bah humbug. it's christmas. again. i tried to run, but there's no point in hiding any longer. it's time to face the musak and embrace the empty calories, and curl up on the rug beside the fire. very reluctantly. while everyone else is dreaming of sugar plums, i am puzzling and puzzling. no, i didn't get a jigsaw of Paris under the tree, i'm pondering why why WHY december brings the anxiety, guilty tummy squirmy worms and bitter attitude. if i were a bear i'd be gnawing on my foot, licking my tufts, fur flying everywhere with bleary puppy dog eyes. why oh WHY?!
remember in the "Grinch" when the rich, economically stable Whos get all their nicknacks and pattywacks stolen and are robbed of their roasted beast? of course you do. it was a horrible, unjust moment in Who society, melting our regular-sized hearts. but the Whos dance and sing and join hands anyway. crisis: averted. and we learned that maybe christmas is about a little bit more than all that other crap. *sigh*
nope not true. christmas is still about all THAT and more, more *insert dollar signs here*. of course i heard the chrimstas stories as a a child. it was fun to listen to, but at the end i was still secretly prayed my mountain of toys would never be grinched. tumbling down the stairs, my body running on glee and the excitement of seeing all the toys under the tree for me, me, me. and of course i cherished being surrounded by family. breakfasting on chocolate once a year, being bundled up like a over-cooked lobster to teeter outside in the holy snow, and having my goblet filled with holiday nog and watching my stomach grow with turkey... my friends and strangers alike, on TV and in movies, had the same experiences, the same visions and memories of the bestest day of the year: christmas.
TRADITION. tradition... addiction. isn't repetition the definition of insanity?
as i grew, i watched the stuff i had wanted and had to HAVE HAVE HAVE become outdated, broken, soooo lame, taking up space. my parents are divorced, so i could never spend time with both sides; it was a battle to choose, this or that. having and wanting grows exhausting. all the tears i had shed over dolls and packaged-up plastics and electronics is energy i can never get back again. energy i could have use my creative mind to build something, learn to sew or understand advanced functions and relations. with all the hustle in the malls and on the streets, the forced cheers and jolliness and scramble to make plans to see each other, i began to question, to descend into madness and turn my plastered on grin upside down. if christmas doesn't come from the store, then why are we going there? why aren't we learning a little bit more?
christmas is only white because it exists in the western world. as i loaded up thousands of dollars worth of gift cards in my retail job, and listen to the endless loop of carols that have been playing since november, i understand WHY i don't want to be apart of this christmas we have created here. i got a letter from a few kids i met in a village in Ghana. they are excited about christmas because they got to sleep in and go to church and read together and sing as a family without worrying about chores for once. the sun there is very hot and bright today. they ask me when i will come to visit and please can i bring my iPod so they can listen to some of the music my friends and i wrote. and maybe, could i help them to write a story. i know they can help me too.
our society needs to be grinched. scrooge the line-ups and the price tags and the piles of wrapping gone unrecycled. let the kids wake empty handed, forced to play with the trinkets of yesteryear. if i could go back, i would tell my parents to never have given in to my complaints and when begged for this, that and all. to give me nothing in hopes that i could find something meaningful for myself. coal is actually the smartest gift of all because then you can start a fire. i'm sure Einstein didn't cry because he didn't get an eazy bake oven under the tree. and he turned out fine, even without an iPad. fads and junk will just end up at the dumb. and we'll be the dump bears looking back and sorting through it all, piece by piece. *growl*
after work yesterday, in the bitter cold, amidst the rushing parents and rude prada-clad customers, i met my best friend on the stone cold steps on the street a few stores down from the giant coffee shop she works for. exhausted and downtrodden, we exchanged gifts right there on the stoop. for the first time in a long time, i felt the magic of christmas. there we were, frozen, overworked and with hardly any money to spend. we laughed. the presents were perfect: a microphone and harlequin romance for me (singing and lusty love, my favourite!) and caramel tea and a loose-leaf tea filter and for her, so we can drink tea together at home. we joked that we are celebrating "homeless christmas": alone on the streets, drifting from experiences, trying to find ourselves, banding together with the other have-not/want-nots and creating the most magical moments out of the little things.
awkward "framily" palaroid taken at Homelesz Xmas party. It was a Value Village, No Frills, homemade alcohol and re-used board game affair to remember!
forget christmas. i barely remember the presents that piled up for me other years. what i do remember are the challenging experiences (almost completing my degree, bartending at a busy night club, killer bees in Burkina Faso) when i was forced to fend for myself, think with my brain (though I still never re-tackled advance fuctions..next christmas!). for me christmas is about nothing. because without nothing i would never be able make something for anyone and appreciate the truly amazing friends, family and family of friends i have discovered along the way.
call me a cranky old cranky-pants. scrooge you and i hope you get grinched.
JOY TO THE WORLD! MAY ALL YOUR CHRISTMASES BE DIVERSE!