Monday, December 21, 2009

This Time

Happy Monday-that-is-the-last-Monday-before-Christmas!

What a week.

Today I'll finish my last proofread of the big scary paper I've been writing lately that has now reached over 40 pages (and it should be under 30 but let's not discuss it and let's also hope my professor doesn't notice because GEEZ I can't take anything out and still have the rest make sense). I'll write my cards and send them out (if you're reading this and are expecting a card from me, it's coming. It'll get there after Christmas I'm sure. My bad). I'll mail off a couple of packages with gifts and such, I'll pick up one more gift for a very difficult person to shop for, and I'll be officially DONE.

That'll feel some kinda nice, lemme tell you.

So this is Christmas week. When I was little we didn't do Christmas or birthdays - it was against the religion of the time, you see. To me, because of the financial difficulty my family was entrenched in during most of my life, that meant no presents. About ever.

I remember playing with a piece of a Barbie I'd found buried in the yard. I'm not kidding. It was a leg and I was intrigued with the way the knee would slightly bend in two clicks, and I fantasized about what it would be like to have an entire actual Barbie of my own to play with.

That may seem a little heavy to y'all, but it's the case. I don't often talk about those types of things on my blog because I want it to be a place where you can come to get a couple of happy-life tips and leave refreshed. That means that, usually, I don't talk about real issues (real = painful). But I'm discovering, as a part of my own ever-expanding learning and development, that sometimes, those things that may be just a bit uncomfortable to talk about are the ones that provide the absolute best lessons and areas for growth and ever-expanding good things both within and without. So, when appropriate, I'll talk about them.

But back to Christmas, and presents.

So I didn't have many toys when I was little. We read instead. Once a week we'd spend the entire afternoon and evening in the library. And we'd take some books home, but we had a decent supply there already. What I did have was books.

But that's off subject. Back to presents. The words said about no Christmas and birthdays were that, regarding presents, this meant that there weren't inauthentic times where you HAD to give presents. Rather, you could give presents whenever you wanted. You weren't ever obligated like you are with holidays, so it would mean more. But, for my situation, combine that with a poor household and you have a childhood with no presents at all. I don't remember ever having the experience of tearing through wrapping paper until I was at least a teenager.

Last night we watched old videos of T's family during holidays - him and his sister going through piles of gifts at a time, giving the obligatory "wow!"s and hugs and thank you's, and I thought as I heard the oohs and ahs of the adults around echo from the old VHS tape what an experience that must have been - to get bunches of things, all for you, because you were loved, a couple of times a year. On the Christmas tape there was also a birthday party for some newly one-year-old cousin. I saw her little smile beam as at least 20 adults sang her "happy birthday" praises, and I thought about what that must do to the brain and spirit, to have that many people around just becasue they love you, and to have them sing to you, and look at you, and smile at you, all at once. What must it do to a one-year-old to be the loved center of the universe for a day. What a blessing for that child!

Nowadays Christmas is lost in the rush and bustle and doing of stuff, not to mention the buying of it and the giving of it. I don't think there's a thing wrong with that. Christmas is about, for me, bringing joy to others because now, more than at any other time, it's accepted to show your love and appreciation for those in your life that you always love and appreciate (but saying it all the time would be awkward).

So just remember what you're doing. And feel it.

And enjoy the week :)


Karls said...

Amazing story! No doubt your childhood shaped the person you are today (happy, wonderful, intelligent and beautiful). That is a present in itself... In fact, quite possibly the best present you could ever receive!

Isidra said...

Not having what most everyone else had gave you a unique perspective I never considered before. I remember my first born son's first birthday party when everyone connected to me and beyond came together and we started singing happy birthday to him, he fell in the middle of the floor and started crying. You can't ask a one-year old to explain but I always wished I knew what prompted that. Wish I had a video of that!

Anna Fisher said...

Thank you, Charis for your heartfelt testimonial as a huge fan of Isidra's I had to read your blog today! Yes, life is what you make it, and giving every day is more vital than just once or twice. Yes, it is a blessing to have many sing happy birthday and make a big deal especially in a cold world where few care or smile. It IS important to celebrate life and our existence but what extent. Honestly, Barbie is a terrible role model so feel blessed you weren't poisoned by that unrealistic image that pushes young ladies to the grave trying to emulate. Books are richer than anything and that's what I always got plus a nightgown or something that was needed. All the best to you on your paper. Please start writing your life story, you are an astoundingly captivating writer and your message is humbling.
May 2010 be the most prosperous yet. Haven't celebrated at home for the past two year, gave calendars and my new CD to all prior to the holiday and sent baked goods to my family members. Each has their reasons, my ex husband grew up the poorest in the US Virgin Islands and didn't like the natural island tree as it was only for poor people and an artificial tree was a sign of status. We all carry so many expectations around regarding the are SO right, the season is about giving and be it ever so humble, your words give a greater gifts than anything in my stocking this year! Bless you always and hope you get an A!!! If not, never fear, got a D once on an illustration in my art class and didn't make the HS Musical Orchestra...won a free trip abroad when the music group I performed with used it as their program cover design and am both Grammy Nominated and have an album on the #1 Jazz Station in America. Stranger things have happened but it is light on the value of 'opinions of professors and teachers'. Yes, like fingerprints, everyone has one and each is different! Thanks to you and Isidra for sharing this uplifting message today!
One love, Anna