Can’t I wait until next year to have a birthday?



I am 31 years old today. It’s hard to believe how long my life has been like this. I’ve been in survival mode since 2003. Possibly even longer. It’s not that I’m old; I really don’t care about aging at this point in my life. I didn’t care much about turning 30, so I’m not going to start freaking out about it now. It’s just a bit depressing that my life was so much more “together” when I was 24. Every birthday marks another year’s distance away from my stability and my dreams. I actually thought that since I had never lived this way by 23, I’d never live this way at all. It’s been an amazing decline. I have had my palm read three times – once by a “professional” I went to on a lark, and twice by amateurs. All three have said the same thing: “You will always be financially secure.” I wonder what it is they think they see. My palms are rotten liars.

Even with my aches,  pains, and swollen joints, I don’t really feel very old. I’m not like most women my age. While I do care about my career, I am mostly juvenile in my activities. I prefer video games to cocktail parties, Thai take-out to home-cooking, mis-matched furniture to Better Homes & Gardens, kittens to children, thrift stores to department stores, B-movies to art films, and electronic music to adult contemporary. I’m a perpetual kid.

I woke up early this morning to call community resources because my research has led me to believe that I should find a caseworker. My best option may be to move into transitional housing. Now, I’m not in an abusive relationship, but I am at risk for being homeless because no one can help me long-term and I don’t want to burden my friend, especially since she doesn’t really have room. I’m exploring my options. I don’t want to lose my cat, but it appears inevitable. I’m going to assume that I cannot have my cat at the YWCA. I’m also going to assume that there’s a long waiting list, but once again I’m grasping at straws and I’ll try just about anything that doesn’t terrify me.

There is also a low-income housing project near where I live. It’s actually a rather attractive complex. It was built less than two years ago, and it is across the street from a brand-new library. It is within walking distance of a few drug stores and cafes, and it is also very close to my regional food bank. It is actually more desirable than my current location, but I fear it might be more expensive despite its “low-income housing” label. Section 8 housing is often more expensive (or roughly the same price) as the condo I rent. How do people live around here?

For the past two evenings I have been startled by loud knocking at my door. Due to my circumstances, I have not yet had the courage to answer. I haven’t even had the courage to speak through the intercom. Last night the sound of the knocking made my heart race and I began to hyperventilate. I’m terrified of confrontation, and I know I have to face this situation eventually. I want to be calm and assertive, but I physically and mentally freeze. I don’t even know what I’m so deathly afraid of. I know my rights, and for the moment, no one can kick me out. Strangely, no one left a note or even a proper eviction notice on my door, so my evening visitors could be completely unrelated to that drama. Unexpected knocks are not a good thing, in my experience. My car repossession/assault began with an unexpected knock that shook my walls and woke my neighbors. I hide in the dark a lot. I’m even afraid to play music.

My friend (whose basement I may stay in) wants to take me out for a birthday dinner, but it’s so difficult to choose a place to go to when I feel disgusting and don’t even want to leave the house. I need new clothes and new shoes. I look awful. I’m tired, so tired.

As a single, somewhat antisocial woman, I have to throw my own birthday parties. That should explain why I did not have any birthday parties between ages 19 and 30. I don’t have any money to do anything for myself, and I feel tremendous guilt if someone even buys me a drink. It’s silly, I know. It’s ingrained from childhood. My mother would never let me accept anything from anyone, and would make me feel awful even if someone bought me a birthday present. Christmas presents were usually okay because then gifts could be exchanged instead of given. My birthday still makes me feel uncomfortable.

I also received a job rejection from the job I interviewed for on Friday. I received no feedback as to why, but the interview did not go 100% smoothly, so it’s not a complete shock. I have received so much “feedback” over the years and even when it’s generally good it makes me wince. I neglected to send a thank-you note after my interview on Friday because one of the interviewers told me they would decide that day. I’ve given up, I suppose. I can’t even imagine getting a job at this point.

I will spend the rest of the afternoon watching illegal uploads of Weeds and trying to think of an inexpensive place I can suggest my friend take me for dinner. Happy birthday to me, Scott Baio, Joan Jett, and that kid who plays Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.





Filed under Depression, Home Life, Materialism

6 responses to “Can’t I wait until next year to have a birthday?

  1. Clarissa

    I hope that your birthday brings you a laugh or two in spite of everything you are going through. Try to hang in there. I’m glad that you are still blogging. Happy Birthday…Clarissa in California

  2. I’ve been reading your blog. I hope things change for the better for you soon. You seem quite intelligent and creative.

  3. teambaby

    I hope you do get a caseworker. Lots of people are suffering and struggling right now, but your situation seems much more dire than most.

    • I don’t even really know what caseworkers do! I have to make more phone calls. I also have to go to some office to get some paperwork about housing assistance. I think it’s too late to get rent assistance. I should have started on this earlier, but…I guess I just thought something would happen. Every organization I talk to says I’m not eligible for any kind of assistance because I have no children. Gee, I didn’t realize that having a bunch of kids I can’t afford would have been so rewarding.

      I did have a good birthday with my friend after all. I had the nicest dinner I’ve had in ages. I still feel guilty because it was kind of expensive.

  4. “Section 8 housing is often more expensive (or roughly the same price) as the condo I rent. How do people live around here?”

    That’s absolutely ridiculous! Happy belated birthday! I’m glad to hear you had a nice dinner, and I hope the guilt was worth it ;-).

    I got the answer to my last comment…I’m sorry to hear the interview didn’t go well. I don’t know what these companies are looking for, you seem to met a person that would come very well prepared to any interview….

    • I know, the price of rent here is INSANE. I looked at the Section 8 Housing page for my county ( and if I search for housing in Seattle, there’s one place that’s $550 a month (reasonable, but I have no income and can’t do that now), and almost all the rest are all $750 or more. For 1-bedrooms! My rent went from $600 to $700 and I’ve been struggling ever since. Even the $600 was really, really difficult. They don’t have any listings for studios that I see. There is a 1-bedroom 3 blocks from me that is $1100 a month –and I live in the ghetto! 3 blocks away is no less ghetto. Actually, it’s even *more* ghetto and even with a subsidy, I won’t be able to afford that. Section 8 here requires that tenants spend 30%-40% of their income on rent and I simply can’t do that and pay for my other expenses. 30% is reasonable, just not for me. I was paying less than 30% and I still couldn’t keep up.

      I’m a bit confused about how section 8 works, though. Are these prices inflated? I also see that they aren’t even accepting people to live in section 8 housing at the moment, and they have a large waiting list. Surprise, surprise.

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