Well, I certainly got caught up in the madness that is Christmas! I have been out shopping, fighting crowds, braving lines, and searching for THE present to give. I had had high hopes that I would be able to get away with just giving out gift certificates for free haircuts from me, but somehow that idea didn’t stick, and I reneged on my offer and decided to spend some real money. I think I just missed having anything to wrap up. I don’t consider myself a Martha Stewart of gift wrapping, you know, using the perfect heavy paper or cute fabric and tying intricate knots and bows and making gift tags to adorn the tops. Instead, I pick a few simple wrapping papers, get some coordinating ribbon, and go to town. I also love the look of a mound of presents under my tree.
As it is with everyone, the economy is raining on my gift giving parade this year. I wanted that proverbial mountain of presents, but instead have a handful of gifts that in lieu of creating a feeling of fullness, draw attention to the amount of space and emptiness under the tree. I’m no miser, I do spend what money I can, and more than that, I want to give gifts that will make people happy, but the economy has forced me to compromise and get creative. I have pretty Christmas cards, and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies (my favorite, and specialty) to hand out to friends, and a few gifts for immediate family and for the family I nanny for, but love and my friendship for all.
Now that I feel Christmas is taken care of, I must address the looming presence of my 25th birthday which falls three days after Christmas on the 28th. Let me give some back story as to why this is not a joy filled time for me. When I was a senior in high school, turning 18, I was suffering from ennui, some mild depression, or that SAD (seasonally affective disorder from lack of sun exposure) or something else that left me sad and full of despair as I approached my birthday. Now, each year I look forward to my birthday when it is still months away, but the closer I get to the actual day, the less excited I become, and more, well in a funk, for lack of a better phrasing. This birthday funk makes me gloomy, or at least not my out going and cheerful self, and those close to me know it. Billy gets extra cautious of me around my birthday, not wanting to bring it up in case it pushes me further in, or I take out my unknown bother on him.
I both crave and despise companionship near my birthday. I desperately want people in my life around me because in the back of my brain I know they will pull me out of this, but the front of my brain refuses to listen and thinks that being around people will be the worst thing possible. I end up fighting and struggling with myself until someone decides not to take my lame excuses and makes me be social, then I feel better and loved and all things that birthdays are supposed to make you feel.
Even knowing this, I still fall into my funk, and don’t know how to, or don’t want to get myself out without help. It’s like stopping your car on train tracks, and staying there even when the gates come down, and the train is whistling toward you, telling you to move, but now you can’t because you are stuck.
I am extremely thankful for my amazing friends who are able to pull me out of the funk and don’t hold it against me. Billy of all people sees how down I get, and though he isn’t entirely sure what causes it, or even fixes it, he is my rock and white knight when I need him. My girlfriends are also amazing. Sarah and Diane, being my closest friends for over a decade, are able to love me in a strong handed way to divert my attentions from my own selfish thoughts and depressions and focus on the gift that is my life. And now I can count on the lovely Tiffany, who gets to share a second Christmas in my life, and who already is protective of my fragile emotional state at this time of year and is making plans to force me into society instead of wallowing in my self-pity. She saw the depth of where I go this time of year and didn’t allow me to sink, but promised rafts of dinner and movies and fun instead. There are more people who save me year after year and don’t even know it, and I thank them too.
Just reading over this brought up some interesting thoughts. I wonder, if deep down, I make a big deal of my birthday for myself, and create these high expectations for what amounts to just another day, then I get depressed as the days leading up to the birthday, no one else seems to take it upon themselves to celebrate my birthday without me planning it. I desperately do not want to sound selfish, or like I expect others to just do this for me, but maybe there is a part of me that wants that and is that selfish. I think that is why I struggle so hard about my birthday; I don’t want to be the one in charge of it, and want to just celebrate without the planning that goes into it, as I already am so tightly in control of all other aspects of my life, that this one should fall on someone else. Gosh I don’t like that 😦 I don’t want someone else to read my mind, plan something for me, and expect myself to just give in. Heck, when a friend asked how I was celebrating, and then offered to throw something for me, I adamantly said no. What is it I want then, if I won’t allow anyone to plan for me what I refuse to take responsibility for? Now that is the million dollar question. Isn’t life just full of those these days? I will continue to wrestle with my funk, and further explore the idea of my own selfishness being to blame, and I’ll do some home-brewed therapy to try to make it better. Either way, it’ll get blogged in its own time.