I don’t remember the exact details of my 12th birthday, but I do know I didn’t celebrate it.
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays, and if you had asked me, I would not have been able to tell you why. It was just another of the many holidays we ignored.
I tried all day at school to keep my birthday a secret, because if it would have been revealed, I would be obligated to give a witness on why I didn’t celebrate it. People already thought I was a freak because I didn’t salute the flag or spent the time during the Christmas party sitting in the library by myself.
I almost made it the whole day.
My 6th period teacher always made it a habit of writing down everyone’s birthdays on a big calendar behind her desk, so I knew she was aware that today was my special day.
When she announced it to the whole class, I was supposed to tell her and my fellow students that I didn’t celebrate it.
But I didn’t say a word.
They sang “Happy Birthday” to me and I just sat there with a little grin on my face, knowing I was sinning against God; but I didn’t care. I’m sure it was a sin to not tell my parents what happened also, but they never asked how my day was, so I never said a word.
I felt like I had won a little victory that day. For once I didn’t make a scene in the name of my religion. I was just like everyone else.
I knew not to expect any cake or presents that day but it didn’t matter: I was a happy little boy for once.
The small victories are the best.
This post is a response to the Daily Prompt: Shake it up! We were supposed to imagine:
You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us RECKLESS.