I came home and told my husband about the best and the worst thing that happened to me at work today. When I told him the worst thing, he gave me one of those “I married a weirdo” looks.
And rightfully so. Because the worst thing that happened to me today was a “keep Christ in Christmas” kind of email.
You don’t want to get into a Biblical tango with me
So, first, some background. I grew up in the Church of Christ. This means that I spent the majority of my childhood at church, bible camp, or bible bowl. (Also, I did not realize until my 20s that most people did not spend their childhoods in hospitals and nursing homes like I did.) So if you want to talk hermeneutics or eschatology, I’m your girl.
But I am not your girl if you want me to support this season being all about you. I understand that not everyone is a Christian, nor do they celebrate Christmas.
Second, as I work on letting my authentic self come out to play, I find things I usually keep to myself just tumbling out of my mouth. This can be funny sometimes, but can also be a bit surprising. Kind of like discovering that your dress has been tucked into your pantyhose all afternoon.
During a department discussion about our holiday lunch celebration, someone asked if we should do a white elephant gift exchange again. At this point I offered my opinion, which sounded something like, “I just want to spend time with all of you; I don’t really need any more useless crap.”
This was actually much more coherent than what was going on in my head, which sounded a lot like “Noooooooooooooooooooooo.” But everyone looked kind of surprised. They’re still talking about how I just went RIGHT ahead and shared what I was thinking.
I could see how this might be surprising, as a large portion of my job deals with saying the right thing in the right way to the right people at the right time.
But ohmigawd, that takes a lot of energy.
Luckily, though, this authentic-self-thing has some benefits, too. Since I am spending less energy covering things up, other things are showing themselves more naturally. For instance, people have randomly started sharing things with me that they never would’ve shared before. I’m going to start charging people by the hour for listening to them.
Also, I have a better idea of what is in unmarked envelopes.
This diatribe has been a long time coming
A few months ago, I got an unmarked envelope via interoffice mail—it was one of those brown envelopes with only my name on it.
As I picked it up, I thought, “We really should screen our mail for anthrax.”
And then I thought, “Where did that come from?!”
But when I opened the envelope, I discovered exactly where that thought came from.
The envelope contained two pieces of paper. One was a copy of the email I had sent to announce the winners of the Halloween office decorating contest. (I hadn’t composed it, but I had sent it.) The other was a typed letter about how the anonymous sender thought we were a CHRISTIAN organization, and our use of the phrase “spirited décor” was a direct violation of that.
Obviously, Anonymous is an asshole who has no life or work duties.
My boss, however, did not share my shock and awe. When I went to her expecting her to share in my outrage, she said something like, “What did you expect? Halloween is a PAGAN holiday.”
To which I replied, “SO ARE CHRISTMAS AND EASTER, BUT NO ONE SEEMS TO BE COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT!”
Seriously, look it up
Fast forward to today, when I sent an email announcing a “holiday gift” from our leaders.
I received an email that said something about how excited the sender was, and how this was the “best work CHRISTmas gift ever.”
And then I couldn’t help myself, so I fired off a response that said, “Unfortunately, this is your gift for Christmas and New Year’s, so you’ll have to consider it covering both HOLIDAYS!”
This could be no big deal. But it could also be a bit career limiting for someone whose career depends on saying the right thing. In my defense, though, I did not say what I was really thinking, which was:
“Christ was born in the summer, Christmas is based on a pagan holiday, and not everyone who works here is Christian, you ignorant slut.”
The Zen response
I know that I should not be frustrated by her ignorance. If she wants to take offense at someone else’s beliefs, I should let her go forward in her great ridiculous muggleness.
But years of shoving and eating my feelings is coming back in full force, and my authentic self is looking like the girl from Hyperbole and a Half, all crazy like I’ve been drawn in MS Paint. But with red hair.
And she will not be denied.
Lucky for me, though, unlike the girl from Hyperbole and a Half, I will never be tempted to clean all the things.
Perhaps there is some hope after all.