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rowanthere’s about a month left until my birthday. it’s one of the important ones – even numbers, special cards. i’m supposed to be really grown up now (i’m not) and know what i want (i do, but the way there is somewhat unclear) and people are hinting that it might be time to start thinking about procreation (the Artist thinks his life will be over if that were to happen). i’m not having any sort of crisis about it – well, not about the aging bit, at least.

no. i’m freaking out about the party-in-potentia. you’re supposed to have one. i do want one. celebrations are in order. it’s just…

i had two birthday parties when i was little, one when i turned seven and one when i turned eight. other little girls from my class (the ones who weren’t away on holiday, it being the middle of summer) were invited, we’d all been dressed by our mothers and had ribbons in our hair and there was chocolate cake and strawberry cordial. like in a picture book. and everybody came. because it was the done thing and if you didn’t want to go your mother made you.

the year after, i spent all summer in heaven at my godmother’s cottage in the middle of the forest of nowhere. and then the next, i didn’t want a party. because it had become noticeable and obvious that i was never anyone’s first choice (except when they wanted help with their classwork or when there was a relay race in gym. i was fast). i had people i spent time with – but only if they didn’t have anything better to do. i was always the one having to call. sometimes they said they had to call me back in a bit, so they could check what someone else was doing, first, before deciding if they should deign to take pity on me. toss me some breadcrumbs. it’s amazing how many times you can swallow your pride.

it took me a really long time to find real friends. but i have them now, and i love them and i trust them – but there’s still that insidious little voice at the back of my mind, second-guessing phrases and actions, questioning motives, and looking for the tiniest hint of that loathsome condescending nonchalant pity.

it’s not there. but i still look for it.

i have an annual yuletide get-together thing. hogswatch. we watch hogfather and eat insane amounts of christmas candy and drink gallons of tea. and that’s fine. then i can tell myself that people will come for the free candy if nothing else. but when i’m asking people to come just for me? that’s a really scary thing.

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