I’m one of those maniacs that doesn’t mind the Christmas decorations in stores during October. And if it were possible I’d lobby for it to be Christmas all year long. Regardless of the fact that I cringe at the thought of all the glittery paper that’s wasted and my ancestors have been cursed with an alarmingly strong Gravy Fail gene, I don’t care. I am in love with all the jolly and lights and fake icicles and antique ornaments that have been in my family since my great grandfather was alive and just the whole hullabaloo that surrounds the holidays. The rushing around and planning of menus. The wreaths and candy canes and the chance to wear more black velvet. I’m a fool for it all, even though I had to endure the explosion of my first Susie Homemaker Oven at the age of six—this horrifying experience never snuffed out one ounce of my inner Elfness. As a matter of fact, if I could, I would have pursued a degree in Elfhood if it weren’t for the fact that I look terrible in hats.
What about you? Don’t you just love it all? Even the assholes in the stores who cut in front of you in line? Even the relatives you’d never have in your life were you not connected through DNA? Isn’t there a glowy feel to the air and the sky and the faces of people in the cars next to you who you’re certain are headed to the airport to pick up someone coming in from far away? I don’t care what the Grincheys say. I adore it all and I always have and I believe that when I’m 90 I’ll still be wrestling with that last string of lights with that one vagabond bulb that won’t go on because I know that, when it comes to Christmas, you can always use more glimmering color.
Happy Merry Ho,
…and here is the place where I go to find solace and peacefulness and quiet when my revved up motor won’t turn off. The light. The way the leaves reflect every gorgeous bit of sun that was meant for them to be glorious. And me, peering through the frame of them, winding down, calming.
…and there are those giant building sized trees that line Virginia Avenue in Pasadena where I go and park my car and settle myself among them. No matter how many times I see them I can’t take in their grandeur, the way they hover above everything below them, reminding dogs and birds and people that being big is a beautiful thing.
…and that bench along the bluffs in Palisades Park. The one with the Cypress that stretches over it like an umbrella. While the people walk by it’s just me there, coddled and protected by that blissful combination of sitting and being shaded at the same time.
…and I go to these places every chance I get. The secret, lovely places that make me know it will all work out fine in the most gentle way, in the way that is meant for me to be more of who I am.
Yours In Those Overwhelmingly Sweet Places,
Sergeant Shriney Shrinerson
Dear Big Kahuna,
I know you’re schedy is chalk full of requests for creamy gravy and not-too-salty mashed potatoes right now but if you could see fit, I’d be ever so grateful if you could remind me every other second, that my perspective is all that matters. Like, when I make little brain judgements about how things are going to go as the holidays approach, could you swat me on the head lightly and whisper in my ear that I know nothing? Because I know, in the past, when I’ve been able to open my heart and my mind to the infinite possibilities of, well, all that’s possible I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that I’m not steering the boat if you know what I mean. In other words, if you could send me a text or an email or simply a message floating on the wind telling me to keep my big buttinsky butt out of how I think things should go instead of how they are actually going I would be the happiest pilgrim on earth, amen, thanks a billion, you may be seated.
In my senior year of high school, as I was strolling down the long staircase that was the focal point of the gargantuan Humanities Building, wearing a dress and carrying a pile of books that was equal in weight to a cord of wood, I violently slipped and fell, face first, down the unforgiving steps. I remember that my first thought was that everyone would see my underwear and this was my only concern because I had my period and, at that time, girls primarily wore Maxi-Pads. I hurtled full force into the swarms of other students, my 900 page anatomy, geography and political science books clocking several of them in the abdomen. When the floor finally stopped me, I lay there crumpled in the fetal position, desperately reaching for the bottom of my dress to make sure no one could see my butt. People gathered around me and helped me up and, of course, I burst into tears which caused a melt down of my four layers of mascara to run down my face as if I were Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera. But my rescuers were unphased. They gathered my books, they patted my hair and they took me to the nurses office where I was put back together and made new.
I always think of that experience when I lose my footing today. When I burrow down the rabbit hole or I follow a story line that involves nothing but hideous, self-defacing mush. I long for a group of screaming yet helpful people to come to my rescue and take me to the nurse’s office so she can make me whole again. And I long for the aftermath that involves all the loving follow-up-ers. The How Are Yous? and the Are You Okays?
I know there will always be times when I miss two, three, twenty steps and go hurling, confused, into the abyss. But I’ve come to familiarize myself with my snap back schedule—that time when I am able to get up off the floor, spruce up my mind and my outfit and, goddammit, be on my merry way.
Yours In Whoops,
Florence Fancy Feet
There are nights at the beach that the fog gets so thick that I can’t feel my own heart beat. It creeps in slowly and settles in aggressively like a bad cold, waiting to steal any zest for life that may be lingering. I’ve always thought of the thick misty air as a manifestation of the unsettled feeling I have in my bones when winter comes, however, this unsettled feeling comes with just the slightest amount of reluctant excitement.
Now is the time for cozy, is what I think over and over again as I struggle to see the old man across the street, obscured by the blanket of haze, waiting for the bus.
I long for and am repelled by the damp evenings of winter because, along with the dampness, stillness comes. And stillness has always represented my longing for movement. To clean every nook and cranny in my house. To clear out all the unknowns that lurk in my chest. To wipe away all the things that aren’t necessary and burrow down under a blanket until the sun shines again and I no longer have an excuse to bury myself in eerie silence.
Mind the Chilly,
Hyacinth Hunker Down