this time of year

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I’ve always been quite horrendous at the holiday tradition.

The holidays certainly exist as a period not of absolute joy, nor bubbling merriment, for me, but instead, of poignance, of a great deal of introspection, to an excessive degree. It sounds very strange, obviously, but the holidays terrify me always, every year, because everything feels so finite and so horribly brief. Nothing feels permanent. Traditions thrive, yes, but they only serve as a reminder of all that has so blatantly, and subtly, changed. I find myself thinking it, as Christmastime begins to near, as the dark, seemingly vacant streets simultaneously and abruptly light up. I find myself thinking unbearably wishful thoughts. X isn’t here anymore; Y doesn’t want to be here anymore; I’m growing up, why am I growing up, I don’t want to grow up; I hate socialization more than menimism; god help me, save me.

Perhaps all of this comes off as rather melodramatic for simply having to deal with the holidays, but there is no way around it. The holidays bring up things we’d rather not remember, memories arise of people and feelings lost long ago; hope feels, at once, possible and purposeless. We fall headfirst in love with one another all over again, leave caution to the wind and try to be better, try to be honest. Beautiful, it is, but terrible, as well.

I don’t claim to be a victim. I am unfathomably privileged to even possess the ability to spend the holidays with my family, in a safe environment, surrounded by the people I love. I understand this, I do, but honestly, gratitude cannot permeate every experience you have. It is too difficult.

Holidays exist to allow us to express effusions of our appreciation, of our gratitude, to life, to those who bring meaning to it. Holidays wish to give us a final chance. One last moment before time runs out. Before we start over again. And again, and again, until we find ourselves tired as hell and ready to depart, on our deathbeds. Morbidity and I are awfully close, I realize now.

Holidays also, currently, exist as the very grandiose, ridiculous peak of American capitalism, of consumerism, of nonsense and materialism and money being thrown around, frivolousness and appreciation blurred carelessly into one muddled mess of buying buying buying. I am not claiming that I am blameless, I too am a product of America, of the once-a-year, cheesy, artificial-everything nightmare that is holiday shopping. There undoubtedly is beauty in everything, in all of this bright, cold madness. The days tire on, though, and I grow all too restless for the quiet to return.

The night grows darker far more quickly and the words become stuck behind my lips, trapped, and it’s scary. It’s quiet and there’s fires burning in every household, warmth spreading, but the cold sweeps in just as quickly. Hope fades into heartache and we are left, wishing. Wishing for Santa Claus, wishing for a new world to crack open this one.

Wishing to reignite ourselves, because during the holidays, we see how burnt we have become, what ashes we have become. Is there light? Is there a chance of a sparkling? There is, somewhere. There has to be.

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