Since I was little, the holiday season has ignited a congenial and playful side in my father. Throughout the year, when he was home, his interactions with us children were didactic and parental in nature. At Christmas time however, he became a much happier, child-friendly parent. So much so, that our mother would actually let us spend time with him alone.
We would go shopping and get lunch. He wouldn’t even get upset if I didn’t eat my food, although it was clear he was biting his tongue. Everything was okay. He would put on a grandiose kind of persona in public, making the sales people laugh (or pretend to laugh). And if one of us broke something by accident, he wouldn’t be happy, but he also wouldn’t yell. We would cry anyway though.
He continued his happy christmas spirit this year during the week he can now take off from work thanks to his seniority. It’s difficult to not get frustrated when his words feel flat. It’s more difficult to not feel guilty when he buys you acceptance with nice gifts.
Maybe it isn’t an act. Maybe he really does love christmas. Maybe he’s just stressed at other times. Am I really complaining about him buying nice gifts and being cheerful? I like it when he’s like this. Even if it feels like it is following some happy-christmas-formula. You simply can’t be unhappy at christmas time, otherwise you appear ungrateful. But there is a somberness underlying the warmth in the air.
A somberness of knowing the good terms between us don’t last. We are never on bad terms at other times. But it isn’t real. I so badly want him to be authentic. To stick around during the year. To show that he cares. To have a real conversation with him, not as father and daughter, but as one person to another. Of course, I’ll always respect and admire him. There will always be a certain dynamic between us. I’m craving something from him. Something that isn’t this poster card week.
I have a bad taste in my mouth. Is it coming from me?
I am living very irresponsibly by the words of Eddie Money, although I probably won’t wake up in a Cadillac.
I do not have rent to pay, as I’m still living at home. My mother fills my car with gas occasionally, so why is buying Christmas presents bothering me so much?
I’m not buying gold jewelry or anything terribly frivolous. It isn’t a huge amount of money, but it’s really starting to worry me! I keep thinking, okay, now I’ve spent about a months worth of pay.
It should be the thought that counts, but I want to buy my family good presents, even though they could easily buy them on their own. I think my family will appriciate the effort and the searching around to find a good present for each of them.
So to calm myself, I am singing Everybody Loves Christmas by Eddie Money. Trying to stay in the holiday spirit and not worry too much about money while I still can!
I’m not whining. I know I lack passion, drive, or any short of ambitition. How can I accept that and be content? How can I accept others accomplishments without falling into negative thinking?
Whether it is my brother getting into a good university, a friend recieving praise from a professor, or my sister getting a raise at work, I always fall into a jealous pit of disspair. I will never do anything with my life. I am not capable of anything. I don’t want anything out of life.
Nobody wants to read about or admit to these feelings. You should seperate yourself and simply be happy for the other person. And I am happy for them. Their lives just contrasts my accomplishments so much I can’t help but notice.
While I (like to) think a lot of people have these thoughts, I need to keep myself from spiraling into them. My sister recently received an offer for a recommendation from a professor without her asking. Consequently and illogically, that night I felt like shit.
That’s not okay. Writing this out and recognizing that this is a pattern is a good step for me, I think.
I was at Chick-fil-a recently, standing near the condiments waiting for my to-go order for my family. A 30-something year old man came and stood to my right. It wasn’t clear if he was waiting or standing in line.
He started mouthing something and I looked around for whom the words were directed. A young red-headed girl of about seven years old stood in line in front of us. She was holding her near-empty cup awaiting a refill and clearly anxious.
When the women infront of her left, the girl panicked and turned away toward her father saying something like “oh well”. He took a step forward and assured her it was okay before stepping back, encouraging her to ask for a refill.
She got her refill and walked out with her father, his hand on her shoulder. The whole thing was very sweet. I had almost forgotten the terror of talking to cashiers now that I am the one behind the counter.
For some reason it was saddening as well. May have been attracted to the father and his tenderness? I also found myself a little pissed off at the girl. I want someone to care about and have confidence in me like that. That’s what I would want in a relationship if I ever decide to pursue one.
On my drive home I was listening to a story about young voters on NPR. When I heard the intelligent, well-informed, confident voices over the speaker, I realized with a jolt that these are not people to admire. No, these are my competitors; these are my peers.
And suddenly everything felt impossible. I’m not capable of making a difference in the world. Images of myself as a fat Walmart employee with gray hair flashed into my mind. Or simply bumbling through life without direction for a greater good.
The voices on the radio held starkly different depictions in my mind. They appeared as confident, healthy, passionate young professionals, making their mark and touching lives. They seem to move through life guided by some inherent skill set.
Where did they obtain such direction? A congenital blessing? Pure determination? Values instilled in them by their parents?
The vast majority of the world population will not go on to make what I few as a significant difference in the world. It could be argued that how they effect people close to them is significant. In that way, groups can make a collective difference. That is not the change I think of when I look jealously at professionals and competent people.
I worry that my yearning to impact peoples’ lives is simply a narcissistic wish for admiration. I have not found any way to reconcile that concern. Beyond that, the idea that this want is simply a product of socialization to perpetuate the species is oddly vexing.
Why can’t I make a difference in the world? The answer of course is that I can, but fear of failing and my certainty about my incompetence clouds the path. There are many noble causes to pursue. If I can set aside my self-deprecating thoughts, the piece that is missing is passion. How do I want to help people? What is important and what will be most significant?
These are the questions that currently plague me. A welcomed plague as they are more utilitarian and tangible than my past ruminations about intentions behind relationships, my conclusions of which I have mostly come to terms with.