Friday, December 23, 2011

The Most Important Gift This Year Will Be The One I Give Myself

“You work on Christmas?” He asked me as we waiting for our tables to get sat. 


“You have family in town?” 

“Yes. Kinda bummed but what are you gonna do?” 

“I don’t care about working on Christmas. I can’t even remember the last time I got a Christmas gift so it doesn’t matter to me.” 

Then I watched him walk away. He seemed really nonchalant about his response, but I was sad for him anyway. 

Wednesday was my last day off before Christmas. I spent the day running around, getting last minute gifts and enjoying a “wrapping party” with my mom to get everything squared away. I had so much fun spending the rest of what I could afford out of my savings preparing Christmas gifts for my family and friends. 

Last year, when I had all kinds of money, I went a little overboard on gifts. I bought something for just about everyone that I had held a conversation with in the few months leading up to the holidays. I remember afterwards feeling very unfulfilled... I think only your real, true friends appreciate the effort that goes into thinking about someone else. Or maybe I was just bitter because the feelings weren’t reciprocated. 

Not that the holiday is all about the gifts we receive. Of course not. But there is something incredibly satisfying about the fact that someone thought of you. Warm and fuzzy and all that junk... 

This year, I told myself I would only buy for my immediate family and Tim. It started out that way but then my mom started making these awesome sports team ornaments and I began thinking about a few people at my work and in my life that would genuinely appreciate something so cool. Fifteen ornaments later and I’m glad I made that decision. People really liked them. And I don’t particularly care for most of the people I work with, but there are a select few that have really made my transition to this new environment less miserable than it could have been. So it was nice to let them know that I appreciated that. 

I also had a lot of fun shopping for Tim. Unfortunately, we’ve spent a good part of this past week not getting along that well and it has caused some concern about whether or not I am going down the same path in this relationship that I have before. The ups and downs of shopping for thoughtful gifts and then spending that same night on the couch in tears has taken a toll on my energy. I have yo-yo’d between feeling generous and caring to feeling bad about myself and my selfish behavior. I can’t decide if I’m a really good person who keeps making bad decisions or a really bad person who is trying to cover it up with presents. 

I don’t remember exactly how old we were... I think maybe I was ten or eleven... anyhow, my parents were working one day and my brother had discovered the box where all of our Christmas gifts were beautifully wrapped and waiting to be placed under the tree after we fell asleep on Christmas Eve. Mom and Dad were always so good about that... they would put a few gifts under the tree throughout the month and then BAM! Christmas morning, we would gasp at all the new presents that had appeared overnight. It was awesome. 

However, this particular year, we decided to be rotten. We got a chair from the kitchen and got the big box off the shelf. We proceed to carefully unwrap the edges of all of our gifts - just enough to peek in and see what they were. We would put them back together, good as new, and move on to the next one. I was so excited to see all the great gifts my parents had gotten for us. 

After we successfully opened and rewrapped everything, we placed all the gifts back in the box, climbed up on the chair and returned it to the shelf where we had found it. Good as new. 

Except we left the chair. 

When my parents got home, my mom asked immediately why the chair was where it was. I’ve never been a great liar and between the both of us, we broke down and told them what we had done. The look on their faces was enough to tear my heart right out from my chest. I couldn’t believe that I had been so bad. Why did I take away the one gift that meant the most to my mom and dad every year? Why did I replace the look of love and excitement on their face when we opened each of our wonderful gifts in front of them with this horrible look of sadness and grief? What the hell was I thinking? 

We were sent to our rooms, of course, and my reaction to how shameful I felt was... memorable. I took everything in my room - every toy, every poster, all my clothes, etc. - and I threw it all in the closet. Then I took the blanket from my bed and covered it all. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything I had. I laid on my bed and sobbed. There are a few others times in my life I can remember feeling so horrible, but none quite as vivid as knowing that I had ruined Christmas for my parents. 

Christmas morning that year was awful. We sat quietly and opened our gifts while Mom held back tears and Dad looked at the floor. It is one of the worst memories of my life. 

To this day, I don’t even shake a gift to see if I can guess what it is. 

I wish I knew why I do some of the things I do. On Wednesday, I wanted to go see a few of my friends and give them their Christmas gifts after bowling. I knew Tim had an early morning the next day and assured him that we wouldn’t be out all night. But the time came to go and I still want to gamble, drink, and hang out. When we finally left and went home, we fought about my selfishness and bratty behavior to the point where voices were raised and doors were slammed. How come I can only do some things right? Why do I have to ruin my good deeds with thoughtless acts? 

On Sunday, after football, I wanted to go to a local bar by the house to have some drinks and play some Keno during the night game. Tim agreed and then changed his mind. I flipped out, once again acting like a selfish child who didn’t get the toy she wanted. We went home, fought about it and, out of frustration for having been down this road with him so many times, I slammed the dresser drawers in my closet hard enough to make him upset and he left the house for then night. Angry about this as well, I kicked the dresser, breaking one of the drawers completely in half. 

When did I lose my zen? 

We hardly spoke yesterday. When we did, it was mostly just “I’m sorry.” And we are. We are always sorry the next day. But when are we going to be able to have a morning where we wake up and not feel like we need to apologize to one another? 

I guess I’m just so tired of feeling bad for the things I do. But I don’t know how to change who I am. I am the one who always says that everything is a choice and that in order to have something different, we just need to choose something different. Sounds so easy when I’m saying it to someone else. 

I’m not quite ready to give up on this relationship. This alone is new for me. But things definitely need to change. And since I always seem to get a huge burst of momentum for the new year, I’m using the next week to really think about the things in my life that I want to see change. A resolution list, if you will, but something that I hope will not only improve my bank account and my waist line, but hopefully it will help put my relationship with Tim back on the right track. 

For now, I am going to do my best to make money at work this weekend (to avoid feeling sorry for myself for not being able to spend the whole weekend with my family), and beginning Monday and going through Friday, I am going to post a new blog every day about the things I plan on changing in the new year. Five things that I know I need to make happen in order to bring balance back into my life. It’s time to reconnect with what I truly want and recommit to making it happen. It’s time to do the right thing. 

Because my closet is way too small to fit all my shit now.


  1. T...

    Another hint that you were me or vice versa in a past life (or something). We (siblings and me)would open up ONE gift every year and wrap it back up without my parents knowing. Here's where we differ, I felt so bad (NOT) that the next year it was two gifts, then three gifts, then ALL the gifts!!! To this day, when someone gives me something, I not only shake it but I MAKE them tell me what it is before I open it. That's how much I hate surprises!!! You are a way nicer person than me because I have never once asked myself why I do this! Go easy on yourself and have a happy uncomplicated new year! Hi Tim!

    Your friend, julia

  2. BE NICE!!!! That is all.