My 21st Birthday Was A Fizzle Not A Bang

Why Does A Birthday Always Have to be ‘Happy’?

My 21st birthday is today and I experienced an onslaught of sadness starting on Thursday night when I remembered that my birthday was coming. I thought that homesickness might be the genesis for my bad mood, however, that is such a foreign emotion to me that I quickly dismissed it.  The extent of my homesickness has been reserved for Taco Bell and 24 hour grocery stores thus far because there is nothing that I love more than being away from home.

With that said, it was odd that last night I got upset at the prospect of my upcoming birthday. 21 is undoubtedly a big birthday in the United States but here in Spain, the drinking age is 18 (and I took advantage of that as soon as I stepped foot on my British Airways flight and they offered me wine every hour on the hour). There is no need to celebrate big here but bigger than that, I’m somewhere unfamiliar without even flatmates to celebrate with.

I was surprised this morning when the boys came into my room with excitement that only children can possess at such an early hour. They their mom got me a surprisingly stylish jacket as gift and that helped to perk me up. It’s hard to be sad when two small people are telling you happy birthday every 5 minutes and trying to come to a consensus on what age qualifies as old (Pablo decided that it’s 40 but ‘you have to be 39 first so you’re not old yet’).

They always make me smile

They always make me smile

I’ve decided to go to a ballet performance of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein next Wednesday and I treated myself to Taco Bell to curb my sadness but this birthday has been lackluster. The Taco Bell was mediocre at best, I missed two trains trying to get home, Topshop didn’t have the sweatshirt or the body suit that I’ve been dying to buy. Basically, everything that could go wrong did.

 When I picked the boys up from school yesterday, Jorge asked was I excited for my birthday and I gave him a shrug and told him not really. He looked at me like I swore (a later post is coming on the boys’ familiarity with American swear words, which they know waaaayyy better than I would like them to).

He gave me some serious side eye and said “Because?” (They don’t understand the difference between ‘why’ and ‘because’ in English just yet.) I said “well…because I don’t have any plans. I don’t know. It’s not that big of a deal.” He shook his head and said “But it’s your birthday!” And then ran ahead, abandoning the conversation and probably deeming me a hopeless birthday hater. I wish that I could identify my feelings. Maybe it is homesickness. Although I love my new little Spanish family, I’m still in a place where I can’t understand more than half of the conversation at dinner. In all fairness,  they’ve been great but I’ve only known them for 2 weeks. My previous birthdays have always been spent with family and/or friends and I miss the comfort of being able to do nothing on my birthday with option of doing something (complicated right?).

17th birthday

17th birthday

18th birthday

18th birthday

19th birthday

19th birthday

It feels silly to be upset without reason, especially because I woke up in one of the most popular cities in the world today. So, in conclusion, I’m thankful that I’ve lived to see another year, especially when my grandmother didn’t.

I’m thankful for the people that have reached out to me, and to those that will, to wish me a happy birthday even if it has been the exact opposite of happy. I’m incredibly thankful for my friend, Aitza, who distracted me on the phone for two hours last night so that I didn’t cry myself to sleep. I’ll fight anyone that says that friends that you meet on the Internet are less genuine than any others.

I’m thankful for the opportunities and experiences that my 20th year brought me and even in my less than stellar birthday mood, I’m anxious for what my 21st year will bring.

Here are some of my favorite moments, in no specific order, from my 20 year old life. Cheers to 21! I’m hopeful.

Meeting my internet friend Aitza for the first time

Meeting my internet friend Aitza for the first time

Moving to Houston with my mom

Moving to Houston with my mom

Taking my sister to her first rap concert

Taking my sister to her first rap concert

Meeting Diane Guerrero from OITNB

Meeting Diane Guerrero from OITNB

Coming to a point where my sister I agree that we can wear each other's sweaters without any hard feelings

Coming to a point where my sister I agree that we can wear each other’s sweaters without any hard feelings

Seeing Paramore for the fiftybillionth time at the Grand Ole Opry

Seeing Paramore for the fiftybillionth time at the Grand Ole Opry

Watching Cecily Tyson and James Earl Jones on Broadway with my cousin

Watching Cecily Tyson and James Earl Jones on Broadway with my cousin

13173781_1226866567338170_7427988827123846739_n

Spending time with my favorite flatmate

Getting my septum pierced

Getting my septum pierced

Voting for the very first time

Voting for the first time

Meeting new friends in Italy and bugging each other on FB messaging at all times of the night

Meeting new friends in Italy and bugging each other on FB messaging at all times of the night

Watching this little beauty perform

Getting lost in Italy was actually hilarious after the fact

Getting lost in Italy was actually hilarious after the fact

Meeting new friends and spends waaaay too much time together

Switching universities, meeeting new friends, and spending waaaay too much time goofing off

Moving to Spain

Moving to Spain

Reconnecting with old flatmates

Reconnecting with old flatmates

13217357_1226866910671469_3864150614727716599_o 13220641_1226866937338133_74112277617653426_o

Visiting my favorite flatmate

Visiting my favorite flatmate

Randomly running into 6 peacocks

Randomly running into 6 peacocks

Visiting the Vatican

Visiting the Vatican

Eating gelato from/in Italy

Eating gelato from/in Italy

Going to Paris for the second time

Going to Paris for the second time

Meeting Soledad O'Brien

Meeting Soledad O’Brien

Going to the Atlanta Zoo for the first time

Going to the Atlanta Zoo for the first time

Seeing my presidential candidate of choice give a great speech

Seeing my presidential candidate of choice give a great speech

Getting to spend time with my family after being away

Getting to spend time with my family after being away

Buying a ticket to the Formation tour is up there with this moment

Buying a ticket to the Formation tour is up there with this moment

When I bought my first car

Buying ‘Cargelina Jolie’

Meeting my internet friend Nikki for the first time

Meeting my internet friend Nikki for the first time

Visiting Aitza, her friends, and her pyromaniac university

Visiting Aitza, her friends, and her pyromaniac university

Thank you for the birthday wishes! Here is my birthday song for this year:

See again for 22!

One thought on “My 21st Birthday Was A Fizzle Not A Bang

  1. Happy 21st. birthday, Essence! You are probably the most adventurous 21 year old I have ever known! May you have many more wonderful adventures in your future.
    Roxanne(Rupa’s mom)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *