Holidays are the Worst

I have not made a post for a while on here. I am not abandoning the site, I just haven’t had the time or energy to write very much lately. I have a lot of half-baked ideas that I hope to finish soon and get out in a few weeks when I have some free time again. I am also planning to turn this into a book sometime later. I have always wanted to write a book, and feel like an autobiography would be perfect, since most people don’t like to hear my stories now they can read them! (Today’s dark sarcasm is brought to you by a lack of sleep)

But, this post was seasonal, so I needed to get it out in time.

Holidays are the worst. I have never liked any of the holidays. I have spent years trying to think of why exactly I can’t stand them, and have gotten nowhere. My family is very strange, and I am not very close to them at all. But both of those are fairly standard for a lot of other families. Why do I have such a strong aversion to holidays?

Ever since I can remember, I have begged my mom to skip out on holidays and family gatherings. I would pretend to be sick, or get sick intentionally to avoid them. I would come up with any and every excuse imaginable to get out of going. I still do that today too. I have a habit of trying to plan my vacations to conveniently avoid holidays.

I know from experience that holidays are not that bad, but it doesn’t matter. I hate them so much. My family is rude and loud and offensive, but I am too so that doesn’t bother me. They are usually fairly nice, I think they like me too. The conversations aren’t usually that awkward, sometimes I even have a good time. And yet, I dread the mere thought of going there so much that it keeps me from sleeping the day before.

After much more introspection, I think this is a trapezium-related thing too. I feel like I should be close to my family, but I am not. I am close to my mom, dad, and my grandmother. The rest of my family doesn’t even know what I do for a job. I see them a few times a year, and they almost never ask me questions about myself. Every time I am around them I feel like an awkward outsider who is supposed to be in the click but isn’t. I think this might be some of the reason why I don’t like holidays. I see them all laughing and sharing stories and having fun, but I don’t really understand how to participate in that, nor do I really want to. My family is not the best of role models, and I have very little respect for most of them. They are not particularly bright people, they are not very courageous, they do not do great things with their careers, and they simply eke out an average to below average way of life. And that bores me to tears. I see no reason why I would be friends with them or have any particular reason to talk to them, other than the random fact that we happen to share genetic material.

I know that family is supposed to be hugely important, but they just aren’t to me. They are just people who happened to come from the same spawn point. There is not really anything that should make you have a strong loving connection with them. My love and loyalty are to those who have supported me and raised me, which is not my relationship with most of my family. So they seem like weirdly distant people that are somehow supposed to be close.

I try again and again to be close to them and to get a stronger relationship, but I fail at it every time. And I know that they see me failing at that as well. I don’t know how to rectify that, and I kind of don’t feel like trying. At one point, a few years ago, I had a master plan that I was going to move to a new place far away and start a new life there. If I lived far away, then I would never have to worry about being awkward or having to show up on the holidays. I almost went through with that plan, but I am so terrified of moving that I dropped it.

Furthermore, holidays themselves are really dumb and that annoys me a lot. Easter is supposed to be the day that Jesus returned from the dead (yay Zombie Savior!) and that is great and all. But do you really have to be reminded of that every year? It seems to me that if you have a modicum of faith in God, then you should remember his awesome works for longer than a year. I say this as a Christian myself, but I just despise holidays. They seem to be geared towards people with short term memory loss, which I do not have. I don’t need to reminded of things over and over, and in fact that makes me irrationally angry.

On top of that, Easter has some of the dumbest traditions of all. Jesus is back from the dead, so let’s celebrate by having a bunny hide eggs filled with candy?? Seriously? There are so many things wrong with that picture. Bunnies don’t lay eggs, eggs aren’t filled with candy, and neither of those have anything to do with Jesus. The date of Easter every year is set based on a pagan calendar, which is ridiculous in itself. The Christians came over and killed a large number of the pagans and then stole their traditions and their holiday planning schedule. What the hell guys?

As a side note, this kind of thing is why I am great to have at parties. I talk like this a lot in real life, and for some reason people seem to get angry with me. (That was sarcasm). I am aware that things like that make me an ‘asshole’ and I have learned not to share them with most people. But, you are not most people, so I can share anything I want.

Wearing Masks

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about how to interact with people. I have noticed that I have a lot of unique tendencies when it comes to this kind of thing, which is not really surprising. One of the first ones I started to notice that I do constantly is wearing ‘masks’.

I don’t like masks, but I think they are a necessity for surviving in a society of other people. When I was young, I heard the saying that “A wise man adapts himself for the situation” or something like that. It made sense. I could tell that the way you were supposed to act around teachers and the way you acted around your friends were supposed to be different. I also noticed pretty early that the way I wanted to act was not the correct way to act according to other people. So I needed to come up with some way to rectify that.

I started thinking in terms in masks. If I am going to school, I can put on the school mask. The school mask is a way to remind me of what is allowed and what is not allowed and it somewhat controls my actions. I don’t really visualize this as a mask or anything physical, but more like a feature that I add on myself. Because, as a side note, I mostly think of myself as a thought that has a loose connection to some weird physical body. This is why I hate pictures of myself and looking at mirrors, it never matches who I think I am or what I think I look like. So anyways, the masks are like a filter that I push everything I do through.

Over the years I have developed many more masks that I change throughout the day or depending on the setting. Often, putting on the appropriate mask for the day is the hardest part of the day.

Most of the time, I use the ‘child mask’ because I work with children. The ‘child mask’ has some pretty strict rules on it, obviously. There is no cussing, no inappropriate conversation, no weird comments (that one I need refine a little bit), and so on. It also dictates behavioral things like don’t touch the kid, don’t stare at them for too long and that sort of thing that most everyone else just kind of does naturally. But for me, I have to have a reminder.

I also have the ‘adult mask’ which is used when I am around adults and not children. This one allows for cussing, but only in strongly emotional situations or as part of a joke. This mask allows for some inappropriate conversation, but not much.

There is the ‘friend mask’ which is used for general friends. This mask allows for things like sarcasm (the intentional kind), teasing, more jokes that sort of thing. It also allows for more deep conversations and some topics that are previously forbidden.

Then I have the ‘close friend’ mask which is only really shared with a few select people. This mask allows basically anything. With this mask on, I am completely open and free and will talk about anything. I don’t think I have ever worn this mask while in public. It seems way to scary, kind of like going to the store naked. I can’t be that exposed.

I also have the ‘public mask’ which I use anytime I go into public. This one limits cussing, stops personal conversations, limits sarcasm and dark comments, controls somewhat for anger and sadness, and stops me from doing too much stimming (most of the time at least).

But these masks are also more than just a list of protocols that I need to follow. These masks serve as a defense to protect me from the harshness of the world. The world is a pretty awful place out there, and I very rarely feel safe or at rest in it. But if I can hide behind a mask, then I can pretend to feel safe.

I use masks a lot of the time to project how I am ‘supposed’ to be feeling or acting at times when I cannot genuinely feel that way. I use it as a way to compensate for my shortcomings. For example, if I have to do something totally new to me or something that I have no idea how to do (which still happens daily), then I can put on a mask that lets me pretend that I know exactly what I am doing. I can convince other people of that much more easily than I can convince myself.

One of my greatest fears is that all of the mask process is destroying who I really am. I spend all of my time hiding behind a mask out of necessity and not knowing any other way to get by in the ‘real world’. I hate that it feels dishonest, because I think that dishonesty is one of the worst things that we can do as people. I spend so much time with a mask on, that I don’t really even remember what it is like to not wear one. I feel sometimes like I have lost who I am underneath all the masks, or sometimes that I have never discovered who I really am.

Over the past few years, I have been making an effort to wear fewer masks. Maybe it is because I have done a lot of growing up and maturing, maybe it is because I have stopped caring as much what people think about me, or maybe it’s because I am closer to who I am meant to be, I don’t really know. But I have stopped trying to hide myself. I have allowed myself to be much more vulnerable and much more honest with those around me. And that has been one of the best feelings I can imagine. It has also led me to completely change where I thought my life was heading and the path that I was trying to follow, but I can honestly say that I am so much better off now for that change. I love the person that I have become with fewer masks, and I think that I can show the ‘real’ me more often.

I still use the ‘masks’ today, but not as often. Most of the problems and things that I felt I had to hide away are now the things that I use to reach out and connect with other people.

Friendship is the Most Confusing Gift

Friends are a very complicated thing to talk about. I like friends, I like having friends and hanging out with them and I really do enjoy conversations. But enjoying something does not mean that you are good at it, or that it comes easily.

Over the years, I have gained and lost many friends. I am very good at making friends and being social as long as there is an activity to do. As long as we have something else in front of us that we can focus on occasionally, I can talk and make friends all day long. That built in distraction takes away most of the social pressure that talking to people creates. Most of my friends have come from this way, we have some activity that we did together, and we keep doing that activity. This doesn’t really create good friendships though, because it simply creates a unilateral relationship (there’s the math reference for the day). Take for example my gaming friends. We get together to play games, we have a really good time and get along well. I have known them for almost 2 years now, and we have never once talked about our jobs, our families, or other things we enjoy outside of games. Our relationship is based only on that one shared activity. And that’s fun and all, but what if I really want to share some exciting news, or what if I want to talk about something that’s bothering me. I can’t do that with those friends because they don’t care.

When talking to most people, I get the feeling of a lead weight tied to me. It holds me down to the Earth and forces me to act in certain ways, it limits the things I can do and the amount of fun that I can have. If the person is new, then there is a much heavier weight attached. The weight tells me that I have to remember to look them in the eyes, to nod my head occasionally, to listen to what they say and ignore everything else, to pay attention to the conversation, and think of things that I can contribute to the conversation. All of that stress takes away most of the positive sides to having a conversation. Suddenly, it is not very fun at all.

Sometimes though, when I meet someone I feel them remove that weight. There are some people I have met that allow me to be free around them, and those are the people I want to spend my time around, those are the people who I try to become friends with. I know that this ‘weight’ is not something caused by them, but rather a skewed perception in my own brain. A construct made by my lack of understanding of social settings and all that which causes me to stress far too much about small things.

I have been told that I am very difficult to be friends with, and I guess I would somewhat agree. I have a strong tendency to back out of plans at the last minute because I suddenly can’t handle the stress of being around people anymore. I have a tendency to ignore text messages (sometimes for days) until I have the mental stamina to reply. I have a penchant for being too honest with people and telling them that they are doing something stupid, because I think they need to know and because I would want to know if I was doing something stupid. I have a strong tendency to get upset at random things that no one else seems to notice. I have a very hard time being around people that I have no respect for, and I have been told that it’s obvious.

But I also can be a good friend at times, hopefully most of the time. I am always willing to help a friend with whatever they need (except money). I am a good listener (I have been told) and good at giving people advice when they ask for it (and even when they don’t ask for it). I will do anything to protect those that I care about deeply. I am very loyal to my friends, and very forgiving if they are rude. I also love to do things for my friends, like giving them food or something I know they will like.

I have a limited amount of energy every day, as I think most people do even if they don’t realize it. I tend to focus that energy on my work, because it is something very important to me and I think it deserves my full focus. After I am done working for the day, I have some energy left and I pour most of that into my hobbies. Then I have to spend energy to do routine things like cleaning and housework and cooking. By the time all of that is done, I am pretty much always spent for the day. I have no energy left to do anything else. So that means that talking to friends or hanging out is out of the question. There’s just not enough fuel in the tank to do that. So I put it off till the next day.

The problem is that the next day, the exact same thing happens again. I have no energy left to make the effort to hang out with people and I forget about them. It’s not that I never think about them, I think about my friends a lot. But it takes more energy than I can muster to start a conversation with them.

So months and months of that kind of thing go by, and pretty much universally, the friend forgets about me too. I have lost most all of my friends that way. Often times, I will reach out to them, and try to plan something in advance. I know that if I can schedule something for a week or two ahead then I can deal with it and be able to hang out and have fun. But, unfortunately most of the time the other person is not up for that. They almost always have ‘other plans’ for that day, or ignore me completely. So I have learned over the years to mostly give up on that sort of thing. I am not very good at planning things with my friends and so I don’t.

I owe most, if not all, of my social success (whatever that means) to my Sunday School Class. I joined because an old friend recommended it to me, I went because the leaders hosted it at their house and gave a free lunch. I am the kind of person who will join any group in order to get free food. I once spent an entire year going to a Mormon bible study in the morning because they had free donuts and kolaches, and I am definitely not Mormon (nothing against them, they are great people, but I love coffee and tattoos). Anyways, I joined this college age Sunday School group and immediately loved it. The people were very nice and welcoming. They were very honest and open, and treated everyone with respect, but still managed to have a lot of fun. Every Sunday they would have the group over for lunch and then a discussion, and then afterwards there was all kinds of activities to do. We would play board games, build random things, go to concerts or festivals, basically normal people stuff I guess. But it was the first time in my life that I had experienced that sort of thing. My friends from high school had never really done that stuff, or at least they didn’t invite me to it.

I loved this group so much. They were honest enough to tell me when I was being stupid, and to call me out when I would get really angry at random things. I appreciate and need that from people. It taught me to be more self-aware of the way that I acted and how it affected others.

I think the main reason I was able to be a part of this group was the regularity of it. I knew that every Sunday I could go over there and hang out with who ever showed up that week. I could skip a few weeks, and no one cared. I could leave whenever I wanted to, and show up late for any reason. There was such a level of trust and familiarity that allowed me the space to be as ‘trapezium’ as I could be. I truly don’t think that I would who I am today if not for that group, they took me in and accepted me and gave me a place to be weird but also a place to learn how to get along with other people. They gave me the chance to observe and participate in things the way everyone else does. I don’t think I could ever thank them enough for that.