Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Sensitive Date

December 10th is a sensitive date. The 344th day of the year. Its significance marked in the calendar. A protest day. Political unrest. Voices put to the test. Speaking out to claim equal rights to life, liberation and peace. The Universal Declaration for Human Rights was signed on this date 1948 in France. An historic day for humanity. The 10th stands out for its conquests. Its debating prowess. An international forum forced to sit up and listen to public opinion. Peaceful events held on this date don't always bring harmony. A good example of this is The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Those opposed to who the award is presented to. Eyebrows raised at the shake of the hand, the honour received. The 10th sparks controversy. What date in your life does the same?

We all have such dates in our diary don't we? Anniversaries, birthdays, even Christmas. But is there one particular date in the year you loathe? A day you'd just like to stay in bed, pull the covers over your head. Disappear. The 17th of this month, is a delicate time of year. My date of birth. 'Tis a week before Christmas and a bear with a sore head has appeared. Bolt the doors, I'm staying here. I grumble it's cold and too mad out there. I just want an ordinary day. Instead I amble along, make it through this “special” day. I exclaim in the right spot and hope my facial muscles match my response. Try not to get my expressions confused. A bad actor. My lines read as if prompted by a stage director. Hollow, false, and insufficient. People's eyes alight my face. Their anticipation, their expectations of this ritual. It's what I call birthday stage fright.

If no date was attached, I would perform differently. My responses would sound genuine. No guesswork in how I should feel. A gesture. A kind thought. A smile. Put on the spot, but unexpectedly so. There is a dark side too. Every year my birthday arrives I feel cheated. December consumed by Christmas. My “special” day clouded with panic. Overshadowed by preparations for the big day. Combined presents and cards. Office parties and food. Christmas clashing expensively with my birthday. Is there a way you can legally re-register your birth date? Move it to April or May? Celebrate an unofficial birthday.

The 17th, a personal matter, whereas the 10th is a global affair. Annually it also marks IARD. International Animal Rights Day. A date sensitively reserved to recognise the right to a life free from pain. Campaign for compassion to be shown to all fellow beings on this day.