I had my man open tonight all his presents that I’d put under the tree. I don’t give Christmas presents, but I determined to have some fun for him this year, to let him be like a little kid and to shower him with gifts. Almost everything was either gained second-hand or from free gift cards, so the total cost was around $50, yet there were loads of presents for him to unwrap. He had said he liked opening packages, so I made sure he got to do just that tonight.
I also surprised him with my ticket to come visit with him in Mexico. (Granted, that one was several hundred dollars, but I’m also visiting my step-sister in Monterrey with the tickets, so it will be two trips for the usual price of the one, plus $40… not at all a bad deal, especially since I get to spend New Year’s with him, visit the town he loves, and see my step-sister and her family.)
He got me nervous by asking if I’d ‘approved this with anybody’. But, afterward, he said it was totally fine. His mom would be surprised, as he’d just told her two days ago that I wasn’t coming. But that everything would be okay. I’m still in a little bit of that space of unease, probably because it gave me the feeling of being in trouble, but I’m just going to let it be and see what happens. Hopefully, the concern will clear up on its own just by my allowing it to express itself.
I really hope he enjoyed everything I did for him tonight. And I’m really excited to set up the Play Station 3 that my mom gave us from her house (used to be my brother’s, but he didn’t need or really want it). We likely won’t get to play together until mid-January, after he’s back, but that’s okay. I’m excited about it, nonetheless.
Dear God, please, help us to rest well tonight. Keep us both safe in our travels. Help us to pursue and to fulfill your will by being our best selves. Thank you for everything. And please, heal my uncle – help him to join you fully. In your name, I pray. Amen.
It was successful, by the way, the gift. When I presented it to him, he didn’t fully understand. It just looked like an odd, artsy, plant-y presentation of a rose-shaped folded piece of fabric. After the distractions of other sudden comments and conversations from passers-by departed, he finally continued opening up the rose-folded fabric… One guy commented enthusiastically, “It’s a scarf!” at which point I realized that no one had any idea what it actually was yet, and he needed to unfold it all the way. Finally, he got there, and he discovered that it was a Hawaiian shirt! And it was a very nice and pretty and purple Hawaiian shirt. He was delighted, huge smile and hug and everything. He showed it almost immediately to his friends, and they went wild, cheering. As I had said, he’d needed a Hawaiian shirt. 😛 Even though he enjoyed it greatly, he commented at one point that he thought his friends might be even more excited about it than he was – a major compliment on the present. I was thrilled and grateful that it had played out so well. My mom had done the folding and presentation setup of the shirt, cutting palm fronds and leafy, green things, and picking up moss clumps to put it all together in a beautiful presentation, like a fancy flower on display in a box. (Naturally, I never got a photo of it in good lighting, because I was so excited about gifting it…, but it is what it is, so here is the poorly lit photo I have of the “flower”.)
Separately, my mom and I went to an Islamic Art Festival today. It was filled with luminous, beautiful, heart-filled art. So much heart and light and love all around that room today. I am grateful to have been able just to be present with it all. I am further grateful for the fact that just a tiny bit of it came home with me this evening, thanks to my mom.
However, there was one piece that caught my eye early on in the day: a medium-large, mostly white painting. (I know, a white canvas sounds impressive, but it absolutely was…) It had some gold foiling on it, but looked like an otherwise white , slightly textured painting (almost oil-like with the depth and textures), with script shaped to look a bit like a whirling dervish, a Sufi. I wanted to know what it said. But mostly so that I could be clear that it had been calling to me in particular…, because it felt for the first time in my life that I wanted to – **snoot-snoot** – ‘purchase an art piece for our personal home collection’. I know it may seem to be odd wording there, but that was what it was. Like the Sophie Kinsella book “Remember Me?”, how they collected art for their fancy “loft-style living” penthouse, I wanted to start my own real collection of art today. (**Note: In the book, she had gone from having missed a bonus by a one-week hire date at her new, low-paying job to, after a car accident and resulting amnesia, being five years older, married, in a high-paying leadership job at the company, driving a Mercedes, and living in an extremely posh penthouse in London along the Thames. So, the lifestyle was absolutely foreign to her, and their art collection had particularly blown her mind simply as a concept, let alone what the art pieces were and how much they had cost [loads and loads, obviously]. Her commentary upon discovering everything in her ‘new’ wealthy life and lifestyle was comical and relatable, and her story was quite inspiring in terms of pursuing lofty dreams in life… like having a posh art collection in ‘loft-style living’. Hashtag real-life goals, right?… Anyway, moving on…)
When we returned later to speak with the artist – she hadn’t yet arrived to the festival for the day when we first were there -, I began crying during her explanation of the words on the piece and why she had done what she had for it. I couldn’t explain myself except that I was overwhelmed, literally overflowing with water. And I couldn’t seem to stop for a while. The words she was sharing through that piece were exactly what have been my guiding light lately in life, it was no wonder I was so drawn to the piece. I hadn’t even noticed initially that they were words, the energy of it was so loud and so truly in line with where I am presently moving in life.
She could tell it was positive crying, I believe. The piece itself she had set for $500, with all of the proceeds going to a charity she likes and supports. The latter part was impressive in and of itself (including what the wonderful charity does), making me want to support the artist all the more (and, of course, making me cry a bit more in gratitude for the wonderful, heart-filled good that people are still pursuing and doing in this beautiful life). The former set the piece where I believed it belonged, in a ‘true art piece’ category. She went on to tell me that she would be more than happy to work with us… on other offers of price, or, even, on a print of the piece – she’d gladly work with us on any of the options, as she wants the piece to go somewhere where it will be loved and appreciated and wanted.
So, we have all of her information, and I will be discerning over the next several hours and couple days, and I will reach out to her to let her know where I stand with everything, likely tomorrow or Tuesday. My mom said to me that this was a perfect example of where she would love to be in a life where such a purchase could be an easy, “Yes,” and a, “And here’s another $500 to go with it.” But we don’t live that kind of life. Not right now, anyway. And that is perfect for right now. Regarding what to do about the piece, I would love to have it in my home for the rest of my life. And that is a lot of money for me at present. Sure, I may have money in the bank, but, until I have reliable higher income, that money is there to keep me functioning (safely and reliably and without mental stress) in life with food and housing and transportation, etc.
I want to honor the piece for what it is. And I must honor my current financial state, and trust that God will guide me appropriately forward.
When I saw the piece, when it reached out and called me initially, my experience, though I hadn’t had the words at the time, was one of slight paralysis as the idea settled within me that, ‘I want to see that every day of my life.’ I believe fully that we are exactly where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there. And we are given exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. This piece and this wonderful artist and woman showed up today on purpose – we all fulfilled needs all around. This discernment is here for me necessarily, and right now. God, please guide me clearly forward with this art piece. I trust in you wholly. Amen.
I am still not clear of the depression, but I am significantly improved today. I got things done, and I enjoyed doing them. They went all wonky with order and finish times. And that was okay – I rolled with it with much ease and only a little strain. I know my body is dealing with a lot, and that’s okay. I haven’t been helping it with my food situation the past two-three weeks. (That’s been a bit of a bad positive feedback circle itself… and with sleep, too.) I have been improving on the sleep and the life-attitude parts especially, and am working on setting things up to improve even more, day by day. I started menstruating this afternoon, and that is a sign that my body will chill out a bit – read “loads” – in the next 12-24 hours, and I’ll not have to be physically aching to reproduce, constantly bombarded by daydreams of fit, wealthy, gorgeous men (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing to have on one’s mind, but it’d be nice not to have it shoved upon me at all times of day and night.) anymore. I am grateful for that. I always feel so crazy when my body does its last-ditch effort to reproduce… sigh
I am nervous about tomorrow. I am nervous about being seen as bad or wrong or evil. I am worried about being rejected in my human love and care. I am worried about being misunderstood. I am worried about being unacknowledged, unnoticed, ignored. I am worried about feeling like I am in trouble…. sigh….
Now, if I let all that go, now that it is acknowledged, I am delighted and excited about tomorrow! I can hardly wait to give my next gift to someone. I gave my Secret Santa gift tonight, and the person was delighted. We have a whole group text thing for all of our employees. We have a group just for the Secret Santa, too. But my person shared a photo and an adorable message in the group with everyone tonight:
YALL!!! LOOK WHAT MY SECRET SANTA DONE DID FOR MEEEE!!!!!
THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!!!!!!!😊😊😊❤❤❤
Suffice it to say that, though I was bummed I hadn’t done a better job, it was still very well done and very well set up. And as a $10-limit Secret Santa gift, it was quite impressive. I don’t know if she knew I had given it to her – though my name was clever put on the calligraphy pages, as I have an actual calligraphy name stamp (but it is in Japanese, and stylized, AND the katakana of Hannah look like 80 in Japanese kanji…, so there’s a big chance she can’t and won’t read it) -, but I am excited at and satisfied with her excitement in the present.
Tomorrow, however, I have my fingers majorly crossed for the gift I am giving someone I care about and love dearly. You see, he kind of needs a Hawaiian shirt. Yes, need is loosely used, but somewhat applicable nonetheless. He also loves purple. Many purples don’t look great with his skin tone and eyes and hair – my mom and i have discussed this, of course. Hawaiian shirts don’t exactly come in purples that often either. So, it was a struggle not only to find a purples shirt, but to find a pretty, acceptable pattern and shade of purple, as well as a non-polyester-piece-of-junk shirt. The idea was to give him “flowers” for a performance he has. Those “flowers”, of course, would be the hibiscus flowers on the Hawaiian shirt. However, with all the purple nonsense – not that purples is nonsense, but the searching was silly -, the shirt we found is actually just mountains and clouds and palm trees… so, no flowers. Now, I am at the point of determining whether to include actual flowers now, and just wrap them in the shirt somehow, or to do something else comparable… I even considered getting white flowers, setting them in purple water, and letting them dye purple, and giving them with the shirt. But the whole point of the shirt was that it was roughly the same price as flowers would have been, so it really was instead of flowers…. So, i don’t know right now. I think I’ll go to bed and let myself be rested tomorrow morning to figure it all out.
I ordered several items of clothing for work last week. For whatever reason, they were all being shipped separately to my mom’s house. I was excited about them all, but bummed at all the packaging (mostly since they were coming from the same company), but figured it was due to the items being at different origins, and so was inevitable (not simply irresponsible).
Nonetheless, I found it funny that so many packages would be arriving to my mom’s house in sun quick succession. “It’ll be like Christmas!” I declared, laughing at the idea that I wouldn’t know what was what in all the packages, but that each one would be a delightful surprise (since I had selected each one intentionally for myself, but had ordered so many things that I could pretend to forget about what most of them were), as well as the fact that I would get to open them all at my mom’s house.
I shared this thought with my mom, and added that it’ll be just like Christmas when I was a kid, because I will open all my presents and start playing with them right then and there and have a merry time. She laughed and whatever-ed me, allowing my request to come over and ‘open presents’ the next week one day.
When I arrived today to ‘open my Christmas presents’ (from myself), my mom actually fussed at me for starting while she was still upstairs getting dressed. “I didn’t know you actually cared,” I said somewhat questioning.
“Yeah, I was gonna put on Christmas music while you opened everything.”
I was thrilled(!). She then put on a James Taylor Christmas album, I turned on the “fireplace”, and I showed her what I had already opened (just two things), before I preceded to open all the rest with us both in the living room together. And yes, I “played with my toys” (meaning I tried things on) there in the living room with her, and it was an extremely lovely time. I was super excited about my “presents”, and I loved sharing the experience and time with my mom. It really felt like a childhood Christmas for me. 🙂
$500 later, I expect next week will feel like childhood Christmas for me – lots of things ordered online last night and today, and all of them with a expectation of intense delight. I do not regret any of my purchases – not in the least. It is certainly more money than I typically spend… on anything. But I see great value in having all the items I purchased, they all bring me joy, and they handle my need to keep checking for things all the time (either online or in a store) anymore – I have them and it is all handled. I am both delighted at their future arrival, and relieved at having them all ordered and on the way. I am quite practical when it comes to things I buy and do not buy, so it is nice to be able to be so practical with all of this and have it handled already.
One odd part is that, likely due to the fact that they are all doing from different places, they are each being sent separately… so, not great in terms of packaging, but great in terms of t feeling even more like childhood Christmas! I won’t know what is in what. I have to wait almost a week for it all to arrive at my mom’s house, then go over there and have a present party. And I get to play with my new toys right when I open them, and forever afterward! Super excited. Happy Early Celebration to me. 😉
I talked with my brother today, after thinking about different things, and we both agreed that it was a beautiful and practically perfect in every way use of the money… and I’m terrified in a good way about it all, which shows how good of an idea it is.
So, yay! for that.
Also, did I mention that I’ve been wondering what I might do in my life, if I had someone to fund me in whatever I chose?
I’ve been thinking on that these past couple or few days, because I had this sudden realization that I actually quite likely could find someone to fund something I really wanted to do, and quite likely could make it into a monetary gain for myself with whatever it is, anyway, so it is well worth considering what I would do, if I had the someone to fund me…
It’s been tough to start out, because I’ve grown quite accustomed to cutting myself off on those absurd dreams that require money I really don’t have right now…, but I’m growing into the thinking style, and am liking it more and more – I’m excited to see what I come up with. 🙂
And, of course, terrified, because I know myself, and I know that even a simple idea in this case has a high chance of turning into actual actions. 😛
Kind of like the whole “Be careful what you wish for,” thing in a positive way, because I so totally might make it happen, and new adventures can be really scary – in a good way, but scary nonetheless.
I kind of gave up on Christmas presents over the past handful or so of years.
You see, Christmas is about the story of Jesus the Christ, not about giving a present to everyone we’re ‘supposed’ to like and be related to… and I feel wrong pulling a holiday so far away from its foundation.
Plus, this whole consumerism thing has really gone a bit out of whack in recent years, and it might just make me sick, if I were to think about how much waste is caused, first) in terms of physical items, and then, second) in terms of mental effort.
We work so hard to give gifts to people, and we usually fail at bringing them the joy we were hoping to share with them – we want them to feel our love, but why must our love be so shallow and know them so poorly that we gift them ‘crap’ they never really liked and now feel obligated to use?
So, my goal has been to find ways to share my love with the world instead… I’m not so sure I’ve done a great job of achieving that goal, but I’ve been working on it.
Plus, for gift-giving, I do that normally in life – when there is a gift I want to give to someone, I do my best to make that happen, whenever it arises… I don’t wait ten more months for the excuse of Christmas.
Someone once told me that I must be an awesome friend, because I gave him a book and out of nowhere, shortly after we’d really met – just because our conversation had led me to believe he would really love reading the book.
I kind of shrugged it off at the time, I think, but I’ve come to see how valuable that is nowadays, where people do often give because they feel obligated to give, and not because there is something they truly want to share with the individual.
Anyway, the whole reason I brought all of this up, is because I was given a check this evening, as a Christmas present.
I had already said that I didn’t need it – separately to both parties involved – and that I didn’t expect anything to be given to me – and I’ve said the latter for years, more or less – … and yet the check was given me in double the amount from years past.
It made me want to cry with frustration as I examined the check (and I did actually tear up from that a bit)… I didn’t know what to do about it.
After a quick but genuine text chat with my brother, I mentally accepted the money, finally able to see that this was their way of showing that they cared about me.
Plus, it gives me an opportunity to do something great with the money that they likely never would have done with it – it doesn’t have to become just plain groceries for me alone… it is, instead, an opportunity for good.
I was hesitant to reject the money, because I didn’t want to leave them feeling rejected by me, nor did it make any sense whatsoever to pass up money being given rather freely to me at the present point in my life (remember the grad school and total uncertainty situation).
And yet, I felt utterly pathetic for having been given money in the first place – like sad charity, is how it felt for me.
But it worked out, thanks to my brother’s wonderful alternative approach:
Hannah, you should accept the gifts people give you. They want you to have them
Be grateful you have people in your life that have those resources
Use the money for something good, be empowered by it. Don’t pity yourself, instead, make its value exponential
Also, consider how much more good you can do with that money vs what they’d do with it. A transfer of wealth is much more than a gift
And I can see that now the way he saw it.
The funny part about it is that I had said that I felt similarly about a gift he, my brother, had just given me, too.
I had known that my view was not so good nor healthy, and I was glad to have a new way to see it all, as well as something beautiful to go do with these gifts given to me.
Whatever you may do afterward with a gift, that is up to you entirely.
But allow the giver to give to you the gift, and the gift to accomplish its task of being given, even if you don’t want the gift or feel you don’t need or deserve the gift – accept both offers graciously, and the world will be a happier, more love-filled place.
It might seem a tad ridiculous, but, if you have given a genuine gift that was not accepted kindly, you can understand what I mean.
Okay, let’s accept this little fact before we get into this silly thought I had today: Everyone farts. I think there’s a book on it, even. I once bought a dinosaur book for my nephew that illustrates the potential sounds that various dinosaur farts might have had, and how their poop might have looked (because everyone poops, too, you know). A nurse once talked to a group of us about how something like ten farts a day suggests a healthy body and diet for humans.
Makes you want to start keeping track, doesn’t it? 😛
Now that we have that out of the way, the thought I had today. Have you ever left someone that sad present in an elevator? (Dreadful idea, I know!) The poisonous trap, provided especially for you by a stranger.
I was all alone in the elevator today, just going up one floor (the stairs are inaccessible, unfortunately). I had actually seen only two other people even in the building so far in the day, and no one was around when I got on the elevator. No one is usually around on the floor where I was getting off the elevator. Even still, when a bit of gas presented its desire to escape, I hesitated – I guess it’s just that engrained in me not to let it go in an elevator. Seeing as no one was around, though, I went ahead and let it slide. (I guess that’s literal, too.) It was small, I could tell, and so harmless in almost any setting, anyway.
When the doors opened, and I began to walk out of the elevator, releasing the end of my internal chemistry class experiment, I was presented with a man in the hallway… and he walked directly into the elevator! I think I couldn’t have opened my eyes any wider as I considered the situation while I walked down the hall. I barely even saw the man, because we were walking in opposite directions, and I had to turn the corner almost immediately. But he was there, and he went straight into the elevator.
I just left him a present in the elevator, went through my mind. And I laughed instantly. Naturally…
My only solace was that it was definitely a small fart and he was only going a maximum of one floor… so, there was a chance that he might not even notice it.
But there was also totally a chance that he would notice it and would know exactly what had happened: a friendly stranger had left him a present in the elevator. Face in palms… 😛
So, have you ever done it? This was definitely my first. I think so, anyway.
I’m not sure when or exactly how I stopped the regular giving of Christmas presents, but it feels like it has been a long and slow progression from standard present-giving to no present-giving at all. This is not to say that I do not give love to my loved ones – I certainly do. It is just that I give my love in the form of concern, interest, and time. I plan out things for us to do together, and I get us to go do them together. I find a way to get myself halfway across the country to be with the family members who have been on their own in recent years, missing the family. And I make things like this seem like they are only natural, and why would anyone not do such a thing. Not as a way to show off or anything, of course, but because they are just so easy to me. Kind of like the ends justifying the effort, and therefore making the effort almost no strain at all.
And so far as giving physical presents are concerned, I do still give those from time to time in life. However, I give them, because there I something I want to give to someone, there is something I want to do for someone. It usually is not tied to any particular holiday or day. It is tied merely to the fact that I care about the person, and there is something I want to give to him/her. I re-made an acquaintance a few years ago, and, after only two meet-ups and discussions, I left a present at the person’s front door in secret. It was a book I felt sure this person would love, and that I wanted this person to be able to experience, after our discussions together. (Turns out that it was a total hit.) I’m not sure we ever saw one another again, due to various circumstances, but that was okay. That is life sometimes. The point was that I gave the present freely and genuinely, and expected and wished for nothing in return. My only hope was that the book be enjoyed, and it was.
For me, that kind of thing is normal. I give, because I want to give, and there usually is a something specific that I want to give. At Christmas, I used to feel a need to give to everyone I know. And I would be almost frustrated at being unable to do such a thing. I guess this is how that situation has evolved over recent years, with last year, alone in Japan and with very little income, being a rather large factor in how Christmas looks this year for me. When I accepted that it really wouldn’t work to do most anything physical for people, I suddenly noticed how I didn’t really like the whole situation in the first place.
It’s like how I made strong efforts to figure out what kind of scarf a friend of mine would use, and made one for him for Christmas. And he gave me some socks from home, that were socks for a type of shoe that I never even wear, and were a color that I definitely don’t even own (and on purpose). We definitely discussed this all after the fact, and even laughed about it. We just had totally different attitudes toward the gift-giving. I had thought about giving him a good scarf a long time before Christmas. Due to my laziness mostly, I believe, I didn’t end up making it until the week before Christmas, using Christmas as my back-up plan for giving him the scarf (kind of a no later than this date thing for giving him the scarf, because i might never do it otherwise). But I had found out material and color and style and everything that would be appropriate and most helpful for his scarf. He, on the other hand, had wanted to give me a Christmas present, and so looked for something that would be suitable for a Christmas present between new friends. His gift was totally appropriate for such standards. Quite frankly, though, spending time together would have been much more valuable to and appreciated by me than a pair of socks that have nothing to do with me. Plus, it’s a better way of life, being less wasteful with our resources. 😛
Anyway, this all just has to do with the fact that I don’t like doing the mandatory or obligatory presents for holidays, and might even dislike it. Yes, I like that it gives a specific opportunity to consider something special to give to another. No, I don’t like how often we give/receive things no one seems to want or to find useful in life in our society right now. And so I have let go of participating in it. I think my dad’s side of the family will struggle for at least a few more years with the idea, still wondering why they should give to me, if I am not giving to them – hint: I have told them that I do not need anything given to me for Christmas or my birthday, but, if they desperately want to give me something, they can give me a pony. I think a pony is the only thing for which I have asked for my birthday since I was around 13 or 14. Not that I expect one, by any means, but it would be spectacular to have a pony given to me for my birthday. Otherwise, there’s nothing that comes to mind without feeling wasteful in the world.
It kind of takes away a bit of the feeling of Christmas, not exchanging presents with everyone. However, I currently am happy without the presents – all I ever really want is time together with the ones I love. The presents are almost upsetting to me, considering my background with stuff and feeling incredibly wasteful if I ever get rid of anything. I usually prefer receiving nothing, so I don’t have to feel bad at either not using it or at wanting to give it away or throw it away, when its time has really come to an end.