In the Big Bang Theory, Leonard talks about how his mother refuses to celebrate his birthday because that day should be a celebration of her struggles in carrying him for 9 months and not him popping out of her uterus. His mother makes a very solid case if you think about it. Carrying another creature in your womb for that long is a lot of work. The pain of going through labor worsens it all.
Going with what Leonard’s mother proposes delegitimizes the celebration of all men and invalidates what birthdays have come to represent over the year. Personally, I could care less about an addition to my year. If you think about it, we should be sad on this day. It actually represents a loss in the number of years you have left on this ephemeral sojourn called life. But this day has come to mean way more than that.
In the larger scheme of affairs, birthdays present us with an opportunity to do stock keeping, something we have to every single day of the week. Heck, every second of the day! But since we seem to be always in a rush going somewhere or liking someone’s Facebook post, it eludes us on a daily basis.
Instead of the somber reflections and personal evaluations, birthdays have largely become a day of merry making. On campus, if you do not have a “drink up” with booze everywhere and gyrating women in every corner, you birthday was not “lit”. Outside of these palm lined streets, the clubs need to be banging or a swimming pool needs to be bought out so a proper birthday party can be had.
You might already know the religious tussle over the validity of birthday celebrations in Islam. It is one of those age old theological showdowns as old as the British Empire. Delving into it would take me down a slope I probably would not heal from after I am down sloping. What you think of birthdays would not be a deal breaker for me so long as you get me loads of French fries when I turn 29 and finally shave off my hair after a decade of failed afro attempts.
March 2nd marked the 22nd year since my humongous head put Hajia Rabi through tremendous pain. If anything, my big head gives her the right to celebrate March the 2nd every year like Spartan warriors do after victory in the coliseum. But March 2nd has been about me for some time now. It shows me how far I have come as a young man, from the talkative in primary school, the arguing one in junior high school, to the one who just would not keep quiet in senior high and now the cheesy poems writing student about to graduate from University.
One thing has remained constant over the years; I do not shy away from communicating how I feel. The more reason why debate resonates with my soul on the same level Michael Jordan feels about basketball. When I take the podium for the seven minutes duration of a debate, it is raw passion and non-stop crude expression of my thoughts. When I sit on TV3 on blue moon Sundays, it is an outpouring of my gushing over LeBron James and befuddlement over Steph Curry’s sheer brilliance. When I update my blog like I am doing right now, it is thoughts I have been harboring for days which are best elucidated on the screens of a laptop and touchscreens of Android phones.
In as much as I continue to voice everything out in unique ways, I still struggle to let you know how I feel. See, the trick with you is I have built up several versions of you it is continually hard to get the right audience for my loud whisperings. In one breadth you sat in front of me earlier this week in an Economics class but in another you commented on my Instagram post from miles away. Should I have tapped you the shoulder before you pulled that chair or I should have slid into the “DM” like all the cool guys do these days? Or should I have installed Skype right away so we talked like you wanted to?
Turning 22 has blissed me with years of experience in emoting my feelings through the right channel. It has taught me how to be the one to ask the question everyone in a math class wants to ask but is petrified of the lecturer. It taught me to be the de facto leader in several circles where people shied away from moving to the front. But it slacked in teaching me the art of boldness with you.
It was satisfied with making me boisterous in front of a TV camera despite my acne but not with telling you exactly how I feel even behind the veil of whatsapp. 22 year old me wants to stop my hearts from pounding aggressively when you walk into class next time. It wants to slide into the DM like quarterback rushing into the end zone. It wants to have Skype the next time you text.
But like the original Khadija, maybe 22 year old me wants you to approach me.