Since being active online in autistic spaces, I noticed varying opinions regarding people’s birthdays. This got me thinking about my own birthday in a few days time, but the question is, do I enjoy them or even look forward to them?
The simple answer is yes (although in the last few years I’m not so keen on getting older). However, I feel I enjoy birthdays more now than I did when I was younger. During the height of my masking days, I was very aware (to a fault) of how others may perceive me, and I would plan my birthday accordingly. Yes, I did nice and fun things by most people’s standards, but often it wouldn’t be stuff that would be my first choice or that were autism-friendly.
I would love to spend quality time with family and close friends, enjoy eating cake and be grateful for receiving gifts. But the demands of a large-scale social event for my birthday were sometimes too much, and I even remember once having a meltdown at one of my birthday parties as a child. I was simply uncomfortable being the centre of attention in a large group of people. Also, birthdays could be sensory hell as I had a phobia of the balloons being popped, which some kids loved to do at every single birthday party!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve enjoyed birthdays more because I haven’t forced myself to have a Standard ‘neurotypical’ birthday. I won’t have a large party or go to the club (even though it’s not possible during COVID times). I’ve planned my birthdays to be perfect for me. I will often eat my favourite food with a small group of people or treat myself to a massage. Still lovely things but just less “let’s do something huge”. Lower key birthdays are perfect for me and I now wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re autistic how do you feel about birthdays? Do you love them, hate them or even acknowledge them at all! Let me know in the comments section!
If you enjoyed this post, like to support my writing or would like to say happy birthday, I would be forever grateful if you could buy me a coffee (or tea in my case).