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Feb. 14th, 2011

Commercial holidays have always made me feel uneasy. The biggest one, being Christmas, made me feel anxious because I am not even supposed to partake in it because I am not Christian. I have spent year after year hearing about people's plans and traditions and gifts. I get to celebrate Hannukah, but there is something missing. Perhaps what is missing is what is brought to the table by the relationships between people. I don't recall feeling a sense of closeness at any of the Hannukah gatherings. For a couple of hours on one of the nights, we each get a gift and gift a gift to the different groups. My and and uncle would get one gift from me, one from them to me. One gift from my grandparents, one from me to them... and so on. On a good Hannukah, I would get 4 decent presents and spend a good 2 hours with my family. Over the past 10 years, the tradition has stopped. My grandparents light the menorah but there is no gathering. I get a check now which I am definitely not shrugging at. The holiday cheer has not ever blessed my life the way it seems to for others.

Once upon a time, my dad's mother took me to a Catholic service for Christmas and I felt a little spark inside me. I felt a sense of universal connection. It was as if my spirit were joining millions of others in hope, peace, and good wishes for mankind. People should always care about peace and good will towards man but sometimes, it slips the mind. Since people are justly and innately selfish, most of us simply do what we have to do to live a semi-decent life. Fortunately, most people can attain an acceptable lifestyle without harming too many others. When it comes to holiday spirit, people have a chance to reflect on the actions they have made and the intended and unintended consequences of those actions.

When it comes to the commercial aspect of the holidays, it is the magnifying glass on the emotions of being left out of the spiritual part of the holiday. Treating December 25th like it's just a day one cannot going shopping on is how I grew up. On good December 25th's, my immediate family would go eat at a Hunan restaurant with other people who have unconventional commercial holiday practices.

Retail businesses do not make a whole lot of money from myself or my immediate family. I don't typically travel over the holidays, I wait until after January 1st to do shopping for myself, and I don't buy too many gifts for other people. December 5th is my birthday so usually I make my Christmas list based on who gave me birthday gifts. I am not necessarily cheap, I just don't want to make people uncomfortable by gifting them and them not having put me on their gifting list. I just feel like the whole concept of it is a lot of pressure. I love to surprise people with thoughtful gifts but I usually pick a random days. The surprise seems more meaningful to me if it is 'just because.'

The holiday season is over. I have a little more than a half hour left of Valentine's Day. I haven't celebrated a lot of Valentine's Days. I used to really wish that I would get flowers and candy and presents from a hot boyfriend who just did all these things without anything in return. I blame Seventeen magazine and the fiction series Sweet Valley High. Moreso than Valentines Day, in high school, a girl had better have a huge, shiny, loud, expensive, long mum for Homecoming. I can remember being obviously single on the commercial holidays of Homecoming and Valentine's Day. Now that I am an adult, getting away without celebrating Valentine's Day is easier.

I do not have anything against the concept of Valentine's Day. What I do not enjoy is the pressure put on a couple to exchange gifts. Men have pressure to send a card or flowers or give gifts. Women only really want these things to blend into all the other women. Someone will always have a bigger bouquet or engagement rings or wedding, but traditions feel good to follow sometimes so that a person doesn't have to stick out. I don't really care about how I spent Valentine's Day because there is no one looking over my shoulder competing with me. I have no one to compare myself to, so there is no feeling of emptiness. I had the idea to go eat Japanese food with my brother. Even though I know that it is a night that a lot of people eat out, I wanted to have a new tradition. On commercial holidays I don't have much attachment to, I will take my brother out to eat. I think he and I both agreed on this without making any verbal statements. No more ruined holidays... now I have my own tradition of eating Japanese food with my brother. If he can't make it, oh well. It's just my bother so I don't have the tendency to read into his actions. I have come up with a way to not feel bad because I don't have a traditional plan to celebrate.

Over the coming months, I will be changing a lot of things that I am used to. I don't fear change. I know that with changes are opportunities for different outcomes. How I celebrate my commercial holidays in the future depends somewhat on the next few months. When I am undergoing state mandated treatment, I will journal every day the whole time. I want to have an ethnography of my experience. When it comes to psychiatric care, I already have a doctor. When it comes to drug addiction, I have already quit on my own. I feel like saying 'too little too late.' I know how to get help and help myself. I am not going to fight the flow. I will take note and observe. I want to have a career in psychology, more and more. I can at least say I have been through the things other people have to go through. Changes are coming but I can take it in a bit at a time. I don't think my life will even resemble itself come July.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
darealmillah
Feb. 17th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Wow, I really did have something deep to say about my agreeing with your view of commercial holidays, but I just don't know how to follow up that previous comment...
(Anonymous)
Feb. 17th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
oxy hydrogen generator
Would it be possible to PM me and tell me few more thinks about this. I am really a fan of you.
alienesse
Feb. 18th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC)
Re: oxy hydrogen generator
You are anonymous.
alienesse
Feb. 18th, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
Re: oxy hydrogen generator
darealmillah
Feb. 18th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
Re: oxy hydrogen generator
I think the oxy hydrogen generator might be codename for a secret doomsday device!
alienesse
Feb. 24th, 2011 07:10 am (UTC)
Re: oxy hydrogen generator
It would be suitable this device would attempt to communicate with me. lols
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )