If we had the power, we would be able to make our birthdays go exactly as we have planned (or not planned) for them to go. But the truth is that days like this are usually never in our full control. Your birthday cake might be delivered on the night of your birthday, your friends might have plans and bail on the plans they pushed you into making, amongst other disasters. So on that note, we asked nine Nigerians to share their worst birthday experiences. Read their stories below.

Yasmine, 22

I had plans for my 21st birthday all laid out, then this guy I was dating insisted on being a part of my day.

It took me a while to let him in, but I thought hey, sharing your special moments with someone else can’t be so bad.

Then about a week before the day, he just ghosted me. No explanations, nothing.

I was such a mess, I didn’t get my hair done, or anything else I’d planned.

To make things worse, the stress from the week made my period late, and guess when it showed up? On my birthday! Imagine your uterus and your heart both trying to kill you. As if it couldn’t get any worse, my performance at work hadn’t been the best given the circumstances. And my boss really called me on my birthday to berate my work. Which was pretty unfair because I’d done a year of great work, I make a few mistakes and instead of asking what was wrong, I got a lecture. I sha stayed in bed and ate cake as a fuck you to my cramps. The moral of the story is, don’t let any man near your special days, especially the Yoruba ones.

Benya, 26

When I was turning 13yrs old, my parents wanted a party but I wanted something small because I was being bullied, fat-shamed, at school and in the neighborhood. At the party, only two people showed up and the Psquare Roll It video came out so when they came around I played it. I did the sexy finger in mouth look and said: I Like It. School resumed and practically everyone was doing that and making fun of me.

Amaka, 24

My worst birthday experience is about to happen. I have a long week ahead and my birthday falls in between so  I decided to invite my friends out for lunch. 

I invited 13 people and only 3 people are actually going to show. 

Plus one of my friends decided to invite my nemesis from high school after which I had to revoke both their Invitations.  

I wish I never even planned anything and it has taught me an important lesson about who my friends really are.

Temi, 24

My birthday last year came up when the lockdown was easing a bit. l had a close friend of mine who lives within my area and I planned to cook and just do something small indoors with her since it was a weekend and we couldn’t go anywhere. But luckily another friend of mine traveled down but when my close friend who stays close by showed up later in the day, she didn’t spend so much time with me and ended up inviting my other friend to her house.  To top it off, a lot of people on my contact list claimed they didn’t know it was my birthday, just one or two people called, even the anticipating boyfriend called late in the night, same as my family members. I spent the rest of the day lonely and crying and made up my mind never to expect too much from anybody and I really do not anticipate my birthday anymore.

Adaora, 24

When I was 20, I invited my friends, baked a cake, and cooked a feast. Then one of them called to tell me on the day that she won’t be able to show up. The others did not show up and did not bother to call and let me know before I cooked. It still pains me when I think about it because I cooked. I don’t even like cooking but for this party, I cooked a lot of food. I ended up drinking a bottle of wine and mopping in my room the rest of the day. 

Then I cried myself to sleep. I am 24 now, I have better friends and I had a nice birthday this year.

I.J, 20

On my worst birthday experience, I was trapped at home, alone without any plans, and unable to speak to anyone because of some natural disasters that happened that day. Eventually that evening, phones started working again and I finally heard from a close, close friend of mine. We spoke for a little bit, they told me they were going to call me back and I never heard their voice ever again. They didn’t die or anything, they just iced me out. It felt extremely weird, being ghosted on a day that was already so lonely but supposed to be special. It also made me realize a birthday is just a day. It isn’t necessarily a day to be happy, despite what we’d like to think. If you’re happy every day of the year but your birthday, that’s okay too. That’s life. At least I didn’t write exams. Thank God, because I didn’t study and that was what saved the day. 

Chii, 28

On my 25th birthday, no one remembered. As in, absolutely no one. Not family, not friends, and not my then-boyfriend. Not one single call or message, except generic texts from my banks. I lived alone, so there was no one to even notice me that day. I felt incredibly alone on such a significant birthday. It was worsened by the fact that I was going through some stressors: toxic workplace, burnout, quarter-life crisis, etc. I wept so hard that day; it really did break my heart in some way. Everyone apologised afterward; they all had some plausible excuse for why they forgot. But after that, I celebrate my birthday in my own way primarily, no matter what else anyone’s got planned.

Prism, 21

I didn’t want to do anything on my 19th birthday, but my friends forced me to have a birthday party and so I agreed.  I got cake and food and alcohol, and I was clear that it was only for close friends. Only for a friend of mine to show up with 5 or 6 boys and 5 girls. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t want those people in my house because I didn’t know who they were. She got upset and started shouting and called me names and said: “my party was the worst party on earth”. Then she left. That made me feel extremely terrible and ruined the entire day for me.

Zainab, 19

So every year on my birthday, I usually go see a movie. It’s a tradition I started in 2015. In 2019, the year I turned 18, and I was excited. I didn’t want to do anything crazy. Just watch a movie with my friends. My mother, however, had other plans She had promised three cousins to take them out that same day. On my birthday!. So my three younger cousins, my aunt, and my mum said we’d go see the movie together. Then my mother suddenly decided she had to run some errands. By the time she was done, it was about 6 pm. We had to come back home from the cinema. On the way back, we bought pizza (which I paid for with my money).

My girlfriend travelled all the way to come to see me, and I couldn’t even spend my birthday with her because of some stupid thing my mother did. I was so upset. I don’t think I’ve fully forgiven her. I spent my 18th birthday eating pizza and crying.

QUIZ: How Old Do You Actually Act?

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