I despised the family-of-origin Christmases - drunkfests that went on for decades. Rough on the mutant nearly non-drinker, though my ex-husband loved them. Then the real ruin of Christmas was the "death year". My mother and my sister both died between Thanksgiving and Christmas one year - the sister of alcoholic cirrhosis at 51. Slogged through heavy water that year.
And now, I am cranky in the run-up to this, my third Christmas since the SCA, though I am glad to spend it at home - my first in this home. I am glad not to be travelling, happy to be hosting friends that day for dinner, but that's about it for happy. The rest is pretty cranky.
So no, I am not filed with Christmas spirit. I'm filled with irritation, annoyance, rancor, acid. Whatever the noun is for peeved. Pettily peeved, that's me.
I got a tree yesterday, but it's not standing up straight. Today, I had to go back to where I bought it - I realized last night I'd forgotten to pay for it. I expected them to be grateful and surprised that I had come back - perhaps just a little fawning. Nada. They said they knew I'd come back to pay. I know I should like that - I don't. I expected gratitude. Compliments. A halo perhaps. See? - Pettily peeved.
I am sick of hearing people debate "Merry Christmas" v. "Happy Holidays". I have considered de-friending or hiding from some Facebook friends who have posted those bizarre "put Christ back into Christmas" crap. One said non-celebrators should go back where they came from. What? Go back where? Do we now assume that everyone who doesn't say Merry Christmas is an illegal immigrant? What the hell is the connection there? Do these people have no friends who are Jewish, agnostic, seekers, Buddhists, miscellaneous? How is that possible?
And what the hell is "put Christ back into Christmas" anyway - what does that mean? Santa Claus's in mangers? Baby Jesus' figures on candy canes? Mistletoe in the shape of the Star of Bethlehem? Three Wise Men sliding down a chimney? And now I'm irritating myself.
I am incredibly grateful for one thing this season ----- my radio station plays perhaps one Christmas song per hour. If it's not the Band's Christmas Must be Tonight or John Lennon's So This is Christmas or Adeste Fideles, I don't want to hear it. OK, maybe a really excellent rendition of Oh, Holy Night - but that is it.
As kids we count the days until Christmas. Now, I count the days until the day after Christmas.
I'm full of Christmas rancor though I am faking it, trying to cover it up. But the rancor is all over the place. Annoyed at lack of fawning. Annoyed my tree is not standing up straight. Annoyed I have to find new places for Christmas decorations - we always put the things in the same places, and this is the first year in this house; I have to figure out new places. Right now, the new place is "still in the box". I may go with that.
I'm annoyed with my lost friend. He missed me last year and I liked that. I was on the beach today (75 and magnificent) with my unruly dog - whom I'm thinking of renaming Calamity. The ocean was perfect - long intervals between slow, gentle, excellently formed waves. Impossible blue. Perfect sky. Again impossible blue. Warm, not hot. Smelled perfect. See forever on the horizon. And I thought "You idiot. We could be boating. You could be teaching me to fish".
Tomorrow I'm going to Raleigh to watch Syracuse play some basketball. I hope they beat the stuffing out of NC State.
Ah, the 26th - a mere 10 days away. Then I can go back to being a happy person.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Sometimes you encounter a phrase floating by - and then.... what? What was that again? Hold it. Rewind, please. A few weeks back, a dear friend told me a story that revolved around one such phrase. It went by and then stopped. It has rolled around with me ever since. Seemingly innocuous, annoying as hell.
A family member of my friend was in therapy. During a session, the therapist left the room and the 'patient' snuck a peak at the notes on the desk. I probably would do that. Or at minimum, I would want to do that. And the notes the therapist had written went something like: "She is completely devoid of jewelry".
Devoid of jewelry. Those words just sit there. The therapist wrote those words on a page, to put in a file. There is something so offensive about it. I like jewelry as much as the next woman. But that little phrase bothered me, and it's been bothering me for weeks. Devoid of jewelry. In a therapist's file. (It reminded me of an old-fashioned doctor's referring to the "lipstick effect" - he thought he was so insightful by commenting that if a female hospital patient donned lipstick, she was on the mend or showing good mental health. Trite. Throwback to my parents' generation).
But this therapist is not of my parent's generation, and I continue to be annoyed and irritated and insulted by the comment. "Devoid of jewelry". Was there supposed to be some genuine insight there? A diagnosis? It trivializes a woman; it trivializes a patient. (And does the therapist note when a man is over- or under- adorned with jewelry? Do we make accomodations in the amount of 'acceptable' jewelry a man wears - do we allow more for men from New Jersey?)
I was devoid of jewelry today. I went out and made several stops; so alas and alack - I was seen in public being devoid of jewelry. And no lipstick either. Horrors.
And why was I devoid of jewelry? Was I having a breakdown? Was I depressed? Withdrawing from civilized society? Sinking into despair? Lashing out or acting out against some unknown therapist somewhere? Succumbing to darkness of mental illness?
No. No to the unknown shallow therapist out there. No. I was devoid of jewelry because I had dropped one earring somewhere along the way today. Instead of walking around with only the other earring, I made the deep decision to yank out the survivor. Oh - and the 'spare pair' that many of us keep in the car (like a spare tire) had already been used. Whoopsie. Perhaps in "smug, trite therapist school" there is a separate category for being devoid of jewelry and devoid of the spare pair).
So there I was. Devoid.
Here is what I would like to say to the therapist. Go to hell. Wear as much or as little jewelry as you would like, but begone with your shallow self.
Back to the business of life.