I have ‘GIFT PTSD.’ I don’t give gifts. The truth is that I prefer to give experiences. I’ve become a minimalist in my old age, except when it comes to bacon and food.
I was skyping with a friend when the topic of joke gifts came up. She told me that her family sent her a bird clock for her birthday one year. She realized a few years later that it was a joke. I can tell you that when I skype with her and the clock goes off at the start of a new hour it’s no joke. I’m waiting for when she thinks it’s strange that my IBS kicks in at four minutes to the hour.
I told her about the blow-up doll that my family gave me when I was a teenager. It was before I came out. Now, I realize it was their hopeful attempt, or last ditch effort, to get me to like women. I gave it a shot (pun intended) but ended up popping Rhonda. I concealed her in my room for months before I put her in a plastic grocery bag and dropped her in my neighbors garbage at five in the morning before anyone else was awake.
There are the gifts that aren’t meant to feel like a joke but do. I was eight when one of my Aunt’s sent me a make-up kit; I was into theater. I was so embarrassed and thought for sure that she was calling me out for being gay. I still love theater, but the sight of a make-up kit makes me want to throw a football. That’s a lie, not even the sight of Leonardo DiCaprio shirtless with his Oscar in one hand would make me want to throw a football.
It took me forty-one years to realize my easy bake oven and constant belting of ‘Tomorrow’ from ‘Annie’ that caused my twin brother to throw the record down the street like a frisbee was proof enough. I could have solved many years of angst and anguish. My ‘Gift PTSD’ sure has saved me thousands of dollars throughout the years.
I’ve started online therapy to deal with these issues. It’s the world’s way of getting back at me for not spending money on gifts. It’s also the perfect commitment level for me. I haven’t told my therapist about Rhonda; it’s only been a few months, and I’m still unsure about how HIPAA plays into all of this.
The lesson here is that you shouldn’t let what someone gives you dictate how you feel about yourself. You also should be careful about how much you share, so you don’t get ‘Writer PTSD.’ I have to write to my therapist now.