Now that Thanksgiving is done and in the bank, of course the whole nation turns its attention to Christmas.
Before I get to that, however, I want to rave about how adding twenty minutes of stretching to my taiji routine when I first get up and sprinkling more stretches throughout the day has really helped my back and my leg by extension. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s amazing how my back pain has nearly disappeared, and the numbness in my right thigh changed into fiery hot pain in the upper thigh, then fiery hot pain just above the knee, and then back to numbness but to a much less degree. Then, after class yesterday, it was back to fiery hot pain, but only for a few seconds. In addition, we did the whole Solo Form (Medium) yesterday, and for the first time ever, I was able to do the whole form without my back hurting like hell by the third section.
However, my sleep is all over the map, which means I’m probably getting sick again. Which, you know, sucks. I’m so fucking tired from the minute I wake up until the minute I drop off to sleep. I also have this thing where if I miss the window for falling asleep, I’m up for a good long time. I was up for nearly twenty hours yesterday, not for any good reason, but just because I couldn’t fall asleep.
Now, let’s talk about NaNoWriMo. I said before it started that I was going to set my own goal because writing 50,000 words a month for me is not a problem. I was already writing 2,000 words a day for months before that, so yeah, I wasn’t worried about 50,000 words. I said I wanted to look into marketing and publishing, but that didn’t happen. I’ve decided I will set aside a different month to do it in. In that month, I’ll lift the 2,000 words a day requirement and focus on editing, marketing, and publishing. I’ve decided which novels I want to publish (one which is on my other website), but I need to do a little updating.
So, what have I been doing this month? Starting four different novels. I worked on the first one for a few weeks, then decided to shelve it. The second one lasted a few days, I think, and the same with the third. Then, I had a conversation with a Twitter friend, @NotSoSilentMajo, who inspired me to start something completely different. I don’t want to talk about it right now because I prefer to wait until I’m done with a novel before talking about it, but I can say it’s urban fantasy. I’ve never attempted fantasy before (though I love reading it), so I’m excited about it in a way that I haven’t been in quite some time. Thank you, @NotSoSilentMajo for giving me the kick in the (not-so-flat yellow) ass that I needed to get out of my rut!
Now. On to Christmas. Me when thinking about it (apropos because I dressed up as Yoko Ono for Halloween one year):
That’s what I’m doing inside the entire holiday season–or to be more specific, Christmas season. I used to hate Thanksgiving as well, but it doesn’t bother me as much lately. Why? Partly because I don’t have in shoved in my face 24/7. There just isn’t as much crass commercialism around Thanksgiving as there is around Christmas. In addition, my relationship with my parents is much different now, so the whole but faaaaaaaaaaaaaaamily bullshit doesn’t bother me as much. I’m not saying it’s a great relationship, but it’s much better than it has been in the past. I’ve said it before, but once I let go of any expectations for the relationship*, it got dramatically better.
Let me put it this way. I no longer want to jump off a cliff after talking to my parents on the phone. Sure, I still feel impatient, sad, and sometimes worried about my mother, but that’s light years better than our conversations making me feel suicidal. I am not being hyperbolic here; I’m deadly serious. So, feeling mildly annoyed, alienated, and worried after the conversation is much preferable.
Back to Christmas. I hate it. I’ve expounded on it many times, but I’ve decided this year that I want to find a better way to get through it than to just be a massive Grinch about it. I mean, it’s valid, and fuck all the people who think I should keep my hatred to myself, but it’s not something that’s adding to my life or making me feel better about the situation. Well, a little better, but not enough to make the stress worth it. So, when I couldn’t sleep last night, I thought of a few alternatives.
- Think of Christmas as that popular TV series that I don’t watch, like Games of Throne. During its heyday, it was fucking everywhere, and you couldn’t escape it. I’d seen one episode, ‘The Red Wedding’ (note: do NOT make ‘The Red Wedding’ your first GoT episode), and I hated it for a plethora reason. The biggest one, however, was the killing of the Direwolf. More to the point, the books are terrible. Or rather, the first one is. I couldn’t make it through five pages without giving up. The prose is turgid and so goddamn purple. Anyway, I used to get pissy about the show being ever-present, but I learned to ignore it. Maybe I can do the same with Christmas.
- Take an sociological viewpoint of it. “Look at the human species scurry around desperately trying to buy the love of their friends and family.” “Oh, why are the expectations so high during this particular holiday? What is society trying to push onto its members?” “Just why is the myth of a jolly fat old man with a white beard and in a red suit so important to the zeistgeist of Americans?” Or even, “Why do British comedies have so much pathos in them?” Er, um, that’s just because I tend to watch Alan Rickman movies for Christmas, and most of the comedies have made me bawl.
- Completely isolate myself from the inundation. This one is impossible, though, because it’s everywhere. There’s a local radio station that has been doing the Christmas creep for the past few years. A few years ago, they started playing Christmas songs 24/7 during the month of December. This year, it started at least a week ago–which is before Christmas, in case you’re counting. In a few years, it’ll be year-round, and I’ll be assimilated into The (Christmas) Borg.
- Volunteer somewhere. It’s a good way to get out of my own head. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Try to find the humor in the bullshit. One of my major pet peeves about Christmas are the commercials. They all boil down to, “If you love someone, you’ll buy them a really expensive gift (diamonds, a car, etc.) to show your love.” It just seems especially twisted to me to coldly exploit the sentiments of the season to make a few bucks (yay, capitalism!). My absolute least favorite of these commercials is the every Kiss starts with a K commercials (diamonds) so I get great satisfaction in tweeting snark such as, “That Kay sure gets around!”. My other least favorite is the one where a man is giving his wife a new car, and she’s ecstatic, but as she’s squealing her happiness, another car drives by, and suddenly, her joy turns to despair. I’m sure it’s Lexus or something like that, and it’s guaranteed to set me over the edge. “You only love me enough to buy me a new Honda? I need a man with a Lexus kind of love!”
- Ignore it. Whenever someone mentions it, answer something completely different. “What are you doing for the holidays?” “I’ve been sick lately, but I’m feeling better, thanks.” “I asked where you’re going for Christmas?” “Why, yes, I do like snow, thank you for asking.” Pushed to the limit, it could be extremely amusing–at least for me.
The bottom line is, Christmas in all its overwrought excess is not going anywhere, and do I really want to waste a month of my favorite season being pissed off about it? I do not. I want to enjoy the cold and the snow (where my snow at?!?) unabated, which means I need to change the way I think about it.
*Yes, it’s a relationship even though there are two of them because basically they are one person. Or rather, my mother’s life revolves around my father’s. It’s really goddamn frustration, but none of my business since my mother actively feeds into it.