Happy Birthday

Katie D. Johnson

I'm no longer a teenager. Yet another big milestone in growing up has passed without any fuss or grand exit, and I am grown. Adulthood isn't very different from childhood. I'm still hiding my darkness within smiles and laughter. My "I'm fines" are still lies. I'm still just scraping by and I still miss my mom.


I'm told people should be happy on their birthdays, so I've tried to look and play the part. But it's hard. I know I'm whining, but I don't care. It's hard to smile and exclaim "Thank you!" in my cutesy little voice. It's hard to skip around and hum random tunes to myself. It's hard to splay my arms wide and yell a happy "Bam!" at exciting and little things in this manipulative abuser that we call life.


But I do it because I've always done it. "Fake it 'til you make it" has been something that I've lived by for so long that I don't really know how to do anything else. So I paint a smile that reaches not only my voice, but also my eyes. I fill in my cracks with giggles and exaggerated hand motions. I walk through the Hell fire of my soul and zealously pretend to have a happy birthday until I've almost convinced myself that it's genuine. After all… What else can I do?