It's My (Birthday) and I'll Cry if I Want To Gina Vaynshteyn

I don’t know if it’s just me, but every single time I officially turn a year older, I am filled with this conflicting emotional cocktail of doom. I am joyful, incredibly depressed, utterly anxiety-ridden. I am a hyperactive sphere of energy, yet also a simmering pot of self-indulgence. Boo-hoo, I am getting older. My five gray hairs are immediately more pronounced, my metabolism hits an all-time low, I begin to count the things I have yet to accomplish or experience (I have never been to Beijing, for instance, nor have I scuba-dived with sharks) and I still foolishly expect the world to revolve around me just this one day because it’s my birthday. How maddening. Is it just me? Someone out there please tell me it isn’t so!

I used to adore my birthday and be wholesomely excited for it every single year, like most kids with relatively normal childhoods. This was the day I had my three or four girlfriends over; my mom would order Dominos pizza, an ice-cream cake from Dairy Queen and any kind of potato chip of my choosing with its appropriate marriage to French onion dip. She even humored me by purchasing a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner from Party City on my 9th birthday, which brought me to hysterics because I thought that was just so neat. A banner Scotch-taped to the wall? Just for me?  Because I’m the birthday girl? YES. My parents, not entirely introduced to American birthday party culture, left me to do the birthday party planning and I would create an agenda filled to the brim with swimming in the neighborhood pool, water balloon throwing, movie watching and best of all, present opening. Usually right before cutting the cake and blowing out candles, I would gather everyone around a heap of loudly wrapped boxes and bags and opened them one by one, announcing who had given me what and why I loved it so. I was in attention heaven. It was my birthday and I was the coolest girl in the room with the birthday banner and salty chip dip.

Then came the 6th grade. I turned 12 that year and begged my mom to a have a sleepover, which was very frowned upon by the Russians.My mother had no idea what to do with a group of tween girls in their pajamas who chose to sleep on the floor. She fiercely vacuumed the night before in confusion and disgust. Ultimately, she caved. I chose Bring it On, even though it was rated PG-13 and totally had a thousand sexual innuendos which I wouldn’t understand until high school. I gathered my group of friends around the TV, offered a bowl of Pop Secret and pressed play. Suddenly, my best friend Colleen exclaimed, “There’s nudity in this. I’m not going to watch it. I don’t think any of you should, either.”

Where this sudden rebellion and vehement dictatorship came from, I had no idea.  I was shocked. Colleen liked to boss me around on a daily basis, but I thought it was understood that today was my day to shine brightly.

“There is seriously no nudity, guys. I swear!” I cried, trying to persuade Colleen and now pretty pious Rachael, who was slowly standing up and quietly looking down at her Hello Kitty pajamas.

“This movie is inappropriate for us, Gina. We’ll just be in the other room reading,” Colleen said in an appalled manner, as though I had just turned on a porno, and she took Rachael with her by the hand. I was left with the remaining two girls who either believed me, or really wanted to see someone naked.

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  1. hhaha that is the perfect description! I hate-love my birthday too

  2. Ha oh man…. So I’m a fan of friends birthdays. I try to do really nice things. Silly gifts / Fun cupcakes – I even planned a surprise party for my closest friend while we were out of the country returning 2 days before her big day. Just a month later I thought .. oh I’m turning 30. I’ll just do a causal thing at our fave bar. I didn’t expect any surprise party in return but hoped most of my friends would have cleared time to stay more then 30 minutes maybe a balloon in return or even a DD ride home. Yep people are busy with their own lives but I wonder – in a world where Facebook reminds us to say Happy Birthday to people we secretly mock for their posts about what they had for dinner, is it hard to care about a true friends one day that’s THEIRS? dammit all I want is a funfetti cupcake!!! – great post – and happy belated bdays to all of you.

    • I just made 15 too many, you’re welcome to my batch :)

      Gina Vaynshteyn | 6/04/2013 06:06 pm
  3. I turned 33 on 14th May and I still wanted a fuss! My boyfriend’s Bday is a week before mine, he had perfectly wrapped presents, cake, and a special dinner out and I did all the chores all day and made sure he felt special. I got a card and the promise of presents to follow (only one small one so far a week after) I pouted till he took me out for dinner and a movie, I got cake the next day. While he was sweet about my mini diva behaviour in my view EVERYONE should feel special on their birthday. Of course my (now 6 year old Nephew) was born on my birthday so I’m totally old news to my whole family… hmmmpf!
    He gets it at 3 he told me I was silly when I told him we had the same birthday he said “no Auntie Claire it’s MY birthday you have to have your own one!
    Happy Belated Birthday Gina x

  4. Oh, I so get you!
    You’re kind of my birthday-sis in another country. I really really have experienced every single line you’ve wrote, seriously. Well, except that instead of watching Bring It On, we watched American Pie and no one left the room; still, we were clueless about what an orgasm was. We even looked it up on the dictionary and still didn’t get it.
    Anyways, if you want to wish me happy bday on my bday, it’s not really necessary, I’ll understand, it’s OK (It’s NOT OK!!!). Bdays are supposed to be a magic day for each of us, and I try to make it special for the people I care about, despite the fact that they don’t make my special day special :( No one will ever understand us like we do when it comes to birthdays. By the way, happy birthday Gina!!
    All in all, I get you. Really. Seriously.

  5. Haha nope I’ll answer your question-you’re fine. I turn 23 tomorrow and I don’t expect anything special. Of course thinking back to the big deal it used to be it’s kinda sad. No matter what age you should try to do something fun. I guess we have to earn our attention heavens now. LAME. (Happy Belated Birthday, btw, pretty lady.)

  6. I totally relate :)

  7. i’m pretty sure we’re the same person. i turned 23 a couple of weeks ago and this was how just about every moment went down. i “didn’t want to plan anything” because i “feel weird about birthdays,” when in reality, i only feel weird about people not celebrating me 100% on my birthday. i don’t even really like my birthday that much, but i want everyone to know when it is and be really excited for me about it. my one rule is that i don’t make decisions on my birthday so that everyone else has to put in the effort to make stuff happen.

    now i sound like an attention-crazy lady drama starter. i swear i’m not. i’m just a 23 year old girl who wants a birthday banner.

    xo nicole

    • TOTALLY. Why can’t everyone just read our birthday minds?!

      Gina Vaynshteyn | 6/04/2013 12:06 pm
  8. My birthday was this past Saturday and I completely understand. Long story short, my mom made me cry. On my birthday. Who does that? Apparently, she does. It was my birthday, how dare she make me cry! But at the end of the day, I just told myself, it was a very small part of the day and I shouldn’t let it ruin the day overall. Because to everyone else, it WAS just another day. But… a cake would’ve been nice.