At some point I started seeing things differently. I was uncomfortable receiving all of the attention that came with birthdays, and I certainly didn't know how to accept the gifts with any grace. I didn't understand the tradition, and all I could think was "Why the heck are people giving me all of this stuff?" And in retrospect, I never really found an answer to that question. I never really DID anything to deserve the gifts, and even though it may be the anniversary of my birth, I could never understand why anyone else would be particularly excited about that. It was my birth, after all, not theirs.
The fact is that I couldn't accept that the people in my life would, sincerely or otherwise, feel obligated to pay some sort of tribute to me in honor of my mere existence. The parties, the presents, and the well-wishes are wonderful, but they're entirely inappropriate.
Should we celebrate birthdays? Hell yes, we should. But this is the anniversary of my birth, of my life, and I've been so incredibly fortunate to be included in the lives of those who have made such a difference to me. It's not your responsibility to commemorate my life, it's mine, and I want to take the opportunity to show my appreciation to you for being a part of it.
Without you, I wouldn't be who I am today. Thank you.