Holiday Hell

It is officially the 3rd of October, which means that my birthday is less than a month away.

It also means that people have been saying for the last two days that it’s officially Halloween season and no one has any place to get pissy with them about being excited because it’s “too early” or it’s “still hot outside.” And I’ll give you that. I’m totally cool with starting the official celebration of any holiday within the month (Halloween in October, Christmas in December, that sort of thing).

My struggle is personal.

No, I don’t have to compete with Christmas but competing with Halloween for the rights to my own birthday has always sucked. As a kid, it was all about, we did the Trick or Treating thing, we can’t really do something for your birthday two days later. When I got into college, no one made a big deal out of birthdays. Mine or anyone else’s, and having one so close (but not actually on) a day that was really just another excuse to get sloppy drunk, made it even more invisible.

But, I’m not here to complain about people neglecting my birthday. I’m going to be 36 years old this year and I’m pretty sure that I’ve had more than five but fewer than ten birthdays actually go the way I had hoped. So I’m used to it.

The thing is, as the years have come and gone, I have grown to resent Halloween.

Once upon a time, Halloween was easily my favorite holiday. I decided to embrace the day and the tendency to combine my birthday with it. So what if no one cared about my birthday? Halloween was a thousand times better anyway, right? And mostly that worked.

Until it didn’t anymore.

Now, there are people all over social media going on about how much they love Halloween and October and how it’s their favorite time of year, even better than Christmas. But it just serves as a reminder to me that I am not where I want to be in my life.

I want to be where I can call friends at the last minute and go to a haunted house or a corn maze (even though I’ve really never enjoyed either, I do enjoy people). Or go on a real ghost hunt. Or go check out one of the dozen scary movies playing at the cinema.

I want to be where I can make a batch of popcorn and watch scary movies on the couch, or in bed, with my significant other.

Being single and 250 miles from my closest close friends has made me dread holidays in general, if I’m being completely honest. I want to have a 4th of July barbeque with 15-20 friends and kiss under the fireworks. I want “birthday week” to be a real thing in my world. I want to do that bit with the scary movies. I want to decorate a Christmas tree with that same person I watched movies with and exchange gifts with people and drink mulled cider and eggnog.  I want to do that Friendsgiving thing where everyone brings something and we spend the day together enjoying one another’s company, not out of some familial obligation but because we’re friends (by the way, even spellcheck knows about Friendsgiving). I want someone to ignore me when I say I really don’t want flowers and cheap chocolate for Valentine’s Day and buy them anyway because he thinks I don’t mean it when I say I don’t want those things because “doesn’t every woman want those things?” And I want to be kissed on New Year’s Eve and caterwaul our way through an off-key rendition of Auld Lang Syne then get up the next morning to eat brunch with those same people.

So, yeah, I guess holidays in general have grown to be a source of general discomfort for me. But it’s definitely worse when you’ve grown to dread something that was once one of your favorite things.

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