Thursday, November 28, 2019

Superesse hodie.

Tis the season for pretending everything is practically perfect in every way. 

Tis the season to act like Pagan traditions are the result of Christian genius.

Tis the season to post thirty things we're thankful for, and then claw the eyes out of a stranger so you can get a 50% off a flat screen TV. Yay, materialism.

Tis the season to decide which set of relatives you prefer to piss off this year, and for unspoken expectations and manipulations from people you *should* be able to trust.

Tis the season for baked-from-scratch pies that somehow turn out perfectly and *never* overflow all over the bottom of your oven, adding another blackened layer to the masses of burned filling from yesteryear.

Tis the season for putting on uncomfortable clothes and making sure your hair is done and your makeup is done and your children are squeaky clean and hair is cut and nails are trimmed and shirts are the fancy kind that button up. And everyone is of course wearing white with absolutely no stains to be seen. Majestic.

Tis the season for smushing yourself and your children and seventeen side dishes no one is going to eat into a car, braving slippery roads and icy cold (at least in our neck of the woods) only to be faced with slippery-er conversation topics and icier looks from your __insert whichever relative is accurate here___.

Tis the season to sit in a too-clean-to-be-real living room and listen to other people's opinions of how you should be living your life while you smile and laugh and complement their shiny baseboards.

Tis the season to be terrified your particularly energetic child with break great-great-great Grandma Ethel's prized china.

Tis the season for beating yourself up about that extra five or ten or twenty pounds and swearing to yourself you'll only have *one* piece of pie, only to find yourself seven slices deep after a particularly sweary conversation with a relative who has political views from the Dark Ages. #shesawiiiiiiitch!

Tis the season, and I am not here for it. I am so fucking over society's expectations of who we *should* be, whom we *should* care about, what we *should* do. I mean, I'm over it YEAR 'ROUND lately, but especially during this season.

Could I be jaded? Abso-fucking-lutely. Thanksgiving was a special holiday when I was a kid. My family was always together, and we'd end up at my Grandma Kookie's house every year or two. Kookie was not like a regular grandma, she was a COOL grandma. And not in any sort of particularly rebellious way, it was just that she loved us all unconditionally regardless of our flaws. If there *is* something I'm thankful for this season, it's that.

MINOR RABBIT TRAIL TO A SOAPBOX: If your family isn't willing to love you for who YOU are and for who YOU need to be, they're not family. They're the people the universe unfortunately stuck you with, because sometimes, the universe is a real dick.

Kookie died September 12, 2016, and Thanksgiving has been hard ever since. Partially because no one can figure out how to make her fucking amazing gravy, and partially because it feels like the unconditional love "glue" that held us all together has disappeared. I haven't been able to make myself go back to her house since she died. I don't feel like I can handle seeing her space without her in it. Maybe someday.

And then, of course, the universe upped the difficulty, as it does, when E died last October. I don't remember much from last year's Thanksgiving. I went for a run, which made me feel like I was going to die, and I ate a lot, and I got very drunk. I think I fell asleep on the couch watching Monty Python.

This second one, it's still incredibly painful, like cry-into-the-gravy painful. But there's a new dimension this year. I feel more "free" than I have in a long time, and I think it's courtesy of getting the fuck over pretending things are sunshine and roses.

Because, well, they're not. Not for me, not for you, and not for your annoying AF relative who keeps posting #blessed selfies, making you fantasize about smothering them in a bowl of mashed potatoes.

I'm tired of pretending. I'm tired of our whole society's obsession with how things look from the exterior. Unbearably broken people can still smile pretty around a perfectly set table. Incredibly fucked up families can tiptoe around their traumas for a day in an attempt to project a "WE'RE OKAY, SEE!?" bat signal to the rest of the world.

For a lot of us, I would even venture to say for MOST of us, today is fucking hard. And that's okay. For us, the remedy is a Stars Wars marathon and pajamas and pie. Simple, and real.

So whether you're mourning today, or dealing with stupid family shit, or are in a dark place, or even if you just hate turkey with a burning passion, I just want to tell you: you are not alone.

You don't have to seize the day. All you have to do is survive it.

~ Caiti

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