Christmas present complex

complex n.
a system of interrelated group of emotionally significant ideas, feelings, memories and impulses that are completely or partly repressed, and that give rise to psychic conflict leading to abnormal mental states or behaviour

(Informal) a disproportionate concern or anxiety about something : there’s no point having a complex about losing your hair

An introduction to complex
There’s inferiority complex, superiority complex, and all kinds of human complex. Everyone knows the saying ‘the grass is greener on the other side’, but what about ‘Your chicken looks better than my chicken’? Or, ‘That dress looks better on her than on me’? At this time of the year, are you prepared for ‘Her present is better than my present’?

Food complex
A friend once told me that chips somehow taste better when stolen off someone else’s plate. I was quick to shrug that off as psychological, but last week I almost suffered food envy when I dined at Giraffe.

When a friend’s mojito chicken arrived, I immediately felt a pang of regret for ordering the chicken kiev with mash. Big Juicy Thigh took its rightful place across the table from me, and Limp Battered Kiev shrunk into inexistence.

Luckily, I was quick enough to snap out of it and say to myself, “WELL, I ORDERED THE KIEV! SO I’M GOING TO ENJOY MY KIEV!” Not out loud, of course, that would be weird.

Facebook complex
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I quit Facebook. Until I learn not to oggle at how good xyz’s life is in melbournetokyoparis going skydivingsurfingdewormingorphansinsomalia and feel sorry for myself, I will be able to use Facebook again for the purpose it was intended for – to keep in touch with friends. My life, by the way, is amazing.

Christmas present complex
So there’s food complex, Facebook complex, and all kinds of human complex. But as a child, I suffered from Christmas present complex. Somehow my sisters got the good gifts and I didn’t. What are the odds, or did I not think it could be a… complex?

They got the fashion earrings, the shiny tops, the Marks & Spencer’s underwear set. I got a keyring and a book about punctuation and British slang. I was 17 and struggling to find my fashion identity, and the last thing I wanted was for my geekiness to be reinforced.

I remember being so disappointed by a LUSH fizzy bath ‘bomb’. The size of a tennis ball, the ‘bomb’ fizzled when you threw it in a bathtub full of water. Did this person not know I have no access to a bath tub? Oh, the injustices of life. Just as a friend once said “Bad food makes me angry”, I will say that bad gifts make me angry.

Complex is all about confidence
But really, complex is all about lack of confidence. When you know who you are and what you like, you are unstoppable. It’s the confidence of knowing I could wear a bolero with sweatpants (not quite there yet) or wear white gladiators with a flower tunic (tried and tested winning combo) and look good in it.

Confidence is carried, and when carried well, will make you happy with any choice you make. Limp and lifeless chicken kiev? I’m lovin’ it because I ordered it! Bolero with sweatpants? If Kate Moss wore it, the world would follow, so I’ll start the trend, thanks!

Think Regina in Mean Girls, who had her singlet sabotaged in the changing room. All she needed was to walk out of that room in style and confidence, and soon the whole school followed suit.

Screen shots from Mean Girls (2004)


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