I have self-esteem issues. Let me just throw it out there, get it out of the way, prior to any further conversation. From the time I was very young, I've always had the distinct knowledge that I wasn't 'enough' -- not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, clever enough, talented enough. Just not 'enough.' I don't know why that is. I cannot point to a specific event that provided me with that knowledge. On the contrary, I often excelled at things, as a child. I found formal education to be particularly easy and somewhat dull. I could perform virtually any task I put my mind to at an average level, or above. Those things are still mostly true, today. I'm an insatiable learner, who is never tired of gaining new information, most of which I retain without difficulty. And, I love to do new things, to learn new things. I'm always teaching myself obscure tasks -- reading tarot, writing in Runic, making corsets or shoes or homemade soap. I never tire of those pursuits.
But, despite all of my many interests, the ugly demon Inferiority comes to call, occasionally. Normally, I'm able to manage her attacks by looking at things from an intellectual and objective perspective. But, not always. Sometimes, she sneaks up on me, gathering her energies, and sits on my shoulder, very quietly, while she whispers sick horrors in my ear, "you're not good enough...why even try that when you know you're going to fail...stop trying to pretend you're a good person when you know you're not...it's easier to let it all go and just do your worst...if you do nothing, you cannot fail...they will only laugh at you behind your back...no one really likes you."
When she takes this insidious approach, it is more difficult to fend her off. It seems to happen more frequently, for me, at this particular time of the year...when the world seems quite busy, and darkness rules with long nights and so much time spent indoors. When we're all surrounded by the chaos of the holiday season, with their lights and glitter and unrealistic expectations. When, for whatever reason, our entire society has been socialized into the belief that everything can and should be perfect, outstanding, and and downright miraculous. Everyone should be blissfully happy. Every house should be filled with beloveds and good cheer. Miracles fly free around the world and settle on each of our lives by virtue of the season. We will have money from who knows where that will suddenly fill our wallets so that we don't have to worry about the possibility of rejection by others, because we're going to buy their companionship and love.
Can you hear my disbelief? Its there, quite raw and front. I don't believe in commercial holiday chaos. I don't participate in it. I give gifts only to my immediate family, most of them are handmade. I ask that no gifts be given to me, less they are handmade. Although, I gladly accept photos of my beloveds, if they wish to share them. Does this keep me from doubting myself and my convictions when I read the busy Facebook statuses of my friends..."wrapping, wrapping, wrapping...lots of shopping today...I know what you got..."? Nope. That ugly demon Inferiority comes to call, spitting into my ear, "You should be doing that..spending every last dime..you must not love your people at all..you don't make enough money..you're never good enough, you should be ashamed."
I have no need of gifts. I have the material things I need. And, when it comes right down to it, what I DO need is fellowship, love, companionship, togetherness. Because, it is very easy for me to spend most of my time alone, where there's no chance of criticism or complaint, other than the ones that stir in my own head. I can indulge myself in my many pursuits and feel well. I have the benefits of a soul-mate who understands me, friends who accept me, and a structure for living that suits me.
We all must walk our path, side-stepping its refuse and pollutants. I have named mine. Its in my nature to give words to things. So, for today, I banish the demon Inferiority. She will not sit my shoulder, today. Instead, I'll spend my day in the light (even when its cold), with my beloveds.
I wish you good cheer, no matter your holiday. Not the kind that comes from packages and bottles, but the kind that comes from hearts and laughter.