When snow falls I get the feels. I don’t mind the snow; it’s pretty and sad. It’s almost like the sky is so cold and so hardened that instead of tears, it’s gone right to cold, bitter, pretty little daggers. It suits my mood. The holidays are upon us and I’m just gonna say it- I hate them with a red, hot burning passion. Fuck your cheer, fuck your shopping, fuck your gluttonous consumerism the day after you give thanks, fuck killing and eating possibly the last Dinosaur relatives on earth (turkeys are the same size as Velociraptors and those prehistoric beasts even sported feathers), and fuck your family.
Family, there’s a weird word and a strange concept, perhaps not for those who have healthy, loving, reliable family connections. Wait… is there such a thing? What is it about the holidays that spark such depressive mood swings for some folks? Is it a mourning over your childhood memories or a blatant hatred for the season altogether?
I grew up not celebrating any holidays and to a child who has no clue what they’re missing, it doesn’t matter. Your classmates are coloring the typical Thanksgiving Day scene: pilgrims sitting around a big feast and instead, the teacher gives me an apple tree to color. Everyone is completing a math sheet in the shape of a Christmas tree, where each ornament holds the answer to an equation. Meanwhile I solve problems on a boring, lined worksheet, no coloring necessary.
None of that matters until someone tells you it does. It’s not until you’re a teenager when someone asks in disbelief: “You don’t celebrate anything? How horrible!” Full on adulthood rolls around and you find yourself giving all the holiday cheer a whirl; the tree, lights, tinsel, ornaments, gifts, movies, music, the Velociraptor tradition… alllllll of it, only to discover that after years of trying, it fits as well as a straightjacket- binding as fuck and not even your size. You forego all the festivities once more and start to feel like your bah humbug self until…
You fall in love. Dude has kids and you gotta learn to fake it again. You find yourself lying about how the little plastic eggs, holding precious sugary treats, scattered themselves all around the apartment, “Well I saw the big bunny, he was here with his bunny wife and some baskets full of stuff.” I say.
“You did?!” The little twinkies ask bright-eyed. “His wife?”
“Yeah, they were making a mess, I think they were drunk,” I answered. I NEVER participated in or understood this tradition, so I had no idea how to lie about it.
Then Christmas rolls around and I’m burdened with hiding gifts in the closet, until a jolly, fat pedophile puts them under a tree that we uprooted from the ground, and brought into the house. The cute, short people were sneaky and found the gifts before they made it under the bedazzled, and humiliated tree. And what the hell was I supposed to say when they found the wrapping paper?
“I guess Santa uses the same kind we do? He has good taste!” I explained. Why? I must know why and how on earth I am supposed to feel good about lying to the little cherubs?
Don’t misunderstand. I do have decent memories around the holidays; they’re scattered about in my mental Rolodex, and I flip through them occasionally. When I lived in the D.C Metro area, I loved hosting all four of my friends for the feathered Velociraptor dinner tradition coupled with a Star Wars marathon. So, how did I get here? Bitter and bitchy?
Probably since living in the 603 again. We moved to be closer to family because we yearned for that family connection. Neither of us ever felt we truly had it and we thought we’d make an attempt. That hasn’t really happened.
For me, I know it’s because my parent’s still keep me at arms length (sometimes not even that close) for their god and I thought being closer might change that. Nope. God doesn’t calculate mileage. I don’t suspect my husband feels any closer to his either.
The little cherubs I forced myself to lie for all those years ago, are no longer little and what’s more, their mother’s claws are in them so tight, we don’t see much of them while still inhabiting this depressing state.
I’ve flipped the circumstance all around to see it from every possible angle:
- It’s our fault, we don’t reach out enough.
- We’re just too introverted and it’s difficult to connect through our awkward and stand-offish ways, so we’re unintentionally pushed to the side for comfort’s sake.
- I’d have to be a giant hypocrite and sit inside the walls of an austere religious institution to get my parents to even make eye contact.
- Or the sadder and possibly truer version- the people we moved closer to, don’t really care, or care only when it’s convenient.
So my husband and I continue to nuzzle each other and our fur family as we have been. Finding comfort with each other, dumbbells, books, movies and of course food. Doesn’t seem like a viable solution but it works for the interim.
When I was younger, my dad used to torture me with his winter-time, cold hand bit. He’d come in from shoveling the driveway with all my older brothers (don’t get me on the topic of my brothers, I miss having them) and put his freezing cold hands on my neck and laugh, “Cold hands, warm heart!”
Well dad, I’d give anything to feel your cold hands, warm heart. It seems you may have handed down the reverse; cold heart, warm hands; because my hands are always warm this time of year.