Saturday, December 14, 2013

Undercover Agnostic (Update 27): A Sensory Overload Christmas

Sheldon's note: This will be a bit of a long rant, bear with me. ;)

I had been planning Christmas party with mom and dad at my house for the Sunday School class, and anyone else from the church I am "undercover" in (at least until next month, I'm planning to come out then, I've already come out to my sister). Mom had told me that she was going to help set up most everything Friday during the day, while I was work on a 12 hour shift, and then she would either be gone by the time I got home about 5:30, or shortly after.

She had said that she was going to take my 85 pound dog, "Happy Horse", a Black Lab/hound mix with her when she left. Imagine my surprise when I come home and not only is everything set up, but Happy Horse is still there, barking at me when I come in the back door, and she's still there with my dad. I hadn't suggested the idea of her leaving before the party started, that was her idea, but I was rather annoyed that she wasn't keeping her word about that

The party was due to start at 7, and they are both still there while people are showing up. Oh, and did the people show up. Everyone I invited came, along with some of their friends.

In all, it was around 18 people at it's highest point in a house that's only 763 square feet upstairs, bigger than my mom and dad's house, but still too small for that many people, especially considering that you can't go outside

(It was around 30 degrees and sleet/snow coming down). The living room and kitchen where every one was gathered is only about half of that space, and for some reason, people didn't want to spend time down in the basement, where I have essentially a second living room, and a kitchen style table set up.

It was really getting to my issues with sensory overload, the mass of people gathered, too many people having too many different conversations at once, which in me, leads to it all blending into an overwhelming cacophony of intelligible noise. I stayed to the edges of the crowd, talking to a few people, letting the crowd do it's thing, generally staying to the room where I felt the least suffocated.

My mom, however, didn't find that acceptable, she denies that I have depression, forced me off of medication when I came back home after my nervous breakdown, so the idea that I could possibly be autistic is beyond her limited comprehension.

 She starts working the crowd herself, her massive ego kicks in, and she starts overriding her normal aversion to crowds showing every the house, and acting like she owns the place so much that a few people who didn't know me (the friends of friends), actually asked her if we all lived there together.

Then, she insists on making matters even worse, starting blabbering on about my dog, and how it's the closest thing she has to a grand child in this area (my sister has three children, but she lives in northern Indiana, about 300 miles from us). She then goes on about about how she keeps wanting me to find a "good godly girl" (I want to throw up every I hear that phrase from her), and have more grandchildren for her.

(Let me go off on a tangent here, I know within fundamentalist/evangelical circles, women face this far worse than most men do, but I consider this whole attitude demeaning to everyone inside the movement, and I personally find it demeaning to me. It treats everyone like they are sub human, that people's only worth is in breeding more little fundamentalists so that they can take over the world.)

This is going on in front of the entire audience, whose attention my mom now has, including three people who know about me being the Undercover Agnostic, Jason, my co-worker/Sunday School teacher and my longtime friends, Sam and Rose, who are engaged.

To try and take some of the pressure off of me, which Rose could tell was building up, Rose starts carrying on about how her parents, Jim and Cindy* (who showed up later for about 30 minutes), are always on her about marrying Sam, and talking about how they want grand children.

Rose pulled a nice save there, but apparently my mom wanted to work even harder to make me more uncomfortable, and decided that since I had apparently gotten food on my face while eating, she was going to wipe it off for me, like I'm 5 years old, in front of everyone, instead of telling me about it, and letting me wipe it off, or go into the bathroom.

She knows in the first place that I can't stand people, even her (and especially her), touching me in the first place, unless they are a someone I am in relationship with, or a close female friend. I've talked about that at length in my post, Personal Space Invaders.

She already knows that, and based on what she had been saying and doing the whole time, it was a deliberate attempt to "put me in my place", I have no idea what she's mad about/what it was in retaliation for, she has been complaining that I don't "appreciate her" enough, which in her mind, means bowing down and worshiping her.

I don't gush over every last little thing that she does, because I'm not express emotion outward often/very well (I know, you're probably laughing at that if you read the blog often, but it's far easier for me to express myself online under a screen name than it is in person).

I also appreciate what she does, but not why she does it, and the way she feels like she owns me because of it.This morning, she had called, and tried to say that she was sorry, but I don't believe her, everything she does is calculated, and for a reason (and I doubt she can really feel guilty about anything).

She finally left at about 8:30/9:00, and I could start to recover, especially after a few people left, since they needed to get up early for various reasons. Jason brought a DVD of the movie Despicable Me 2. I was making jokes with Jason about how the accent of the main character "Gru", a former villain turned hero, sounded like some of the truckers we get at our workplace.

We are both warehouse clerks, and there are quite a few truckers from eastern Europe that we encounter, mostly Bosnian, but some are Croatian, Romanian or Bulgarian, there's a large Bosnian community on the south side of St. Louis, and many eastern European immigrants living in northern Illinois cities and suburbs that for some reason have decided to get heavily involved in the trucking business.. Here's a clip from the movie, doesn't his accent sound like he's supposed to be from Eastern Europe?

Everyone liked having Happy Horse around, petting him, and slipping small bits of food to him, after a while, he just decided to lay down in the middle of the floor in the middle of the crowd. I could finally relax once mom was gone, and after a while, it was just me, Sam and Rose, and a former Sunday School teacher of mine, Justine*. Justine was rather impressed by had had been done to the house, and she said that she really wants to buy a house with her husband. (She's in a duplex right now with her husband and infant son).

Sam, Rose, and Justine were engaging in one of the favorite sports of evangelical church people everywhere: complaining, and/or gossiping about people. I was getting a good laugh from their complaints about the choir director (who wants to act like he runs the church), and his wife and adult son and daughter, who are very stuck up.

I guess their obnoxious, we're better than everyone attitudes come from the power that they have had in that church for over 20+ years, and the fact that though they aren't rich, they have more money, and are much more uptight than the rest of the the congregation, which is mostly poor and lower middle class working people. They got a laugh out of me walking around with my nose high up in the air, poking fun at that family, Sam was joking that if you keep your head that high, you're going to end up with plenty of dirt in your nose, (especially in an industrial town that is literally wrapped around a massive steel plant owned by US Steel).

It started our horribly, but ended well (at about 1 am).


  1. Ah,
    Family, church people, Christmas party....what could go wrong:)?

    1. More like what couldn't go wrong (Murphy's law kind of situation).

  2. LOL, I think Alice's comment sums it up perfectly. These kind of situations is why I never enjoyed Christmas growing up and still have an aversion to it. I honestly have only enjoyed Christmas when there is no family around....sad but true.

    1. Has it granted you more freedom/flexibility and less stress?

    2. Yes less stress and more freedom. But the lead up to Christmas usually is stressful with invites coming in and that can cause stress. So you never completely can get rid of the Christmas stress.

    3. Well, I'll be spending my first Christmas alone, I'll give more details shortly in a future post....

  3. I have a "If I'm not having sex with you, then we're not touching" rule. (Exceptions for my kids.) And I tell people that. They think I'm funny and get the message.

    1. Well, they do know you're a bit crazy, so I'm sure people just laugh it off. ;)


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