Birthdays also used to mean a calorie coma, with all of the pressure to indulge in something sweet and sinful in the name of celebration. But you know I don't play that way. Its been over a year and a half since I gave up sugar, so birthday cake doesn't even tempt me anymore. But telling people that you're not going to have cake on your birthday results in a sonic thud of confusion and disapproval.
I recently passed up cake at another birthday celebration, which prompted the question of how I would celebrate my birthday if I wasn't having cake. "With a party!" I replied. Silence. Apparently that was the wrong answer.
I'm already really hard to do nice things for, what with my compulsive martyrdom and chronic guilt complex whenever anyone tries to indulge me. So last year when my son asked if I really, truly wasn't going to have a cake for my birthday, he assured me that he and my husband could eat it all and I wouldn't have to eat any. Then he came up with a better idea: "I know! I'll make you a cake out of fruit!"
And that's how the birthday watermelon came to be. Sure there are plenty of adorable and impressive cakes made of fruit on Pinterest, but who has time for that? I popped a few candles into a quarter of a watermelon, listened to my favorite boys sing "Happy Birthday" (and debate mid-serenade on the proper placement of the cha-cha-chas), and made myself a secret wish.
|1. Buy a watermelon.|
2. Put candles in watermelon.
3. Viola! You have yourself a birthday watermelon!
We ate together, I had a proper birthday treat, everyone felt appropriately ritualized, and I didn't have to eat cake.
It was the best idea ever, and I yesterday I bought my birthday watermelon for this year.
So what's the big deal about one measly piece of cake? Why don't I get over myself and live a little? Is one piece of cake really going to ruin my life? Am I so perfect that I'm not even going to eat cake on my birthday? No, it's actually the opposite. I can't handle cake on my birthday. I am not a one-piece-of-cake, one taste of ice cream, one square of chocolate a day kind of girl. I want a lot of it. I am a volume eater! Having just one piece is torture, and it might not ruin my life but it would screw up my weekend. I choose not to eat sugar because of how crummy it makes me feel. The sugar cravings that follow are just not worth it to me. Someday that might change but for now, my birthday watermelon was the sweetest treat I could ask for.
I didn't have a huge pile of chocolate for my birthday, which means I skipped the stomachache, the regret the next morning, and the "OMG why did I do that?" part of so many birthdays past. But, I still celebrated! I just celebrated my awesome life, not food. You can do it too. So get out there and get healthy, even if no one understands you!
And Happy Birthday. :)