Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas

nice cartoonDespite all of the stuff I said earlier about not feeling “Christmas-y,” I woke up this morning feeling cheerful.

My mom had been giving me the cold shoulder. I could tell that she was mad at me because I didn’t seem to want anything to do with Christmas. That’s not entirely untrue. But yesterday, I dragged my brother to the mall to get some last minute presents for our parents. After we came back, I could feel that the tension between my mom and me was gone…


Digression: After I drove back home from the mall, my brother and I hastened to hide the presents in my old room. He said he didn’t know how to wrap presents and went to his room. I thought about my big sister. How many times my brother and I left the heavy stuff to her, thinking that she’d take care of it. Oh, she’ll handle it. I thought about how different this Christmas would have been if she were here. My sister, no doubt, would have gotten mom’s and dad’s presents two weeks ago. Everything wrapped and ready underneath the tree. Mom would have had no reason to be angry with me because my sister would have motivated me to action through guilt, or bribery, or her plain and simple charm. Everything would have been different if she were here and everything is different because she is not. There’s no big sister but me under this roof to “take care of it.” I really ought to try harder. More on this some other time.


…And I felt better. Went to sleep feeling better and woke up that way, too.

Today, I am determined to be anybody but Scrooge. Tomorrow, I may assume my usual sourpuss.

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The Greatest Critic

fine cartoonLet’s cut to the chase, shall we?

Christmas is two days away, and I know I should be overjoyed. Decking the halls on this another holly jolly Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. But I don’t feel it. My family had a late start decorating the house, and I didn’t help with anything. I have not touched the tree. I have not touched any decorations. Why? Just after I woke up this morning, I heard my mom deduce it nicely: I am a “pitiful, sad [child]. No interest in nothing.”

And I have to wonder– I keep wondering– is this me? Is this what I am? I would be easy if I had something to blame. Depression. Anxiety. Shyness. Some personality disorder. But what if none of anything else is a factor? What if the way I behave is only proof of me?

That leads me to share something with you that I’ve shown to no one because it’s really personal. It’s called “The Greatest Critic.”

I know what you are.

A failure.

A bum.

Attention-seeking scum.

Because you seek a friend

But could never really be one

If you ever really got one.

I know what you are.

A poser.

A liar

Who’ll end up in Hell fire.

Because you seek a happy ending in religion

But you never understood it

And you never could.

And no one was expecting that you would.

I know what you are.

A wallflower.

A wannabe.

A nobody.

Because the shell you were born in

Would never let you free.

But who else would you be

If it did?

I know what you are.

A shortie.

A cutie.

But not really a beauty.

Because trash is still trash

Though it might wear a pretty bow

As if its ugliness won’t be the thing that shows.

I know what you are.

A child.

An idiot.

Never hot. Never cold.

Always timid and tepid.

You are so afraid of appearing as you really are.

And not a soul has called you out on it thus far.

But I know what you are.

Merry Christmas.

Inside

On Monday, I couldn’t get into my house.

My parents were at the hospital because my dad had an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure. So my neighbor picked my brother and me up from school. When we got home, we tried the doors of the cars in the driveway, hoping that if one was open, it would have the garage opener inside. Well, all the doors were locked, and the neighbor who picked us up from school offered to let us stay at her house. We went in through the garage, and she asked us to make ourselves at home. I pulled out my laptop to watch Netflix and my brother asked for the WiFi code. Our neighbor asked us what we wanted to eat. We asked each other with our eyes who would be the person to respond. I wanted to wait until my mom came back from the hospital, but I knew that would probably take hours. My brother timidly said Chick-fil-A, and I wished he had chosen something more inexpensive, but my neighbor was okay with it. We drove there. Came back. As I passed my house, saw all the light inside, I felt a pang. I remembered exactly where I put the key to the front door. In my room on the dresser. I walked into my neighbor’s house and watched Sense and Sensibility for the third time as I ate.

When I was done, my neighbor went with me across the street to see if my other neighbor had a key to my house. This is the house of my preschool teacher. I rang the doorbell three times and waited. It was really cold outside. I shivered beneath my thin jacket. No one came to the door. A car pulled up in the driveway. It was my ex-teacher’s husband. I asked him through his car window if he had a key to my house. He mentioned that his wife doesn’t respond to the doorbell anymore, because everyone who needed to get to her could call her first. He opened his garage and went inside to check for my key. I wondered why he didn’t offer to let my neighbor and me wait inside his house where it wasn’t so cold. When he finally did offer, I declined and looked around the garage. After maybe three minutes, he came back with a key. I tried it in the lock of the door to my house. It didn’t fit.

He said he would come back if he found another key. I went to my neighbor’s house, took off my jacket, and woke up my computer before the doorbell rang. He found another key. I hurried to try it in the lock. It fit. He told me that he would wait at the house while I got my brother and my stuff. He told me to move quickly because he had other things to attend to. I did move quickly. Got my brother and my stuff. Said many, many thank-you‘s. I stepped into the house, welcomed by its heat and light. It felt good to be inside again.

Long Day

promise-change-cartoonOkay, okay. I know today isn’t Friday. I’m only one week in and I’m already breaking promises. But I have a good excuse: yesterday was a long day. I jumped out of my sleep at 4 a.m., angry at myself for falling asleep when I should have been finishing my senior paper and studying for a Psychology exam. I added as much as I could to the paper in an hour and 45 minutes, but I couldn’t rack my brain for words any longer; it was time to get ready for school. I left my house at 6:28, I think, which is 13 minutes later than I was supposed to leave.

I got to school, went to AP Chemistry class. I already had it in my head to ask the teacher if I could use class time to finish my paper, but my classmate who also did not finish had gotten the okay before I arrived. So we, accompanied by two other classmates, worked on our papers until 8:30 (school starts at 8). We still hadn’t finished and I was panicking a little. We were technically late for class, so we got a pass from the Chemistry teacher and went. Our papers were due, but we still worked on them. When 9 rolled around, we hadn’t finished, but it was time for chapel, so we packed up our things and went. Well, to make a long story short, I spent my lunch period in the library and finally finished my paper. After lunch, I took a Calculus test. After that was AP Chemistry class, in which I was curiously (unusually) engrossed. After that was the online Psychology exam. By the time I finished, it was 4. School had been over for 30 minutes. I got a 90 on the exam although I had expected to get higher than that. My friend and I then worked on a Chemistry lab until our teacher had to leave at 5:15. I had told my parents to pick me up at 5:30, so I figured I’d go to the vending machine for 15 minutes.  It turns out that there was a basketball game going on.

After I bought my jalapeno chips, I watched the boys’ game. I don’t really pay that much attention to sports, so I was surprised to see how excited I was about the game. I was trying to imagine what was going on in the players’ heads and was thinking “This is what talent looks like.” The boys from my school won, and it was time for the girls’ game. My excitement faded as the game started, even though most of the players were my classmates. It could have been the fact that, by that time, I had been at school for exactly 12 hours. It could have been the knowledge that the longer I stayed at school, the more my weekend disappeared. Before I knew it, it would be Monday! Time to go back! I was itching to get out of there, and I did at 6:46. By the time I got home, I was too tired to do anything but watch Buffy kick some vampire butt. Too tired to update the blog.

So there’s my excuse. Do you forgive me?