Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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Happy birthday to me

It's my birthday today. It's also my mother's birthday, oddly enough. I sometimes feel bad for her. A child's birthdays are always special and mom's probably got short shrift while I was growing up. But then, I still am not certain when my father's birthday is; we never celebrated it while I was growing up. So it's possible that if I'd been born a week later, say, I'd be equally unsure of my mom's.

I used to hate having people sing me "Happy Birthday." It was uncomfortable to be the focus of the attention of large groups of people. My immediate family (parents, one brother and one sister) was OK. Maybe a set of grandparents. But get much more than that I'd blush and squirm, trying to get away from all the attention.

Many years back, I made a transition. I was running the Consuite for Minicon. A publisher, Tor, had some champagne left over from their party the night before and donated it to the consuite. It happened to be my birthday (Minicon, falling on Easter, varies from late March to mid-April) so I grabbed glasses, popped a cork and went around serving people champagne for my birthday. For several years after that, I would buy a cake and some champagne and throw myself a birthday party.

During those parties, I was frequently sung "Happy Birthday," (or the dirge-like equivalent popular with fans). I grew strangely comfortable with it. These people were, in practice, my family, so it was kind of OK that they liked me and expressed that. Gradually, I came to truly enjoy it and broadened my definition to liking to host parties in general. I've hosted parties at conventions across the globe, I hosted the reception at the marriage of two friends of mine. I like it, I'm good at it.

So as I turn 34 today (though, "It's not the age, it's the mileage."), I'm recognizing that I've become more comfortable with my self. While the introversion of my youth was based on a withdrawal from others (out of fear, most likely, that I wouldn't be liked) I now embrace those around me. I think I'm still introverted, drawing most of my self-image from within rather than from external sources, but have grown confident enough to stand the attentions of others without withering.

Tonight, I go over to the Half Time Rec to see my friends The Tim Malloys perform, as they do every Tuesday night. I expect to see several friends, but will have a good time regardless.

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