Day 399: What I wanted for my birthday

Good morning, WordPressers (and people who read this blog without that much awareness of their surroundings)!

It’s time for the Post-Birthday Wrap-up Blog!

It’s going to be short one, so let’s look at the highlights, shall we?

As I wrote a couple of days ago (in this post), I knew there might be disappointments during the anniversary of my birth. Here’s a quote from that post:

As much as I love and look forward to my birthday, I’ve been disappointed, during some birthdays past. I’ve expected too much, and gotten too little. So, perhaps, I’m afraid of a repeat of those disappointments, this year.

And, yes, there was a point during the day when it looked like I was NOT going to get the attention, fuss, excitement, awareness of my birthday that I expected, wanted, yearned for.

So what happened?

I got mad, and I started to talk to myself, as follows:

Arrrghh!  This sucks!  Why do I even get excited about my birthday, anyway? People think I’m doing all sorts of exciting things, but I’m doing NOTHING!  And I’m all ALONE right now!  Where are the people who are SUPPOSED to be here?!?  Geesh! Maybe people are planning a successful surprise party for me, for the first time in my friggin’ six decades?!! AS IF!!! No sirree, people who know me are all just living their lives, assuming that I’m getting what I want on this day … AND I’M NOT!!

Well, sports fans (or observers, in general), what would you say was going on, during that portion of yesterday’s game?

Here’s my analysis:

I was having a  tantrum.

That is, I was focusing on assumptions and expectations of what the day should be like, plus memories of old disappointments, and the result was this: anger, in a child-like way.

Now, I didn’t scream, hit,  break anything, or hold my breath until I turned blue. I didn’t even yell (although that would have been okay). I just allowed myself to feel the feelings. And I did speak my thoughts out loud, including this one:

This is what I want for my birthday. Just to feel my anger and express it, without judgment.

And I felt better.

Soon after that, I was able to contact my son’s father, and arrange to pick up my son.  Since spending time with my son was one of the gifts I was expecting on my birthday, I felt better.

On my way driving there, I still allowed myself to feel all my feelings, including my disappointment and annoyance. And while I didn’t want to be late, I allowed myself to stop and take this photo:


And  thought, “So what if this makes me a little bit late?!!  Screw them!”

And I felt better.

When I got to my son’s father’s girlfriend’s home, and I was waiting for my son to get ready to go, my ex said something to me that …. pissed me off. I got annoyed and defensive. So I said to him, “You know what?  Today is my birthday, and this is what I want for my birthday: I want to be able to get mad at people and not worry about the result. And I’m mad right now!”

So I said more about that, to my ex. And I had a “tone” — an angry tone (which I’ve caught hell for using, in the past).  But my ex actually seemed okay with that. He just listened.

And I kept going. As a matter of fact, I kind of had a little tantrum — but in an adult way.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I followed some rules, for interpersonal effectiveness, even while I was expressing my anger.


  • Use “I” statements whenever possible, describe my personal experience of thoughts and feelings.
  • Explain the context of my reaction.
  • Use adult skills, including logic and self-awareness.


  • Call names, make threats of any kind, or appear unduly frightening.
  • Use “You” statements, which put other people on the defensive.

Because I was following these rules, and my ex was just listening, this  actually became a little bit …

…. fun.

So when my ex’s girlfriend came into the room, soon after followed by my son, I informed them what was going on, like so:

It’s my birthday today, and I’ve decided what I want. I want that to be a day when I’m allowed to get angry at anybody I want to. Like now!

And everybody was okay with it, amazingly.

As a result, I felt much better. And there were even smiles and some laughing, in the room.

And from then on, my birthday was great.  Really and truly, one of the best birthdays, ever. Because, not only did I get these gifts:

  • Having my own anger, without consequence, and
  • Spending time with my son and my inamorato 1.

… I got these great gifts, too:


carol card


And the last (but not least) gift I’m going to show here ….


Blogging Slippers!!!!

Thanks to my family, my friends, all those people who can express and/or hear anger in an effective way, and to you — of course!! — for reading today.

  1. Thanks to fellow blogger, babsje, who suggested this title for my boyfriend/studmuffin/honey/sweetheart/whatever-you-want-to-call-him, Michael.
Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 53 Comments

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53 thoughts on “Day 399: What I wanted for my birthday

  1. Still feeling better today, I hope, Ann? A good birthday anger-release should last a good, long time. Even the adult-style tantrum can be described as “getting it off my chest.” That means you lighten your heart. Great birthday present from the listeners, your ex, his girlfriend and your son. I like the flowers, Bear cartoon and blogging slippers you received, too, Ann. It appears you got your fuss after all.

    • Thanks for the present of this comment, Mark which was — as always — very helpful. By the way, I added another present to the post since you read it: another card I got yesterday that helped lighten my heart (if you want to check that out, too).

      • Thank you for the check-back alert, Ann. I thoroughly enjoy both women being themselves in your added present!

  2. As both of us are from the same generation, I know we both were taught it is not OK to express anger. Especially because we are women. I could go on and write a book here, but I won’t.

    I am glad you vented and you did it appropriately. Even using the “I statements” can put others on the defensive, and tell you that you have no right to feel that way because …… HURRUMPH!!!! I have every right to my feelings, as well as you, and NOT to express those feelings, even if they are anger, is NOT healthy.

    In my humble opinion, anger is the cause of many dis-eases. Depression is anger turned inward, for one. Yet, this is my dilemma. Where can one go in this world, where one can just yell, holler, scream to get the pent up stress OUT without someone calling the police and you ending up in a straight jacket? Unfortunately, if you don’t live way out in the boonies somewhere, with no one else around, there is not too many places where one can safely yell their silly head off.

    Towels come in handy. Close the bathroom door and scream bloody murder into a towel. Not as effective as if one was actually standing someplace and having a good old scream. But, it is better then nothing. Turning to exercise helps a great deal to keep the stress (anger) under control. Not always, but it does help.

    Expectations always set us up for disappointments, yet even knowing this, we still do it. (((HUGS))) I’m happy that you got cool slippers and beautiful flowers. And I LOVED the pic of the ballons as if Life itself came along to shout a huge Happy Birthday to you, Ann!

  3. Inamorato – I love it. Happy belated birthday Ann. Would you mind if I use it too 😉
    Susan x

    • I am completely happy with you using that term, too, Susan. I’m assuming that Babsje is fine with it, also. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for the rest of this kind comment.

  4. 🙂 Lol
    Seems like it was a great one! Happy Birthday xox

  5. Happy belated birthday! 🙂 xoxo Roxy & Tigerlino

  6. Happy Belated birthday and fabulous new blogging slippers!

  7. Happy belated birthday, loving the slippers, and how you turned your day round. It sounds like you learnt to accept your feelings rather than fight them? I’m trying to do this too, but it’s hard, so thank you for sharing how yoy did it 🙂

    • I think that’s a really accurate and helpful description of what I did yesterday — working on accepting my feelings rather than fighting them. And it IS hard to do, isn’t it? I’m glad you found the post helpful. I know I found your comment very helpful, too.

  8. Love the slippers. Shine on, Ann!

  9. ACtually on your birthday you ret away with a lot more thatn on other days, and it did bring you release. I do love those slippers, I can imagine you now while typing having these on. …and always warm feet!

    • Yes, Ute! Now even if I have trouble keeping track of my socks, I have these slippers, right there at my blogging station to keep me warm. It’s also easy to imagine you, typing, sending out warmth into the blogosphere.

  10. I know your stance. I respect your philosophy. And yet I still nominate you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, Ann. Because, darn it, you deserve it. (You may just smile. I’ll feel it all the way over here in Syracuse.)

  11. The Reading Girl

    Happy birthday! :)…great post too!

  12. Glad your birthday proved to be a fun one!

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! It was ‘all over the place’ and made me smile! The hearts in the trees were wonderful, the slippers so sweet and your birthday ‘rant’ was totally understandable and appreciated by me! I think we need to have the ability to let off steam and this is a safe and good place/outlet to do so! Happy Belated Birthday! Sorry, I am behind again in reading posts! A day late and a dollar short! Robin

    • No need to apologize, Robin. It’s so great to see you here. Thanks for the kind, helpful, and valuable comment (not a dollar short!).

  14. Hmmm. On second thought, studmuffin may trump inamorato!

    • I am NOT rewriting this post, Babsje. But great to see you, and thanks for the comment.

      • 🙂 BTW, I like how your birthday post worked out, great presents you gave yourself, especially your gift of anger.

        When I had my 50th, everyone forgot. I waited until about 11pm that night and then I realized that there wasn’t going to be any big surprise from my then SO or daughter. I didn’t say a word to anyone, and actually had kep myself wonderfully entertained all day. Two days later, though, they had figured it out and I got the birthday gift f a lifetime: 3 banker’s boxes full of vinyl LPs, from the mid-60s through mid-80s. It was like being given back the years of my youth in music!

      • Wow. What a great story, in so many ways. Thanks for all you’ve given us here.

      • You’re welcome. And thanks much for your own writings!!

      • On the other hand, maybe you had it right after all. I mean, how can SHE have it wrong:

      • Babsje. I now officially love you forever. Let me count the ways I adore this comment: (1) After I wrote the boyfriend post, I went looking for this clip (2) I couldn’t find it (3) I love Mel Brooks (4) I’ve loved this line from “Young Frankenstein” for decades, and (5) you rock!

      • Aw shucks, thanks. The feeling is mutual, you rock too!

  15. Happy birthday. I like what you said about refraining from ‘you’ accusations and just using ‘I’ in an altercation. I also like your humour!

  16. I love the birthday card with the bears. That’s so me inside the tent. I’m terrified of bears and haven’t gone camping in over 30 years after thinking that a bear was outside our tent.

    • I have some stories about bears and camping which I’ll probably share some day soon. I’m glad you love the card! Thanks for stopping by.

  17. I love, love love this post — what a gift — to be able to ask for what you want, and receive it — especially when the gift is about being exactly the way you are — and accepting yourself as is! How perfect.

    thanks for the inspiration.

    and that photo of the heart tree….. beautiful!

  18. Happy Birthday! I love that tree of hearts. I want one!

    • Me, too! I still don’t know the story behind all those beautiful hearts, hanging from that tree. Maybe I’ll investigate next weekend.

  19. Pingback: Day 400: Expected Numbers | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  20. I like this post and allowing yourself to get angry. I have done that recently as well, although not written about it yet. It was quite therapeutic and I realisedthat normally I do not let myself get angry and it bottles up inside of me and makes me unwell in an emotional way.
    Good for you and what a fantastic birthday present to yourself.

  21. Very grown up tantrum! Kudos!

    • Thanks for this congratulatory comment, which helps me realize that it IS quite an accomplishment to have a grown up tantrum. In case I don’t tell you enough, I always appreciate your thoughts.

  22. Pingback: Day 675: Eyes | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  23. Pingback: Day 764: What I needed | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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