Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Since my resetting declaration in the previous post, I've really been thinking about why I feel such pressure and confusion at Christmas, whyI feel tremendous guilt for absolutely no reason, and why it's so hard for me to feel good about receiving gifts. Here are a few things I think may play a role in my weirdness.

  • I was very poor growing up. Heck, money's still damn tight right now. But I remember my mom's struggle to get us gifts, and how guilty I felt every year because of seeing how guilty she felt. And because I've always had to struggle to make the money stretch, I figure everybody else is in the same boat. Hence,

  • I feel I don't deserve to receive gifts. Or to have people care about me. Or to breathe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suffering on a daily basis with this like I used to. I think that Christmas coming only once a year, and me trying to just put my head down and get through, has stunted the work I've done at Christmastime.

  • I've never been very good at parties in general. Besides Christmas parties I also avoid birthday parties and cookouts and masquerades. I could fill a book with my party-disaster stories. It's not only other people's parties. Every party I've ever had flopped. Hugely.

  • I feel like there are some Commandments of Social Behavior that everybody else received at birth, but I didn't.

I'm sure there's a lot more, but that's all I'm willing to look at right now.

{ 7 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. If it helps (which it doesn't), I didn't get the rule book either. Not only that, I didn't get the secret decoder ring that tells you how to be a gainfully employed wage-earning adult either. I used to think that happened in college, but now I think I was just ... left out somehow.

    You're not alone in feeling this way, and you're not weird. Well...if you are, I'm weird with you. We can be weird together. Okay?

  2. Here are the Commandments of Social Behavior that I received:


    Of course, it helps if you find out who that is. I am a social retard, probably one of the most socially inappropriate people on the planet. But I have fun at parties! Blaming my behavior on alcohol helps. :)

    Also try lowering your expectations to nil.

    I care about you, and I don't give a crap if you think I shouldn't. I sent you something that I think could give you some of this peace of mind you're after, if you'd just open your freaking mind to it. Of course you deserve to be given gifts, cared about, BREATHE. You've already been given all of that and more, but you're looking at the lack instead. It's like standing between a pile of manure and a pile of gold, and sticking your shovel into the shit first. TURN AROUND!

    Merry Christmas, gal. To you and yours.

  3. Cheryl, I don't know what to do with you. You yell at me and tell me you care. You make assumptions and then get mad at ME for the assumptions you made, instead of asking for clarifications. I appreciate you sending me that, but it did not do for me what it did for you. Why is that so horrible? It's not for me. But thank you.

    I'm not looking at the lack in my life. It's exactly the opposite. I'm freeing myself from people/attitudes/patterns which do me harm so that I CAN be myself. If you can't see that, well then, I guess our views on life are incompatible.

  4. I can relate to much of the things you mention - growing up without much to go around, feeling like I missed the social commandment thing, too. I'm uncomfortable receiving gifts also. I guess we have a weird clique. :)

    I think you're just trying to define yourself. Sometimes though, simply accepting yourself might just be the way to go.

  5. I think most of us have issues around money and holidays. Just keep telling yourself that you deserve good things and they aren't necessarily gifts wrapped in shiny paper and bows!

    Have a lovely holiday season, Merry Christmas and happy new year!

  6. Ok, this isn't a deep reaction or anything, but I remember as a teenager, watching the Mary Tyler Moore show and wishing like heck that I had her life. The apartment, the job, the friends, the poise. It all seemed so safe. But one of the running gags was her complete inability to throw a good party. Every time, a disaster. It made me SO happy- "see, even Mary Tyler Moore screws up, but in the end, she's ok." Oh the book I could write about how sitcoms helped me survive hard times and offered some basic examples of normal life!

  7. Kelly Mahan JaramilloDecember 25, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    Hey Honey -
    Long time no comment, and a lot has gone on, but....the holiday season remains the same, it seems. A source of anxiety, feelings that I was certain I had wrestled control over come roaring back to let me know in no uncertain terms that this is THEIR time of the year, and I am just the host.

    I never know what to say or do, the old programming is so strong this time of year that I, like you, just put my head down and try to muscle through it, but I, too, feel that the "Holiday Endurance Test" just pushes me backwards, somehow.

    If you want to read my take on it, go to - the Bobby D. blog.

    I guess the only comforting thing I can say is that it will be over soon.

    Hey, thanks for the invite on Twitter - I have no freaking clue how to do the Twitter thing, but I am still recovering from the events of this whole year. I am lucky I can remember how to spell my name.

    I am glad you are blogging again - when I finally had access to a computer again, I went to say hi, and you were on hiatus. SAD!

    I miss you, and am going to read some posts, catch up with you, and we can pick up where we left off.

    Oh, and Sarah - absolutely thrilled me, too, that MTM's parties were always a bomb. Later in life, being terribly envious of the amazingly organized Monica on "Friends", yet realizing I would not make it through five minutes of one of HER parties! "Click the pen top, people! Click the pen top".

    Of course, the special Christmas Eve and Day are reserved for "House" or, if I am feeling really festive, "Dexter".

    Let's all just do our damnedest to get to the new year intact, okay?


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