So I woke up with quite the I-don't-give-a-fuck and I'm not putting up with any sh** temperment today. It started with my daughter calling "a relative" this morning and passing the phone off to me so "Relative" could tell me that she'd sent a box of presents that she didn't have a chance to wrap to our house. Again. Actually, 8th frigging Christmas in a row. I gave the benefit of the doubt the first few years. I know how things can get out of hand around the holidays. Then I complained to my husband, hoping he'd use those amazing people skills of his to hint this really wasn't appropriate behavior, but nothing ever changed. Every Christmas things would arrive that needed to be wrapped. While he's been exemplary at standing beside me through every situation, I'm not sure if he ever mentioned, that hey, on the planet that Donna is from, in her culture, annually sending gifts that she has to wrap herself is a great insult.
Because I tend to have a very honest, direct style of communication, which, oddly enough was heralded in the business world but apparently was verboten in my new family's culture, I'd hoped Darren would communicate this little transgression that was yearly growing in it's ability to, well, to piss me off. "I don't have time to wrap your stuff either!" Someone pointed out that they were coming from online orders to which I answer, Nope, most from their home. And what online establishment doesn't offer a pretty cheap wrapping option anyway? My time's worth 5 freaking bucks. But it's not online orders. And, again, once in a blue moon, okay, I can help you out. But every freaking year for nearly a decade???
Two years ago, I told Darren that when the box arrived, unless the presents were his, that he would need to wrap them. And I told "relative" when she chortled that once again, she'd sent presents that needed wrapping, that I would be handing that duty right over to Darren. And I did this for a couple of years, hoping that what I said, gave the hint. This year she did the same thing and when Nila handed me the phone. I responded that I'd be handing those unwrapped gifts right off to Darren. Then quickly got off the phone before I said something I regretted, because hearing those words, again, for the 8th frickin' year in a row, just set me off.
A few minutes later, she sent me a text asking a question. I responded back to her question, then thought, you know what, I'm just going to say something about this and I'll say it with the answer to this question. Perhaps the informality will be less abrupt than my style of direct confrontation has been received in the past...and in these situations, I kind of like having a paper trail as my words have been twisted all out of context in these situations before. So I answered her text thusly: "Okay. So, could you not send presents here that need to be wrapped? We're kind of crunched for time these days. Thanks!"
Now to me, I was thinking, 'Okay, that was well done, I think. Casual, polite, yet getting my point across that this behavior is not okay.' But everyone I've talked to has been like, "I'd wait to send that if I were you." Well, too late. I've kind of got a trigger finger. And what exactly would I be waiting for? Waiting to see if I cool down and decide, huh, you know, maybe that doesn't really bother me after all. Maybe I don't really mind being treated as if my time is less valuable than hers. Yea, I don't really see that happening as on most days, I don't even have time to do everything I need to do in a day. So what would I be waiting for? And haven't I waited long enough? And isn't this part of why so many people hate being with family around the holiday?
They've got all these years of pent up frustrations and they basically know that they will be spending another holiday biting their tongues and waiting for when they can go off and finally relax again.
What if. What if we all just calmly communicated, "Hey, you know when you pick your teeth at the table and part of the gunk between your teeth flies out and lands in my wine...I really don't like that. Could you stop?" What would the world be like if we stopped all this pussyfooting? What if we could actually tell each other these things instead of pretending it's okay with us when it so very much isn't? We could do it with Love, and Honesty instead of bitterness and resentment because we wouldn't be storing it up for years. Then there might actually be some possibility of real friendships with our relatives because they're based on honesty, not a constant need to look away from what we consider obvious insults and bad manners. We'd all look forward to going to gatherings full of people that we could be ourselves with, right? That's all I want to do is be able to say, "Hey, could you not send more work for me to do. I'm swamped and any extra time I do have, I'd rather use reading more than 5 pages of a book at bedtime or getting all of my own stuff done. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. I just want them to consider mine. Whew.