NOT CLICKBAIT: I Faked My Birthday on the Internet!

by REAGAN MOTSINGER - Need I say more?


Summer birthdays are both a great and terrible thing. They are scientifically "meh," and here's why.


The pros: you get to sleep in, you know for sure you won’t have school (even if it’s a weekday) and you can spend your whole day doing whatever birthday activities you want.


The cons: with it being summer vacation, people are in and out of town on all kinds of different schedules, so it’s really hard to plan a time when all your best friends can get together to celebrate.


I voiced this complaint to three of my closest friends in class one day, so naturally, one of them decided to assign me an alternate birthday. He claimed this was the birthday of my alter ego, whom he dubbed Phyllis and who is the bolder, more passionate side of my personality. When that day came, the Lantern staff would have a celebration of my fake birthday. No big deal, right?


Funny story.


My fake birthday was March 15, also known as the Ides of March. Not great to start with--it is the date Julius Caesar was stabbed to death (a premeditated plan). Of course, this day fell on the weekend right after we found out about the grand ol’ time we’d be having for the next month in coronavirus quarantine.


We were off school, so I didn’t expect anything to happen, nothing new for a summer birthday kid like me.


However, if anyone checked the Lantern’s Instagram story that day, you know that I was sadly mistaken. Just like on any other staffer’s birthday, there was a templated post as if it were actually my birthday. That’s not until July!


That was not the end of the trick, though. My phone buzzed multiple times that evening with texts and direct messages from the account’s followers, wishing me a happy birthday and hoping that it wasn’t ruined by the corona crisis. I wanted so badly to expose what was happening behind the curtain, but I couldn’t give away the inside joke just yet. It even had some of my oldest friends fooled!


So there you have it. As of today, our trick is exposed. I faked my birthday on the Internet, and people believed me. Not that it was my choice, but it was one iconic memory of senior year.


And you know what? It was great. I felt noticed, I felt loved, and I felt empowered. I was a bit more devious than my normal self because I was channeling Phyllis. She's the fire within me, so maybe she likes to stir up some harmless trouble. So what? Maybe, just maybe, she inspired the beginning of a quarantine turnaround for me. I've felt more free to feel my negative emotions because I've realized that they are valid, even though I'm not in the worst situation on the planet. I've let them out and tried not to let the negativity fester! So today, I'd like to say thank you: to Phyllis, for making me realize the complexity of myself and accept it, and to my friends who created (or was it discovered?) her, for giving me that chance. 💜

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