Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: loneliness

You’re a lonely one, Mr. Grinch

We’ve all heard the song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”–especially at this time of the year. We know the story (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!), and I think Grinch has gotten a bad rap. It’s been a while since I’ve seen, but I have to admit I have much sympathy in my heart for him. He’s just going about his business trying to keep himself to himself. Then, the whole town is all LISTEN TO OUR LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS CHRISTMAS MUSIC MR. GRINCH LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LISTEN TO US SING LOUDLY MR. GRINCH MR. GRINCH MR. GRINCH!!!!

He’s all, “I can’t see you, you’re not there, lallallalalallallala,” which would be my tactic.

Underneath it, though, I’m sure he was hurting. He saw all these happy families and was only reminded of the emptiness in his own life. I can relate. Not because I don’t have friends and family–I do, but because of the relentless reminder of how you’re supposed to be soaked in the festive atmosphere. Even as isolated as I am from society in general, I can’t escape it. If it’s not the fucking insipid Christmas songs that are playing when I go into the grocery store, it’s the incessant posts on FC and Twitter and the websites I visit about the holly and the jolly.

I wrote about how I was trying to be more chill about it, but my hackles are automatically raised when I hear yet another Christmas carol or see yet another picture of a decorated tree. I know my reaction is out of proportion to what’s actually happening (people are not Christmasing AT me), but it’s still intensely irritating. It’s like any other popular media that I can’t escape–it’s alienating not to be in on the good cheer. Actually, it’s worse because you’re expected to be into Christmas. There are exceptions, of course, if you’re from other religions, but if you’re areligious such as I am and raised Christian, you’re expected to love Christmas as much as everyone else does. Or if not love it, then at least be neutral about it (read, shut up with your negativity). I’ve seen people complain about people who put anti-Christmas posts on their FB walls (which I’ve done), saying, “Why can’t we just enjoy this?” implying that those of us who don’t like Christmas are not-Christmasing at THEM.

That’s the problem with being in the minority–everything you do is put under a microscope. When you’re the majority, your behavior is considered the norm, so it’s not questioned. It’s similar to, say, when NFL players protest police brutality, and fans say something like, “Don’t bring politics into my sportsball enjoyment!” There are already politics in your goddamn football game, but because they align with your values, you don’t recognize them. Pointing out the sexism or the racism or queerphobia in something isn’t bringing politics into the picture because they’re already there.┬áIt’s the same with Christmas. Me pointing out that it’s become a crass commercialized money grab isn’t me bringing politics into Christmas–it’s me pointing out what’s already there.

To get more personal with it, I’ve always had a problem with how we’re all supposed to be filled with good cheer and goodwill towards our fellow human during this specific time because we should be doing that all year round. It’s feels way too performative to me, and that’s how I feel about the holiday in general. There are also way too many expectations of how the holidays *should* be (which is evident from all the threads in advice columns dealing with family expectations), which ends up with hurt feelings. People put way too much pressure on the holidays to make up for childhood disappointments (and don’t even realize what they’re doing), and the real thing can never live up to the ideal.

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A Voice in the Wilderness

all by myyyyself
Party of one.

I’ve never been a joiner, and I don’t particularly care for groups. I find that no matter how liberal the group, there is a core mentality to which you have to adhere in order to be embraced. Otherwise, you’re tolerated at best, coldly snubbed at worst. As anyone who has interacted with me knows, I’m not a follower. I have a hard time with authority for various reasons, but mostly because I’m wary of a concentrated amount of power, no matter how just it might seem. In addition, we are all tribal at heart, whether we want to admit it or not, so the temptation to skew to the group norm is great. It’s not always a conscious thing, which makes it harder to recognize in yourself.

I’ve talked before about being a contrarian in part as a defense against falling into herd mentality. It’s partly because I tend to see things as multifaceted rather than as one thing or the other, which makes arguing on social media an exercise in frustration and futility. What I haven’t talked much about is how lonely it makes me feel a lot of the time. Despite my rather brash persona online and my prolific use of cuss words, I have a rather pathological need to please people. Or rather, not to offend people I care about and/or respect. Even when I disagree, I strive to find a way not to make it obvious that I’m doing so. It goes past trying to find common ground; I simply cannot tell someone I think they’re wrong without feeling overwhelmingly guilty. I’ll point out discrepancies or edge around the issue, but very rarely can I say, “I don’t agree.” I think there’s value in being polite or trying to see the other person’s point of view, but there is a limit. My way of dealing with issues in which I have a firm opinion is to not talk about it. For example, I am about as leftist as you can get on the topic of abortion. I think it should be legal all the time without question. Since I know I have no budge to give on the topic, I don’t discuss it with anti-choicers because there’s no point. I won’t change their mind, and they certainly will not change mine. Yes, I used to write about it ad nauseam, but that was just me preaching to the choir.

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