EXTRA! SO VERY EXTRA!

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

Choose to see the wonderful: Holiday Withdrawal #ctstw

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2013 at 3:36 am

I’ve written a lot about myself: my introversion, my struggles with depression, and (most recently) my happiness project. Correction, then. I write mostly about myself. It’s free therapy for me, and (I tell myself) that my words may be helpful or entertaining to others. My happiness project for the last two months focused on the power of my words to foster happiness in myself and others. For the next two months, I am going to choose to see the wonderful in everyday happenings.

Oddly, choosing to see the wonderful proves difficult for me during the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time of year, when everything is on sale, tinsel-strewn, dipped in lights, and packed in family-sized boxes: it’s easy for me to feel a little withdrawn. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, but it’s rarely discussed openly and seriously. Common wisdom tells those of us with the “holiday blues” to surround ourselves with people and brown paper packages and warm woolen mittens to pull us out of the withdrawn feelings.

But, this year…..I am choosing to see the wonderful in the way I handle the holidays. I have to; otherwise, I will spend the entire Christmas season alternating between feeling “blue” and feeling bad for feeling blue. But, this year…..I am going to break that cycle and give myself permission to be myself. And, that means that I have to be honest with myself.

1. Holiday shopping and gifting stresses me out. But, you know what doesn’t stress me out? Buying treats that have a use and remind people to be happy. So, instead of doing the Wal-Mart/Target 10K this holiday, I am going to buy happiness treasures.

2. Holiday parties can be stressful. I’ve been told that I’m not good at meeting new people, and that I’m not good at small talk. I can finally tell myself a glorious truth: I can be comfortable meeting new people and I can be perfectly normal (even, dare I say, charming) during small talk. But, I need breaks. It’s perfectly ok to step outside for a breath of fresh air or volunteer to go on a grocery run.

3. I LOVE Christmas lights. Like, I really love them. But, I rarely make time to go see Christmas lights in the evenings. This year? Oh, yeah! Christmas lights.

4. I really dig open fires with roasted marshmallows. Pass me those two sticks and that bit of cotton, please.

5. I enjoy conversations around said open fire.

6. Flannel! Hello….plaid flannel shirts?! Halleloo.

7. Though shopping for gifts stresses me out, wrapping gifts that other people buy is awesomely therapeutic.

The point? For those who get holiday blues…….maybe you’ve been trying to fit yourself into a mold from which you weren’t cut. Embrace the wonderful in who you are. You deserve that: say kind words to yourself and do kind things for yourself. Tell yourself glorious truths about yourself. Focus on the things you do enjoy….and do the things you enjoy.

4. I

John Mayer, Hot Wheels, and Self-Revelations, #ctstw

In and other uncomfortable topics, Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Encouragement, Happiness, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Uncategorized, Using my words for good #UMFWG on December 3, 2013 at 4:48 am

I pressed play on “In Repair,” John Mayer’s heady ballad about a life on the mechanic’s lift (so to speak).

Earlier today, I fixed my young friend’s Hot Wheels car factory that melts plastic, squeezes it into a mold, and cools it into the shape of a toy car. Some of the cold plastic ended up in the wrong place (well, truth be told: my young friend PUT a piece of cold plastic in the wrong place), so I unscrewed some things, poked around with a screwdriver in a manner that likely voided warranties and……voila! My young friend was making plastic toy cars again.

And, it hit me as I was driving the rolling hills of Rainbow Road away from South DeKalb mall. I saw the wonderful–in a completely opposite way than the song indicates.

I am not in repair. You’re not in repair. John Mayer’s not in repair…..though he did write quite a song.

Repair…..when something needs to be fixed, one has that thing repaired. Repaired…..put back together so that the thing works as it’s meant to. Repair…..re-made into some whole version of the thing.

But, I am not a car. You are not a car.

I work the way I am meant to work. I am a flawed, crazy patchwork of failures and successes.

Suddenly, thinking of people as in need of repair annoys me. The person who murders. The child who is abandoned by careless parents. The careless parents who abandon their child. The person who snatches purses and wallets. The arrogant person. The rude person. The gossiping person.

Are they in need of repair? In need of love, in need of compassion, in need of nurture, in need of guidance. Maybe those things are a part of repair. But, repair seems to me a discrete process, while love and so forth should be endless. Right? Maybe?

Maybe this is just a (horrible, horrible) semantics game. But, thinking of people as needing repair suggests that a diagnostic test can be run, a few changes made, and voila! A functional human emerges. But, what is a functional human being? Even medical doctors will admit that an accurate diagnosis and a corrective procedure may not get at the root of a physiological problem.

I have a few rough emotional edges and a deep store of self-loathing and a noticeable mean streak. I can change those things, but not with a simple process of repair in which someone unscrews me, pokes around, voids some warranties, re-screws me and voila…….Moi 2.0! There is a huge chance that I may never totally unload my self-loathing. In other words, I may never FIX that about myself. And, why should I–you, we, us–drip our lives away trying to fix this thing or that? When, much like the case of my young friend’s hot plastic car molder, external forces caused the “malfunction” in the first place.

If we could rewind the life of the arrogant person or the gossip or the murderer……would we see crucial moments when another person intercepted that life and altered it? Would we see abuse or shame or abandonment or loneliness or embarrassment or judgment? Probably. If you could rewind your life to a time when you weren’t in need of “repair,” and then pressed play: would you recognize the ways that others affected you and the way you affected others?

What am I saying? Hm. I’m not sure really. Well, maybe this: if there is any screwing to be done, screw those who tell you that you are less than, undone, in need of repair, wanting, not up to snuff, below the mark. You keep living, loving, sharing, giving, cooperating, raging, flourishing. I’ll do the same.

Happy New Year.