Get out the wrapping paper. It’s re-gifting time.
Yes, I’m home for Christmas. I’m 30. And — in some cultures — I’m what passes for an adult. Yet, here I am, on the couch in my parent’s living room, sitting cross-legged in my pajamas — wearing sparkly reindeer antlers.
For a just a moment — I judge myself harshly. I mean, how is it, really, that after all this time and after all the crap I’ve been through — grown-up heartbreak, real-life lessons, crap-ass jobs, meaningful-to-meager relationships — that I’ve returned home only to be reduced to some primitive version of myself?
Truthfully, I’m not sure. Which is why, this year, I’m trying to cut my bad self a little slack. I’m starting to realize that my self-assessments were never really quite accurate. Each sober day that passes, I make new peace with whoever this woman is that I’m becoming. I’m no teenager — despite the very-real-feeling that I will remain seventeen for all perpetuity. And, while it’s true that, most days, I wish I were something different — something more — I’m starting to feel more comfortable declaring my own instability.
The holiday season is a time for compassion. We’re supposed to go deep and give big. And this year, the only way I can give more of myself is to dust off those old, buried pieces of my soul — the ones that I deemed unfit for consumption. Perhaps I was too hasty in writing myself off. I think it’s time that I dug out my old gifts and gave my new, sober hardware a run for its money.
It’s time to start re-gifting. — Re-gifting myself.
So many of us hand out the same gifts, year after year. We give away the safe pieces of our heart — the pieces with smooth edges — the parts of us that we think are worthy. I’m realizing that it’s time to start putting more on the table. It’s time to bust out the sharp-edged-second-tier-heart-bits.
Sobriety has taught me how to give more of myself. And, sometimes, it’s uncomfortable. Showing up to the holiday party with extra baggage is scary. We give ourselves the illusion of being in control when we allow everything in our lives to remain the same. — And, let’s face it, there is something comforting about the neighbor showing up with the same-fucking-fruitcake every year — even if it’s become your annual tradition to drop it into the trash can like a brick.
I sit on the couch, my festive, sequined antlers twinkling in the Christmas tree lights, and I’m reminded that I need to re-purpose these negative feelings. Especially the ancient ones that were written into my DNA long ago. How we see ourselves is just the story we write in our own heads. It’s time to write something better. My family will always expect one version of Sarah — but the truth is, they’ll have to accept whatever Santa decides to throw under the tree. And, by actually facing my own shortcomings, I become less apologetic for the things I’m not.
This year, I encourage you to re-gift all the things that don’t serve you. Write something new. Find the unused parts of your heart. Predictable appearances are overrated.
Red noses get noticed. Let your freak flag fly.