25.12.18

Please scroll past this post if reading about unhappy things is going to ruin your day. I may not enjoy Christmas, but I don’t wish to put a damper on anyone else’s joy.

With that out of the way; today is Christmas, and it’s 5:02 in the morning. I’m awake, again, because of an unfortunate and cruel twist of fate that brought me into this life as a woman. So of course, because it’s Christmas and because I’m awake, 25/12/18 is off to a bad start. And this time, it’s not just because I’m a common garden variety Grinch.

Christmas has long since become my least favourite time of the year, but this year I’m feeling especially melancholic. It’s a stupid mental health issue, you see. My brain decides that, on a day when so many people are feeling joy and happiness and closeness, it is going to screw around with some chemistry and make me sad. My brain and I are at odds with each other a lot, and today especially, she’s being a rather heinous bitch.

I feel very alone. I have family events to attend today, but right now the very thought of going anywhere or doing anything, exhausts me. I feel like I need to cry but it’s as though the ability to do so has dried up. Isn’t that just the worst thing, when you need to cry but you can’t?

I realise this is a miserable thing to say on a day like this, but I wish it was tomorrow. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the rest of the day.

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Grinchmas

​*spoiler; if you love Christmas, and a Grinch is likely to ruin your festive mood, read no further. I don’t want to be responsible for bringing any gloom to your day.*

Christmas is over, and I’m not sad to see it go. With each passing year, it gets less and less appealing. Far more of an obligation than an excitement, and a day I would much rather spend hiding from the people and the sun (I’m Australian, there’s no such thing as a white Christmas for us), than going off and visiting twenty groups of people in a day.

Christmas lost any meaning for me years ago. It’s almost lonely actually. This year, I literally spent almost the entire day sitting on my bed and reading Harry Potter. So, whilst everyone else was celebrating Christmas, I was simply having a Monday off. I’m hoping that by the time I get back to work tomorrow, they will have ceased the awful carols over the speakers, and that chocolate will be half price at the supermarket. The best part of Christmas is when it’s over.

This time of year does have a tendency to make me get reflective, however. Not nostalgic (it’s not really my thing), but seeing everyone else with their big Christmas gatherings and exchanging of gifts and seasons greetings will always inevitably make me think of a younger Amy, and the wonder that she used to have as a child.

To be honest, these days I can’t recall what age, or at what point, I started to hate Christmas. I certainly remember being a child and being too excited to sleep because Santa was coming. But somewhere in my (early) teenage years, it turned into something else. I’m still a kid in a lot of ways, but I think in certain aspects, I grew up incredibly quickly, and whatever magic there used to be in Christmas dissipated years ago. 

I know, it’s not the Christmas tale you expect (or want) to hear. But if you look, you will see that there are more people that dislike Christmas than you might think. Perhaps there are those not as vocal about their hatred as me, but for some of us, there is nothing joyous about December 25th. And that’s ok, and we’re ok, and if you love Christmas then I’m glad for you, and I do hope it’s full of the love and joy and laughter that most people enjoy. 

On Social Anxiety, Gift Giving, and Unintentionally Being a Bitch

It’s Christmas tomorrow. The time of love and joy and family and…whatever. It is also a time for gift giving. Now, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that Christmas is not my favourite time of year. I am the Grinchy Scrooge of Bah Humbugville, and I spend most of December waiting for the 26th, when I have a whole year of freedom before I have to do it all over again. But one of the main things that I don’t love about Christmas is the gift giving.

I can almost hear the collective sounds of eyebrow raising (supersonic hearing, yo) but hear me out. Most people enjoy receiving gifts, whether expected or not. But the thing that I hate about it is having to open them in front of everyone. And my unwillingness to do so makes me seem ungrateful, and rude. The thing is, I do appreciate the gifts at Christmas. But the thought of having to open them publicly literally makes my heart race. I get uncomfortable. I get awkward. I get ridiculously anxious.

Today, I had that experience. My boss came out to work today to give Christmas gifts to me, and Sarah (my workmate). It was incredibly thoughtful, and I was incredibly thankful. But could I express that? Uh, no. I thanked him and then set the box down on the counter to be opened later. Which would have seemed like I couldn’t care less that he had gone to the trouble of going into a shop, and choosing a gift for me, and then coming out to deliver it. Normal people are happy to open gifts in front of the giver. Not me. Despite his insistence that I open it, I just couldn’t do it. My heart started to race, my hands started to shake. And all I could do was try and brush it off. Which I did, effectively. (and then I refused him a high five, because it’s usually my knee jerk reaction when he holds his hand out for one. Even though for once, I didn’t mean to! Ooops.) Anyway, I think I offended him. So yup, I’m a total jerk. Thanks, anxious brain.

Of course, once he had left and I wasn’t being watched, I did open the gift, and it was a sweet, dainty little silver bracelet. I was actually really impressed at how Amy appropriate it was! And I promptly sent him a message to thank him. See, in addition to being plagued by social anxiety, I also have this issue with being affectionate. Which is to say, I’m really not very good at it. I don’t really hug, and when I want to be nice, it often comes out as an insult or something. It’s like, in my head I want to say to people ‘hey buddy, you’re a rad dude and I like your face’ and what comes out is ‘you’re a fucking dickhead’. It’s a problem…I should probably work on that, so I don’t develop Heinous Bitch Syndrome (it’s a legitimate thing, I’m sure of it). Over text message or in writing, I can be nice as pie. Because there’s a kind of detachment there I guess, in the sense that I don’t have to do it face to face. It’s not that I mean it any less, but I just feel more comfortable when I don’t have to be a human in person. There is an actual possibility that I am part robot. I’ll make a note to ask my parents.

So, if any of y’all know me, or will perhaps one day meet me; if I seem like a cold, heartless banshee woman, that’s why. I’m not a cow, I’m just awkward.

Paint Me Green and Call Me Grinch.

Christmas is three days away. But unlike most people, December 25th and the month leading up to it fills me with bitterness and loathing, rather than excitement and joy. I see people posting on social networking sites about Christmas and it makes me want to hit them even more than I do at normal times during the year. It’s as if Dickens’ Scrooge character has been personified in me, and the saccharine sweetness of Christmas makes me feel vaguely ill and more than a little irritable. Not because I begrudge others their Christmas joy, but rather it bring me no happiness and thus, I don’t want to have to hear about it. Christmas for me has long since stopped being something to get excited about and in fact, we haven’t even had a tree up in the last two years.

When I was a child, I used to love Christmas. I would find it difficult to get to sleep Christmas Eve because I was so extraordinarily excited about the prospect of a visit from Santa and I would always endeavour to stay up late so I could catch a glimpse of the jolly fat man. Unfortunately for young Amy, I actually slept well then and would inevitably fall asleep. Of course, my disappointment at having not seen Santa would vanish the instant I woke up on Christmas day and saw the sack of presents that had been miraculously delivered overnight. In a way, my disenchantment with Christmas began when I got old enough to realise that Santa doesn’t exist.

Even still, for a few years after coming to that realisation, Christmas was still a wonderful time of year for me. We always hosted a Christmas Eve party at our house and every year friends and family would converge at home for drinks and food and conversation and all that other fun stuff that occurs when large groups of people get together. We still do that, though the crowds are considerably smaller these days. Christmas itself would consist of visiting all the extended family, which was often exhausting but always pleasant. In the last few years however, things have been different. I don’t believe I’ve attended the extended gatherings – those involving the cousins and great aunties and uncles and the like – in perhaps two or three years. It’s not that I dislike my relatives but I am socially awkward and have grown increasingly anxious about large gatherings of people as I’ve gotten older and, despite having known these people my entire life, I tend to find conversation, while not unpleasant, at least a tad difficult.

For me, Christmas is associated with great feelings of trepidation and resentment. While everyone else is happily preparing for a great big day, I’m just waiting for it to be over. The people that I loathe at the best of times come out en masse and rush around in heightened states of rudeness in an attempt to complete their Christmas shopping on time. A good portion of those presents are returned anyway and thus, working in retail becomes increasingly hectic and frustrating around Christmas. In amongst all that, I have to do my own shopping (though I manage to be less rude than most people I encounter) and don’t even get me started on the damned carols.

I think it is safe to say that Christmas and I are like two great friends who had a falling out and now no longer speak unless they happen to be at the same social function and have to make strained and falsely polite conversation, while silently thinking up creative ways to kill each other. And hoping the other gets exceptionally fat. With that, I think I have said all I can about my least favourite time of year and thus, I am going to go and hibernate until the dreaded day is over and it’s time to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales.

Happy tidings.