I remember when my mother made me take gymnastics in the second grade. Anyone who knows me knows I am a man's man. Sure, I like musicals and stuff like that, but when it comes down to it, I look like a guy you don't want to piss off, not because I'm physically large, but because I exude an unpredictable aura that often gives off the message, "Mess with me and I might make the cells in your skull spontaneously vaporize." I'm a man's man. I don't take gymnastics.
My mother, who has always been quick to doubt her children and assume that if she does not take immediate action to remedy problems her disillusioned mind invents for them, they will spontaneously collapse into a puddle of disrepairable waste, decided that if I did not take gymnastics I would die and go to hell. Well, she didn't put it exactly that way, but pretty close. If you can't tell, there's a little anger there--I forgive, but can never forget that my mother forced me to all extremes against my will to take gymnastics, despite the fact that I would openly and purposefully injure myself just to get out of it, and right in front of her face, as I explained exactly what I was doing.
Well, this horrible gymnastics period (I can't even remember what my cover lie was at school, but thankfully the horrible truth never made it too far) lasted for about a year.
Eventually, the gymnastics Christmas party rolled around. My mother is a chef. She can make desserts like nobody's business (this is a Southern expression that means 'like no one else'). Well, my mom decided to make some kind of strange experimental cookie. Seeing a picture of the desert and it's ingredients beforehand, I vehemently protested that my mom just make regular cookies, but she (of course) wouldn't listen. She made the cookies, put them in a wooden tray, and covered them in clear Saran wrap.
When we got to the party, mom set the cookies on the table and spread open the Saran wrap in a very deliberately stylistic way, as if to say "Welcome. Enjoy." I didn't just make this up. When I saw her open the cookies, a shudder ran through my entire body along with the words "Welcome. Enjoy."
No one ate those cookies. No one even tried them. They just sat there for two hours as everything else disappeared. I, being an angry bitter child, ran up to my mom and said, "See! I told you you should have just made chocolate chip!" She made a strange face. Suddenly, I ran off, hid, and cried. Sure, I was embarrassed that the snack I brought was something no one wanted--but, I was filled with a strange, alien sadness for my mother. I felt as if she had opened up and offered herself to the entire spinning world of 1989, and that world had said, "We have enough of what WE want already. We don't need or want anything you can offer. We don't even care that you exist." Add to this story the fact that I could not stand most of the people at this gymnastics school in the first place and found their parents to be even more dreadful--snobby country-clubbers with snobby children.
This stupid cookie incident haunted me for months. Sometimes, I would start crying about it at night for no other reason. Sometimes, this was accompanied by a Goofy imitation (Goofy, the Disney character) of my mother that said, 'They're gonna love this!' as the wrap around the cookies was spread open again and again.
So I'm a man's man, but I'm way, way too sensitive.
Anyway, I am still sometimes haunted by this stupid cookie incident everytime I see someone (including myself) get a gift they do not in the least bit want or care about, given by someone who has put their heart and soul behind the gift.
Have you ever had someone show you a gift for someone else, and then have that person look at you nervously and ask, "Do you think they will like it?" Have you ever known with everything in you that the gift is something not only the intended recepient would not like, but something NO ONE would like? Does this whole idea make you really sad? Do you sometimes even begin to think of the manufacturer of the gift in the first place and feel sad for them--that they, like my mother, made something no one wants?
A week later, on Christmas day at my grandmother's, my mother brought the entire tray of untouched cookies for the family to share. This time, a few people tried a couple. Most of the cookies still went untouched, but at least people, my family, tried them.
I don't think my mother ever made those stupid cookies again, but every time I get a gift I don't want, or see someone else get a gift they do not want, I feel an immense, indescribable sadness, and I think about those white, spidery cookies.
Those who know me personally or read this blog know I can be a bit histrionic, but I really can't think of any other abstract concept that makes me this sad. Often, I feel like I am the only one even noticing that this sadness is occuring, and that makes me more sad.
Just something I encounter during the holidays.
If unwanted gifts make you sad, you don't care about unwanted gifts, you think I am a nerd/turd, please tell me about it in ye old comments.
I'm not sad right now, or in need of a hug. This was just one of the 9,006 things on my mind at the moment.
Speaking of my mind, I am at a much different place than I was a year ago--literally.
I have a goal: to go back to school (and I'm trying).
I have a new job: I'm a library moonlighter!...don't worry, though, I'm still crawfishing in the mornings.
I have a new church and 'denomination' that I can actually get behind: Goodbye spiritual misery.
I have a new girlfriend: Her name is...haha, just kidding. Still single.
I have new artistic experiences: I'm creating new stories and witnessing new stories.
So, I am feeling pretty good right now, even though I just spilled 32! ounces of coke in the back of my car!