My Christmas List

What do I want for Christmas?  That’s a question I get asked over and over each year.  I never have an answer because I’ve never really been all that materialistic.  Sure, I like to have this or that, but most often it’s something small that I usually buy for myself.  The majority of my money that actually gets spent on me–a luxury, as any mom can attest to–is usually blown on books.  I like to read and write.  Pretty simple stuff that doesn’t require much.

Lately, I’ve gotten to thinking, though.  There are things I want, but no one is going to be able to hand them over Christmas morning, painstakingly wrapped and bowed, waiting with exhilaration for me to open them.  They simply can’t be given that way.  My list contains some pretty universally wanted stuff.  I think you want them, too.  So, in no specific order, here is that list.

1.  An end to Mom Shaming.

I cannot express enough how exhausting and devastating this activity is.  I hate it so much.  Just the other day an old lady saw me buying a boxed item in the baking aisle and said, “You know, it’s just as easy to make that from scratch.”   What the little old lady didn’t know is that my attempts at making this particular item from scratch have seriously BLOWN.  Like, the dog wouldn’t eat it kind of BLOWN.  I can’t tell you how long I cried about my box-made food.  All I can say is I tried.  That should count for something.  Mom shaming means that it doesn’t, and that is unbearably sad.  I’m not Martha Stewart, and that gene was not on the option list when I swam in that particular pool.

2.  An end to fat shaming.

Sitting at a restaurant the other day I heard a man ask his wife, “Who is that woman on TV that you watch?  You know.  The fat one?”  That’s all the information his wife needed to name Rosie O’Donnell.  Seriously.  I nearly stabbed them with my fork.  I hate that a person’s weight is what defines them to so many people.  It’s truly one of the last acceptable prejudices.  It makes me sick.  Regardless of anyone’s opinion of Rosie O’Donnell, if your first descriptor of her is that she’s fat, the problem is YOU not HER.  If you look at me and all you see is a fat woman, it’s time consider deepening your pool, because yours is pretty damn shallow.

3.  More of the feminist love from my sons.

Tony came to me and said, “Mom, my friend shared a meme with me that said something about women needing to be in the kitchen.  He thought it was funny.  I didn’t get it.  What does that even mean?”

My response:  “What do you think it means?”

Tony:  “The truth?”

Me: (nodding my head)

Tony:  “That he’s an idiot.”

Seconds, please.

4.  A confidence shot.

I want to stop feeling like I haven’t earned my place at the table.  Any table.  As a mom, writer, aunt, in-law, wife, friend and human being, I feel like I let people down more than I help them.  There are days that I win like a boss.  There are days that I am barely holding on, trying not to circle the drain.  Regardless of what day it is, I’ve done the work.  I’ve put in the effort.  I need that shot of confidence to help me say to myself, “You are enough.”

5.  Less self-imposed stress

I want to tie a blindfold around the eyes of my Type A personality, offer it one last smoke and blow its brains against a wall.  Nothing has to be perfect.  There are no perfect people.  We are all our own special brand of fucked up.  We should embrace that and go with the flow.   I’ve lost sleep over the fact that someone visited my house and the carpet looked unswept.  They came in and looked at the floor with disdain.  You know what?  They didn’t know that I swept twice that day.  They didn’t know that my vacuum bag got full and, much to my chagrin, that full one was the last damn bag I even owned.  I didn’t have time to go get another one before they came over with their white gloves and scowl.  So what if the dog fur collected in the corner looks like I murdered an old woman or spend my free time shearing dogs.  I’ve done my absolute best and that should be all that anyone, especially me, expects.

6.  More people going out of their ways to write nice comments.

This one sounds like a no-brainer.  I have seen so many folks doing good things and putting goodness out into the world, but that all gets swept away by just one jerk being an idiot and leaving troll comments on articles I (or other writers) have written.  It’s not hard to be nice, people.  Seriously.  I don’t agree with 90% of what I read on the internet.  I only comment when I have something positive to add to the conversation, or if I can voice my opinion in a way that shows I’m a grown human being who disagrees with the author and showed up with my manners intact.  If the only comments you can leave me are your guesses about my I.Q. and how that is impacted by the color of my skin, then just keep on truckin’.  Those are personal attacks, not opinions.  No time for that B.S. here.

7.  More love, less hate.

You’d think this one is a no-brainer, but it’s not.  Who in this world couldn’t use a little more understanding, love or kindness?  Who could deal with a lot less hate?  There are easy answers to these easy questions, but somehow, as human beings, we lack follow-through.  Some people get so blinded by their anger, or are so very married to their opinions, that they don’t take the time to step back and see the bigger picture.  Hate grows like weeds.  It needs no attention whatsoever to take over this world.  Weeds choke out the flowers just like hate chokes out love.  When given the right attention, and making a concerted effort to eradicate hate, love will bloom.  Mightily.  Heartily.

If I were to get everything on my list, in the immortal words of Louis Armstrong, what a wonderful world it would be.



4 thoughts on “My Christmas List

  1. joannevalentinesimson says:

    Miranda, my mother always said that anyone who came to visit her should want to see her, not her house!
    And, the problem with negativity is that it’s apparently very powerful, psychologically. I’m sure that bullies know this intuitively. I read somewhere that it takes about 5 or 6 positive experiences to compensate for one negative experience. No wonder it’s so easy to get depressed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miranda Gargasz says:

      I try to tell myself that people shouldn’t mind my house if I don’t, but, you know, that just never works. There’s that little critic in my head that points out everything I’ve done wrong….Why is it that negativity is powerful? Is it because we give it that power? Are we just wired to believe the worst in ourselves? I don’t know. Regardless, it sucks.


      • joannevalentinesimson says:

        Apropos the little critic in your head, I’m afraid you have unwittingly invited your mother in. Ask her to leave, please.
        As for why negative experiences are so powerful, I suspect that this is the way we’re wired because it has a biological advantage. As a biologist, I tend to look for the biological advantages that psychological traits might confer. Things that cause us pain are generally far more dangerous (potentially life threatening) than things that cause us pleasure. In our ancestors, probably the alarm system was more efficient in those individuals who managed to survive to reproductive age. So, at the biological (and possibly the psychological) level, damaging events are more important because they can radically limit our life span.


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