See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas is a week from today.


Pretending.
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I can't remember exactly when I began pretending - telling stories about how my family celebrated Christmas, with all of the lovely old world customs and so on. It may have started when I was in 5th grade - a pivotal year for me in so many ways. I remember pretending to my classmates how I had received everything I asked for that Christmas, and described Christmas Eve as being full of magic, decorating the freshly cut tree, loaded with lights and ornaments, delicious food, and so on. I never realized I had been lying, reasoning I was "just pretending" - to avoid either being made fun of, or worse, the object of pity.
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I later employed the same tactic for people I worked with, as well as my family after I had moved away. I told coworkers who were worried I would be alone on Christmas, that I was going home; my excuse to my family was that I would be with friends instead.
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Anyway, after I was firmly on my own and began working in display, my Christmas memories became rather grand, a little like Hans Brinker's. I charmed people with stories of visits from St. Nicholas, absolutely incredible Christmas trees and creches, and of course the Italian Christmases with my friends. Although my Italian Christmases were not exaggerations - completely - except for the occasional inclusion of a few details I employed to embellish my own experiences at home. I learned how to perfect the art of pretense from a wonderful woman named "J", an Audrey Hepburn look-a-like, act-a-like, talk-a-Add Imagelike, dress-a-like, who happened to be one of the nicest phonies in the world - and one of the most believable at that. Her stories were absolute royalty. It took decades for me to shake off that influence.
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"J" was so charming. Many times she insulted me to my face during the course of a "teddy-bear" lunch or coffee, and I never even realized it until years later.
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Anyway. Don't worry, I stopped pretending about my Christmases many years ago when I realized I could make them as magical as I wanted all on my own; the traditions I pretended my family observed, I began to observe myself - often doing for others what I wanted for myself. Thus Christmas was no longer pretend. Now days, it is even more real, albeit much more simple. (Correction - I continued to fabricate stories for concerned coworkers as to the where and with whom I celebrated Christmas - I don't have to do that any longer. I know, I'm a liar.)
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I'm invited to my relatives next week. Ah. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Except I do not lie any more - I just say I can't make it.

4 comments:

  1. You gotta do what you gotta do; but maybe your relatives miss you.

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  2. Been there...done that....example of Christmas memory I couldnt share so I had to make them up (pretend)...hmmm...so many to chose from...how about the christmas eve when our tree - ornaments, lights and all - when flying across the living room, thrown by a violent angry father who was aiming at the always-drunk mother? is that a good one to pretend didnt happen and make something else up instead?

    Oh...the memories of Jesus our Brother Kind and Good are TRUE (see othe post) what I didnt mention was that I had to do it on my own etc etc). Ok enough of the pity party.

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  3. So you have indulged your wishes to be alone for many, many Christmases. Maybe this year you could start a new tradition spending Christmas eve and/or day with family -- you might even enjoy it?

    Either way you end up doing it, I am sure it will be grace-filled. God bless you and Merry Christmas, Terry!! :-D

    ReplyDelete


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