Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Feelings

In the past couple years I've finally been able to identify and contextualize my feelings. I call it a sort of emotional puberty because emotions that other people have learned to understand and cope with, I'm still a little shaky at. 

I saw someone's tweet thread a few days ago about how people are rage porn-y to avoid dealing with like sadness, grief, loss, pain, fear, uncertainty. I didn't even re-tweet it because "duh." 

This morning I really felt the truth of it. My family is musical and I have over a dozen nephews and nieces who also have various musical talents. My sister suggested we do a family music album for my mother for Christmas. All my nieces and nephews did a song that my brother lovingly collected, spliced, and mixed for the past month. I even for the first time in over a decade downloaded some recording software, set up a mixer, bought an xlr to usb cord and did hours of recording for just 6 minutes of album time. The family had been hyped about this for a couple months and the plan, at least as I heard it from others, was to watch her open and listen via zoom, which would also be our family Christmas zoom time. One sibling had done nothing for the album but burn the cd, but was also the first one there at my parents' house Christmas morning and had my mother open it and listen to it without us in true Leroy Jenkins fashion. I woke up to seeing posts in the family chat, etc. about how much she liked it, but I didn't want to see posts, I wanted to experience it with her. 

My feelings were at first surprise, then confusion, then anger, which I didn't want to be the dominant feeling of my Christmas. On the one hand if I had anger and disappointment then I wanted to feel it and not sweep it away into the land of resentment, but I didn't understand why I was as angry as I was. I texted my brother and told him that I was 3/10 sad about him not waiting for us. He said he was sorry and he hadn't understood that was the plan. I had in my mind a bunch of rejoinders, like he would have known that was the plan if he had bothered to participate and read the family group messages and/or use a little common sense (what person gives a gift to a person that they themselves didn't buy or make?). I did explain to him directly that people who contributed had wanted and expected a listen party. But as I was typing more to him I realized that probably no one said that explicitly to him because he was out of the loop about most of it. And we have a little rule in my family that people cannot be held accountable for others' unexpressed expectations. So I found myself apologizing to him for getting upset about an unmet expectation I had, but had never expressed, and said that it was unfair to him that I left that expectation unclear but was still upset with him about it. And after I sent the text, I found that my anger had been released and I cried just a little bit with a sense of loss for what I had been anticipating most about Christmas this year. And it didn't feel good, but it felt much better than relying on the anger to shield me from those feelings of sadness. 

See also below "trying to avoid big [feelings] by focusing on small ones you're more comfortable with."


  1. Merry Christmas, a lot of mixed feelings for me this year. Hopefully 2021 has better things in store for us that what 2020 did

  2. Well done, ME, and thanks for sharing this.

    That was a genuinely beautiful gift your family arranged and you deserved to share it with her all together.

  3. yes, well done ME, inspirational. I haven't been here for a while, but seems you're really getting a grip on that shit and almost sound like you're quite enjoying it too.

    Personally webmsr, I think 2020 was one of the best years I can ever remember.
    I'm not the most sociable of guys and have not had to create an excuse to avoid people for months now, my work comes under essentials, so I have immersed myself in my job and made big leaps up the ladder. It's been a great year, even ME got mixing it up big stylee again.

    Hey North

    1. Hey Swop. Congrats on your successful year.

    2. Social distancing is one thing that I can get behind... No need to be that close to me anyway. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Also have some personal/family matters that have caused great confusion and sadness and been beyond my ability to improve. God grant me serenity.... I have faith that everything will be just as it should be.

  4. Beautifully crystallized and expressed.

  5. Deflecting emotions into more aggressive reactions is common experience I have observed. Facing the more difficult ones does take time and awareness of your own feeling. You are handling the increasing intensity of your own emotions well. To make use of an overused phrase. It's a journey.

  6. Anger is a great catchall and release valve.

  7. Anger is a great catchall and release valve.

  8. Never been a big fan of christmas. Maybe it's growing up JW and learning all of the BS behind the various stories at a way too young age. Maybe it's the cheesy music, crappy food, or just the fact that you actually have to be there and use money you don't have to buy presents nobody likes.

    That said, I'm happy you had a good one. I like it when people are able to gain joy from traditional things that I just don't get.


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