Friday, 26 December 2014

Being a Reluctant Receiver.

There’s a Christmas present sitting on the bookcase in my office, still elegantly wrapped and be-ribboned, and complete with a matching gift tag to affirm the pedigree of the giver. It’s the first time in all of my life that a Christmas gift has remained unopened at the end of Christmas Day. What’s odd is that I haven’t felt driven to open it. What’s less odd is that I have no desire for gifts, at least not the material sort.

I rarely feel grateful for material gifts. I’m often grateful to receive a communication from one of the few special people, and no doubt I would be most grateful to be caught if I was about to fall off a cliff. Such gifts touch the soul and the safety centre respectively, but material gifts are more likely to evoke a mixture of confusion and guilt.

‘Why has this been given to me?’ is always my first response. ‘Have I done something to earn it?’ If I have, then it’s no more than fair recompense and fails to qualify for the title of gift in the strictest sense. If I haven’t, a sense of imbalance sets in. It’s undeserved, and therefore a reason to feel guilty.

(When I was around six or seven, one of the older boys in the street had been ordered by his mother to get rid of some of his little-used toys. He knocked on our door and gave them to me. I remember bursting into tears, and I’ve never quite worked out why. I don’t burst into tears these days, but I do still feel uncomfortable when people give me things.)

So will I open this one tomorrow? I don’t know yet. As I said, this is the first time it’s ever happened.

And I’m critically aware that this blog is turning into something resembling episodes from a second rate post-modern novel, and what used to be multi-coloured has become, almost unremittingly, a darker shade of indigo. Maybe that’s why visitor numbers have fallen for the third month in succession. Not that numbers matter a jot, of course, but writing has been my primary focus for the last twelve years. Without it, where would I be?

It also occurred to me today that psychopaths must have a relatively easy life.


Madeline said...

I also feel weird when I receive gifts, and also when I receive compliments. I do like them, they just tend to trigger a feeling of awkwardness and sometimes embarrassment. No idea why.

Merry Belated Christmas from the States.

JJ Beazley said...

Same here with compliments. The problem for me is that:

a. I rarely believe them, or at least judge the one giving the compliment to be lacking discrimination.

b. I feel suddenly lumbered with an obligation to live up to them.

Maybe it has something to do with deflated ego.

Regrettably, the phrase 'Merry Christmas' is something of an oxymoron in present circumstances, but I'll accept 'compliments of the season' and gladly reciprocate. Do extend them to the M and P.

Sara said...

Still here, see?

Apparently, I'm not a robot. Or so this comment thing says.

JJ Beazley said...

I do. Thank you.

Seems Google has done something useful for a change. Those unreadable characters have been replaced with a tick box. I assume robots are incapable of ticking boxes. But for how long?

Sara said...

They'll kill us all one day and become the Overlords. Or something like that.

JJ Beazley said...

I wonder whether they'll allow the trees to re-inherit the earth.