I’m going to be honest with you: this Christmas I just wanted to wallow.
My country appears to be on the verge of inaugurating a dangerous, emotionally unstable ignoramus to the highest office in the land. And last month, my friend who was hanging by a thread in an ICU in Texas passed away. His death has ripped open a whole host of wounds I still have about my mother’s death in 2014. Oh, also, I have a persistent sinus infection and a booming cough, and my back hurts.
This year I didn’t want to deal with a tree. I didn’t want to bake and cook and bond with my friends, go anywhere or see anyone. I wanted to hole up in my house and succumb to my sadness and listen to Joni Mitchell singing River over and over while I ate cans of Almond Roca and fretted endlessly about the prospect of life under fascism.
But I’m celebrating Christmas anyway. As we move through this darkest part of the year with its short days and winter storms and the parade of horrific news of violence, terror attacks and uncertainty, it is an act of defiance to be joyous and hopeful.
My late friend would have been 40 on 23 December, and it’s for the sake of his and my mother’s memory most of all that, this year, I’m going for broke – bows, wrapping paper, ostentatious tree. Maybe in going through the motions, the spark of joy will catch and begin to blaze.
Many Americans are facing dark times right now. My immigrant boyfriend, my friends of color, my trans friends and my Muslim friends are looking at the next four to eight years with a mixture of dread and a kind of grim acceptance that things could only ever get so good in this messed-up, racist country before the old white guys brought the boot back down.
Now we’re going to have to learn to generate hope ourselves rather than through faith in our leaders, and to care for and guide one another through the dark days ahead. We are going to have to be brave and loving and wary and vigilant. This makes it even more important to me to blaze up the lights and the joy this Christmas.
And when I find that my mind is racing in helpless frantic circles and my years-long battle with depression and anxiety is starting to feel like Waterloo, nothing helps like immersing myself in making something, creating something or doing something kind for someone else. It’s a lot harder for my fears and anxiousness to seize the wheel when I’m chopping onions and frying them in butter or inhaling the resin-y, cool green aroma of a freshly cut Christmas tree.
Something LGBTQ people learned a long time ago is that when the world is against you, nothing is as powerful as flamboyant joy – singing, dancing, creating or just nurturing our “found families” of fellow misfits and outcasts.
If you go and look at rightwing Twitter right now – and I don’t recommend that you do – the racists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and angry white conservatives are rejoicing in the pain and sadness of “snowflake”, “cry-baby” liberals.
So my Christmas wish for all of us is that we don’t give them any tears to gloat about. They can take the White House; they can occupy both houses of Congress. But they can’t occupy my house. And at my house, this year, come hell or high water, we’re celebrating love, and new beginnings and hope. Even if – at first – I have to fake it.
🎁 Source: Guardian UK