Joy to the {{mumblemumble}}


It’s not “this season” so much as… all the time, that I’m prompted to try to get a grasp on the concept of Joyfulness.

Christians try to be all about Joy. “Make a joyful noise” and spread “Good News” and whatnot. If I understood what little of the Bible that I’ve read correctly, we’re supposed to be constantly filled with joy, no matter what our current mood is. As in, be pissed off that the stupid cop pulled you over for texting and driving, but you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, so everything will be awesome (after you die)!

Now… I attend a church each week and even play drums for it, but the Joyfulness…? Yeah. I’ve never had that kind. But the church stuff is for another post, coming soon to a blog near you.

Okay, Constant Depression Girl: if church and counting your blessings doesn’t pull you from your funk, then you’re a horrible person!! sorry I meant, what DOES make you happy? Anything? Or more accurately, does anything give you JOY, which is more pervasive than mere happiness and is meant to trump a bad mood?

Ask a normal person, and they’ll likely answer Family! Friends! Family and Friends! fills them with Joy. They have role models that say uplifting things and inspire them to exercise and be better people and to finally unpack the boxes that have been lying around their house for the past three years and counting.


And then when they do unpack, they get this.


Let’s start with my role models, aka the people alive or fictional that I most relate to and/or admire: Shrek. The Grinch. Ebeneezer Scrooge (before and after). Jack Donaghy. The Wicked Witch of the You know, let’s move on from the role models. Kinda odd that I have no real-life heroes, though? I’m sure that means nothing.

Do I get all excited about time with family and friends? Now mind you, I get along with family. I enjoy my Momtime. She’s really the only family member that I communicate with in any regularity. But we are a far-flung family. Relatives spread all across the US for some damn reason. California (me ‘n’ a few others), Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. And I do not enjoy adventures of modern air travel. Let’s just say that I enjoy family reunions where I don’t have to do any traveling.

Okay, but Mom is local, and hanging out with her and my Aunt does put me in a good mood. I’ll put that in the Yes pile.

You will not read of my joy of motherhood, because I forgot to have kids.


Time with friends? Now that gets tricky. I’m one of those types who has more work-friends than not. It’s because I don’t leave the house unless I have to, and because I have to go to work, those are the people that I spend the most time with. Some bonding is inevitable. The Chosen Few have lunch. The Even More Chosen Fewer have my personal phone number and have seen my house. Those rarities have also done stuff with me outside of work (movies, shopping, VIP tour of Disneyland…), AND have the forbidden knowledge of my birthday. I hate people knowing my birthday. HATE it. The Even More Chosen Fewer have to swear blood oaths and such not to even HINT about it to others. I have yet to be betrayed… that I know of.

What I don’t enjoy with friends: group lunches. Parties. PARTIES! I do NOT like parties, unless they’re hosted by musicians, attended by musicians, and I can spend all night playing the drums for the inevitable jam sessions. It’s the perfect setting for a musical introvert, and words can’t properly convey just how introverted that I am. If I’m playing, I don’t have to talk to anyone. Too busy laying down a groove, man. Don’t break my concentration!

Do you know how long I agonized over whether to attend this year’s company Christmas party? Two weeks of clenching my teeth before replying Yes, and as you may have guessed, I’m still debating blowing it off when the date comes. I’ve done it before. There was some year when, the night of, I could not make myself get into the car and drive to wherever it was. Usually I just reply with NO to the invites before I even finish reading them. For some reason I agreed to this year’s party, and it’s driving me nuts.

And tomorrow night I’ll be attending a church chili bake-off thing that I agreed to, again through clenched teeth. They’re having a White Elephant exchange, fergawdssake. I already have a lot of useless junk, thanks. My hope is that I can take my bongos, go off into a corner somewhere, and that someone jams on “Turn the World Around” with me.

Anything else? Disneyland, when it’s not shoulder-to-shoulder. I could write a whole post about how visiting the place trumps any bad mood I could ever have. In fact, I might write that love sonnet, but we’ll leave it at this for now.

Let’s wrap this up, ‘k? Oh! It is near Christmas and I said “wrap it up!” I see what I did there.

Okay. Charity is supposed to be year-round, but many of you may have noticed that most charities start spending the bulk of their Please-Please-Please money around this time of year. Here’s a thing about me: because I loathe large gatherings of people and don’t like attention, I’m afraid that donating my TIME is anathema to me. I don’t feel fulfilled when donating my time. I really don’t. I watch the clock and can’t help informing people that I don’t donate my time, so this is some special snowflake thing I’m doing right now, y’all. It’s obnoxious. You don’t have to tell me.

But here’s what I love to do, what trumps my bad moods and makes me almost giddy with delight: Toys For Tots. I don’t even hear about those guys except at Christmas. Which blessing do I count? That I have enough money to go nuts at the Lego store! I go to Downtown Disney, which has the biggest Lego store I’ve seen outside of Legoland, grab one of their big fabric shopping bags, and start throwing sets into it. I don’t bother with a budget. Fuck that, because I’m blessed with enough in my bank account not to. I don’t want to hear about kids that don’t like Lego, and that includes my youngest niece, who’s some kind of Lego-indifferent mutant.

Lesser versions of T4T that still score pretty high on my Joy-o-meter: “wish lists” for orphanages/foster care/shelters. My chiropractor had a list for a child/teen shelter, and I had bought easily half the items at Costco before realizing that I had to stop. I might have needed a second mortgage otherwise.

Runners-up: poignant GoFundMe cases, and I don’t mean the “help Timmy get a puppy!” kind. Care packages for soldiers. “Adopting” military families. I confess that I have racist hackles that rise when asked to “adopt” families with a million young kids (each). Maybe “racist” is the wrong word. “Prejudiced” is more accurate. If you have five or more kids and can’t afford basics because of it, I will (pre)judge you, no matter which country you’re from. Sorry!

It’s not just this time of year when I throw money at charities, and as anonymously as I can. Other than this post, I try very hard not to see my name anywhere. I have some monthly credits set up for a few charities – mostly tree-hugging, save-da-aminals shit. You know the type.

If nothing else, I hope that I ended on a… wait for it… joyful note after starting out so grr and arrgh. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to start looking forward to parties. WHY DID I AGREE TO GO??



About herdthinner

Writer and artist who pays the bills with another job
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2 Responses to Joy to the {{mumblemumble}}

  1. Mongoose says:

    My party survival technique is to find another introvert and talk to them. Then, if you can filter out the surrounding noise sufficiently, you can both pretend it’s just the two of you having an ordinary conversation.

    Although it doesn’t help that there is always the noise. Always with the wretched music, so people have to shout over it to be heard!

    • herdthinner says:

      The church party was OK. I didn’t talk to the people at the table when I was eating. My plan to get people going on “Turn the World Around” failed, as I’d expected it to, but I did try.

      Because it was a church thing, after dinner the people went inside to do a sing-along of carols, absolutely unrehearsed. I helped out on stage with tenor melody and harmonies. Two other women sang the chick parts. Many times the congregation had different lyrics than we did, and at one point, a song popped up that no one in the choir/band had the music for, so the band had to wing it. I had to pull off the mike to turn around and look at the lyrics on the screen.

      The last part of the night was a White Elephant gift exchange, aka a Yankee Swap. If not available in all countries, here it is: people bring stuff they don’t want. It has to be wrapped and unmarked. Everyone picks a number, then takes turns picking a gift “blind.” If they don’t like it, they swap with someone else. The first person to pick a gift, at the end, has the entire collection to choose from. I didn’t participate, but after the singing, I announced the White Elephant by saying, “And now the true purpose of Christmas: the White Elephant! None of this ‘Jesus’ stuff; get in there and unwrap presents!”

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