Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!


I have multiple birthdays, both literally and figuratively. I have two birthdays, but spiritually and consciously I think we have all experienced multiple moments of radical paradigms shifts, whether subtle or subtle like a sludge hammer, that re-birth our self.

If you want to be a smug son-of-a-bitch about it, I only do have the one actual day of birth, but, even that gets kinda tricky to explain. I was born on November 8th, 1982 in Isfahani Hospital in Shiraz, Iran.

My Iranian father met my American mother in 1972 while attending the University of Kansas City. After they were married in 1978, they moved back to my father’s homeland and started their own family. My older sister came along right at the height of the Iranian revolution in 1979. I didn’t want any part in it (the consummate diplomat) and didn’t come along for another 3 years. Yadda, yadda, alli babba…. out comes a bouncing baby girl with a full head of hair.

Remember, remember the 8th of November.

Because you’ll ask in a minute – I do not know the when, I’m not 100% clear on the how and only slightly in agreement with the why, but my father altered the date on my birth certificate. On every single piece of legal, binding and/or official documentation, my birthday DOES NOT READ November 8th.

When? Not sure. A day after I arrived? Two days after? A couple of weeks or months down the line because he thought I was too big for my age and didn’t want others thinking I was part giant? I don’t know. I do know that it happened before April 1983 when my mom, sister and I left Iran for America to be reunited with my father in two years time.

I have it on good authority that my mother’s exit of Iran occurred with much less drama than the film Not Without My Daughter. Too Bad. A damn shame. My mother’s only chance for the Oscar that I spent my entire junior high yearning she had hidden in her closet and the one I spent hours rummaging through her things looking for.

How? He paid somebody. Don’t let the sand, camels and goats fool you, Iranians are just as crooked and opportunistic as fat, pasty Americans.

And that leaves the why? Why change the birthday of your 0 – 6 month-old daughter?

To meet the age requirements of kindergarten, that's why. He knew that I was going to be one smart cookie. He knew that I had to be in school, the earlier the better. He knew I had shit to learn and a whole world to conquer. He knew I’d miss the Iranian kindergarten age limit by a month, so he made me almost two whole months older on paper.

Too bad he didn’t tell me until I turned 16 and was on my way to get my driver’s license, birth certificate in hand. Up until November 8th, 1998 I had a normal, completely acceptable birthday reality in my mind, one that revolved around one lone date.

I loved my birthday. The N’s in Natasha and November were a match; there was a nice sense of order to it. My birthday made me a Scorpio, a sign which I had began to identify with well before I began to steal copies of my sister’s YM magazines, in part to read to monthly relationship horoscopes. November 8th was after the freaks put away their masks and gore of Halloween but before they started their onslaught of Thanksgiving (remember when there were slight pauses in between holidays?). November 8th was all mine. My special day. A day of a fancy lunch at The Olive Garden with my mom and an extended amount of time and budget in the Lisa Frank aisle at Wal-Mart.

I lived for my birthday. November 9th wasn’t the day after my birthday, it was 364 (365, depending) days from my next birthday.

So, now understanding what a huge connection I felt with my birthday (no less, I am assuming than what most of you have with your own), please… please! understand my complete topsy-turvy-who’s-it-what’s-it-what-the-fuck-it moment when I saw, on my way to the DMV, that my birth certificate had recorded my date of birth as September 16th.

So, happy birthday to me.

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