Birthday Blues

My Daddy loves me.  There’s no doubt.  She loves me enough to keep me in a cage every night.  (I think she probably enjoys it as much as I do; she says she’s enjoying hogging the whole bed, and she likes to see me frisky and passionate first thing in the morning, whether she’s into playing with her pup or whether she just wants to lay there and let me paw all over her, either way she enjoys.)  And she doesn’t get too worried when I get into a cranky mood and withdraw, but it seems only fair to write about my experience so Daddy knows what goes on in my head.  As a human-pet owner, the more she knows about where my head is at, the more effective and responsible a pet owner she’ll be in a position to be.

I’ve been kind of distant and withdrawn the past 24 hours.  And I had a birthday over the weekend.  Daddy has been kind and sweet and given me some space.  She let me sleep my moody sleep in bed with her last night.  Certainly she knows that at anytime she could put me in my cage or stick me in a corner or lock me in a closet for that matter.  She could have tied me down and whipped me until I screamed for mercy or left me restrained and helpless for hours and hours, but instead she chose to be gentle and let me process my feelings.  Thank you, Daddy.

Daddy has been busy, and she’s had some health issues to deal with lately.  She felt very sad and guilty that she didn’t get me anything for my birthday.  She didn’t have a card or a gift or anything for me the morning of my birthday.  Now, I’m not real big on birthdays; most of my adult life I’ve made every effort to keep people from even knowing when my birthday is.  I’ve had more birthdays in my life go completely unnoticed by everyone except my mom than I’ve had birthdays that were acknowledged.  My biological father has never once acknowledged or remembered my birthday; we aren’t real close, my father and me. 

I suffered emotionally as a child from the lack of recognition about my birthday.  As soon as I became an adult and went out into the world, I erected mighty barriers against future birthday suffering; I declared that I don’t care about birthdays and I emotionally disconnected myself from any expectation of anybody doing anything in recognition of my birthday.  And I’ve also felt very dismissive of other people’s birthdays as well… As it turns out, I’ve had an easier time pushing through to meet the expectations of those who I’ve loved over the years when it comes to their birthdays than I’ve been about loosening up when it comes to my birthday.

Anyway, I felt pretty lackadaisical about Daddy not having anything for me the morning of my birthday; I didn’t expect anything.  But she was upset.  I tried to set her mind at ease (I was just happy to be together and to feel so smoochie since I’d just been released from my cage), but she wasn’t having it.  Then she started to cry with the grief and the guilt.  In fact, she got so upset that in the end all of my childhood birthday trauma triggers started firing and I found myself in an irreconcilable funk.  Eventually Daddy pulled herself together, made me a nice cake and invited a few people over.  But it was too late for me.  I really just wanted to be left alone to buttress my emotional defenses; since I couldn’t do that, instead I got hammered on booze and pot so that I could pretend to be social and engaged.  And now there’s nothing left to do except to wait it out for the emotional fallout to settle.  I’m just glad that this birthday is behind me.

I know Daddy was upset because she loves me so much and wanted my day to be special.  She couldn’t have known that she was going to set off so much carefully repressed emotional stuff with her grief. 

And now she’s learned something new that she didn’t know about her pet.

I love you Daddy.  Thank you for trying so admirably to recover the day.

XO,
Princess

2 Responses to “Birthday Blues”

  1. Thank you, Princess, for writing about what goes on in that puppy head of yours. I understand about not wanting to relive childhood trauma. I knew you were not enjoying yourself last night but I still have to say that I was glad our intentional family were all present and accounted for and celebrating your day of birth. I love you so much and I just want you to be happy. If your happiness means my not recognizing your birthday, I can live with that. I’ll do better next year. That I can promise.

    XOXO

    Daddy

  2. Thank you, Daddy.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some lovely, happy birthdays. Last year you and I had a wonderful time. I guess I’m only suggesting that, all things being equal, first thing in the morning on my birthday is quite possibly the worst time to bombard me with powerful negative emotions.

    We’ll figure it out.

    I love you!

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