The Steam Of Self-Esteem During The Holiday
Posted on December 7, 2020
The Christmas season has always been a favorite of mine. Why? That’s an easy one. The decorations, the colors, the effort people go to raise spirits and be a little happier, a little more joyful. At least, that’s how I remember it or choose to remember it, and I admit those memories come from a time before the season turned into one giant “buy this buy this buy this” rat race. Buying something doesn’t necessarily make one happy, at least not some of the crap they make today that barely lasts. Eh, enough of that tangent. The thing is I think the holidays also put some pressure on us we don’t immediately recognize. Our family and friends suddenly put a little more focus on us, and that makes us uneasy.
How often do you hear people say they need to lose weight around a holiday like Christmas? Or how they want to change their appearance in some way during December? I hear it all the time. Why? Well, people go out and shop more during this season. They see clothes or jewelry they like, people look to buy clothes or something fashionable for others, and they see ads. They see other shoppers. They see younger shoppers. I turned 50 as of this year, and I’m discovering a gigantic discrepancy between how I see myself when I’m not looking at my reflection, and then when I do see myself in a mirror.
I’m the same guy I grew up with inside my body. There’s just been some changes going on with the outside. I recently looked at pictures of myself around Christmas at the age of 2, 3, 4, and 5. I remember growing up and constantly being told by many folks that I was skinny. Too skinny. You could see my ribs when I didn’t have a shirt on. It wasn’t for lack of eating. I ate. I had my favorite foods. Heck, Mom used to buy me Nutriment just so I’d gain a little weight. And I felt very self-conscious at that age for essentially being told there’s something wrong with me.
I eventually did put on some weight. Too much, apparently, and I lost 30 pounds back in 2017. I didn’t do it the intelligent way either. I did it based entirely on stress. 10 pounds a month for three months, all because of stress. Nope, not healthy. I’ve put some of it back on, but it’s not horrific weight. The difference between being skinny and now, though, is that people feel free to tell me I need to lose some more pounds. Why? Is it my job to impress you in some way? Is it up to me to fit what you feel I should be in order to be seen with me in public? I think not. And if you think it is, you can bugger off.
Plenty of my friends and co-workers tend to let comments about their appearance get to them, however.
Maybe it doesn’t bother me like it used to as a kid because I’ve learned to live in my head. Yes, I have a day job, but I’m an author. I peek out through the windows of my brain, see what’s going out there in the world, and then sit back down and type out a story that appeals to me while wearing my Ultra-Man t-shirt from Hong Kong and listening to music I enjoy. Hell, I’m happy. Somebody thinks I weigh too much? Don’t come around my gravitational pull. Think my nose is too big? Who asked you? Don’t like the gray hair coming in on my head and stubble when I don’t shave for a couple of days to give my face a break? Then wait until you get to be my age and see how you like some asshole offering you uninvited critiques of your appearance.
You go be you and let me be me.
There’s a pandemic going on. There’s one of the most divisive political handovers about to happen. We now live in a world where facts are conveniently replaced with alternative facts…which aren’t really facts, by the way. So, the last thing we need is to take a hit on our self-esteem while this is all going on.
Be kind. Be kinder. Maybe you’ll even see someone smile if you do.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.