to blow to symbolize a wish that they’d survive another year.
What do you wish for when you blow your candles? How long is the noodle you swallow?
Then the western Amerrran industrial revolution went ape shit and instant cake batter was invented and everyone got fat and ate cake every day. Oh and some asshole trademarked the Happy Birthday song and now you can get sued if you sing it on Youtube.
How happy are your birthdays? Did you get a present in the present?
“But she forgot to wish me Happy Birthday, so fuck her.”
Did you at least get cake?
Another year. Does it really matter that everyone you don’t know writes on your Facebook wall, “Happy Birthday! Hope you are doing well?” Do those birthday wishes inspire you to survive another year? Do they push you to be your best self so that one day you can do what you love and live free? Does getting blacked out drunk and celebrating the day of your birth remind you how special you are? Maybe.
If you’re able to take a moment and celebrate yourself on any given day, then that’s a gift not many allow themselves to give as it is an act of self love and that act in itself is a constant battle to achieve and attain.
It’s peculiar that originally the celebration of a birth day meant survival, but it physically appears that the more wrinkles one gets on their face the less one wants to celebrate their life. Still, millennials and the Last Generation kids take shots, will totes accept money from mom and dad, and talk shit when someone forgets how special they are on one particular day.
Maybe the Mad Hatter got it right.
“A present given when it isn’t your birthday, of course.”
Present means now and now is THE present.
“and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents…”
How do you celebrate your present?
“It’s your year, I can feel it.”
said my best friend at a bar called James Beach in Venice Beach, California. It was my 25th birthday. I had almost been a year out of grad school and already felt like an old failure. I have a journal scribble about being 25 and worried about time. I’ve always worried about time; battling the minutes and never late. I had all this student loan debt and a masters degree I didn’t give AF about. I wore red jeans and a shear off-white top with a cut out criss-crossy back. I have this clear vivid vision of that day, I remember walking along the side of a street with my best friend and some other girls I barely knew. They had all taken me to dinner and paid and I felt this enormous guilt that they were there celebrating my birthday ‘just because.’ I felt I wasn’t a worthy because I wasn’t a worthy friend to them. Would I do the same for them? No (and no I’m not an asshole). I’ve always had this gut wrenching feeling of duty to be completely transparent. If I barely know someone, I don’t want to sit at a table and celebrate who they are because that would be lying to them. They may be this dynamic warrior, but to celebrate a birth, each year they survived, should be special and intimate. Even if one is surrounded by a hundred people, the experience can still be intimate. Amanda is my friend’s name, she’s always tried to make me feel remembered and special on this day and I love her so much for that (to the point that I’m choking up a little right now). Also on that day, my 25th birthday, my gynecologist thought I was 28 for whatever reason and told me that “In two years, if you aren’t in a serious relationship, you should start thinking about freezing your eggs because each year after 30, you are 10% less likely to conceive.”
“But I’m 25.”
“Oh, I thought you were 28.”
I went to my car and balled my eyes out.
“It’s your year, I can feel it.” said Amanda on my 27th birthday. I can’t recall anything changed in those two years except the interest rate acruding on my student loan debt. I worried so much about what I should have done differently, that I never looked toward what I should be doing, so time flew by and I stood still. Up until then, when people asked me what I’d been up to in the last four years or so, I’d get embarrassed because the truth is, I remember nothing. Just ask me what I’m doing now.
27 was the year of change for me. It was the year I died. Whatever killed me, sent me to the ugliest depths of hell and forced me to stare at the screaming caged gorilla in the mirror. My obituary and story of death will be saved for another sunny day. 27 was the year I learned that other people are everything and love is everything. Even on our deathbeds, we search for love from other people. I know that someone who loved me generously sent me to my hearts home, Paris and Barcelona, to just find myself. There is a picture showing I went, but I don’t remember going and have a hard time believing it really happened.
Like Christmas and any holiday, I’ve never felt comfortable celebrating my birthday. Particularly because my mother’s birthday is the day after mine and we have a strained relationship to say the least and because it simply never felt like something I needed to celebrate. It’s also a self worth thing. One day if I ever truly go all out to celebrate me, it’s because I want to be proud of who I am and what I’ve done… I love me, but for now, I’m no one and her dragon fire is growing (I’m a Dragon! 1988 betch!). My ideal birthday has always been to just not talk to anyone and go on a trip, but why do I want to be alone? I think it’s because it hurts a little when people smile around you because they have too, so I’d just rather avoid it… This also means I need to work on creating genuine relationships.
I celebrated my 28th birthday, my rebirth with a tea party in a forest (with someone who later would use that moment as a conditional favor). That was the first birthday I could ever say, “I love myself.” That feels like years ago, life times ago really.
Take two steps forward and one step back.
I was on the top of a mountain when I screamed and let off an avalanche. What had happened is something I am working on letting go of and it will remain private, but the say the least, I permanently damaged myself and put my physical abilities at grave risk. At 27 I died and resurrected and at 28 I paralyzed myself and only God knows what gave me the strength to move again… I am fucking running for my life and for my light and you’d have to kill me before I ever stop again… although I have proven to rise from the dead.
So another year has passed, it’s almost my birthday and I can say that I am ALIVE. I’m doing and doing it all so differently. I’m completely woken, the colors I see are beyond being seen through the retina, the magic grew three times and I’m moving. 28 was my year, I found the true ultimate me in it, the warrior. I’m good, just where I am, right now in the present and that’s a first. I will admit, there are small moments when I also feel like I want to crawl in a hole and be left alone. One year away from 30 and the weight of my own worldly expectations weighs heavily along with my student loan debt. My eggs are aging, I’m not in a relationship, I’m slowly learning my career path is anything but ordinary or where I’d like it to be, my skin is changing, and I do not believe 30 is the new 20… But again, everyday I’m a different person, and that means I just can’t live by who I was yesterday or I might as well as be 25 and I’d never want to be 25 again.
All I want for my birthday is the present and the present is now, so instead of celebrating my birthday, I’d rather just celebrate my unbirthday. That day, my birthday, it does exist and will be inevitably loved and acknowledged, but I eat cake every day anyways. It’s nice to reflect back on a year, but it’s important to not exist in the time that doesn’t exist anymore. I think I’ll look at the back of a cereal box, surf with my Israeli mermaid Gilad, write, eat a long noodle, and pray… maybe if I’m lucky, there will be a prize at the bottom of my Lucky Charms.
Happy unbirthday to you.
👁💜U &👁 ❤️ ME more.
My present is the present. That’s all I want and I already have it.
This is my coming of present.
The Last Generation is the greatest gift and one reader is all I need to keep going. Thank you.
The Unexpected Gift. 🙏🏾
I don’t know where my bottled ship will sail to at 29, but I expect somewhere I haven’t been before. Sending a special thank you to the Ambassador to the Unseen for fulfilling my unexpected wish in thee most unexpected magical hat way. You know who you are and if you don’t know who she is, imagine.
A Little Update: My bestie just reminded me that it’s just as important to celebrate the bad, as there would be no good without it. Wise, wise. Who knew she was a caterpillar?
* Amanda, if you read this, thank you for always being present. I am so blessed for you. Every year you have never given up on me and one day I’ll get there. Love you long time.
* Brian Schmidt, you are the perfect example of my hopefulness in social media. You were the last person in the whole world I’d ever thought TLG would reach because I simply don’t know you or remember you really. I didn’t even know we were Facebook friends. Thank you for all your thoughts and support and reading and thinking and being open. Stay open. You are a present.
*You can watch the entire O.G. Alice in Wonderland (not Tim Burton’s Bullshit) movie here, FO FREE!
*Remember when there used to be secret prizes at the bottom of cereal boxes and we’d stare at the back of the same cereal box for a week and never get bored of it? Those were the days. A simple fucking cereal box to start your day.
*The Last Generation is an editorial, medium, and beat, not a blog. Anyone can create a recipe-crap-content diy-fake-advice-just-like-everyone-else blog… not anyone can create THIS. 👁 Remember, words carry energy. The word blog is not carried here on this wave that you are riding in the present, right now.👁