“As my walls come crumbling down, I step into the fire with eyes wide shut”
No sketch today. No sketches until after the weekend, actually.
Friday I make the trek up to Massachusetts to spend the Christmas holiday with both side of my family. I’ve always heard people talk about how much they hate Christmas, and I never really paid any attention until recently. I’ve begin to notice the seeds of resentment taking root somewhere in the back of my head concerning this holiday. I think I celebrate it out of routine, out of necessity, as opposed to any real devotion to the spirit of the holiday. I mean, I don’t believe in god, I don’t believe in Jesus or the birth thereof. I haven’t since… who knows when. I was raised Catholic but once I was old enough to think for myself I came to realize that none of it held true for me, in my heart.
So why do I continue to celebrate Christmas? Because it’s what I’m “trained” to do? Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love getting people gifts. I hate the idea that I’m supposed to do it, as in the “you have to get these people gifts because it’s just what you do, and because they’re getting you gifts” idea, but I love giving people things, or making people things that make them happy, or that give them enjoyment. But I have a difficult time receiving presents from people.
Something I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with over the years is receiving something for nothing. It’s why I cannot accept flat out donations, I need to offer CAD Exclusives! in return. Wallpapers, icons, ANYTHING, just so I feel like I’m giving something back. It functions the same with presents, birthday, christmas or otherwise. What have I done to deserve gifts from people? Nothing spectacular, I can assure you. When I was a kid, it was “what do you want for christmas?” and before the sentence was even finished, I had the Toys R Us catalogue out with a pencil and pad of paper. These last few years it is harder and harder for me to supply christmas ideas for people who ask, because I don’t want to be asking for free stuff. And the ideas I do give have become smaller and less expensive.
I guess I’m just becoming disillusioned with the idea of Christmas, and I’m positive damn year everyone has been there at one point or another, so this is nothing unique. I mean, everyone gets so wrapped up in who is getting who what and how much people are spending on them so they can “match” the bar that they set. I mean if two people are spending $50 on eachother, to buy eachother items that they would have bought for themselves if not for the christmas season, why not just go out and buy the item for yourself and save the trouble of the wrapping and the stress, and the drama? Fuck all of it and just get together with the people you care about. Have dinner, go to a movie, play a board game? Socialize and be happy and love and be loved.
But that’s not going to happen. Ever. Not in a blanket sense. Not on a mass scale. It’s only going to get worse and worse.
That all being said, last night I had christmas with my roommates Matt and Briana, and Britanny also came over. I was pretty excited about the idea of having a nice dinner with some of my closest friends. I even made an effort to get “unscrubbified” as has a habit of happening given my occupation, working from home and the total indifference I have to my appearance sometimes. I shaved off the whiskers and stubble that a week’s worth of “meh” had produced, I ditched my t-shirt and comfortable clothes and rummaged through my sweaters.
Matt was making a nice pesto chicken dinner, and we even entertained the idea of cracking open a bottle of wine for dinner. Things sort of went downhill. Matt and Briana were bickering in that not-too-serious way of a couple that you can tell has been together for a long time, and while not angry in any way, still started to cut through my rare holiday spirit. Britanny, who had been putting up a fuss of her own about driving down just to have a little christmas get together with us, was made, by no will of her own, to eat dinner at home, and skip dinner with us at our place. Missing dinner was entirely out of her control, but it was a bit of a dampener that she had been so reluctant to come over in the first place. I had put a whole lot of work into making special gifts for Briana and Britanny, over the course of three weeks amidst my already busy schedule, and I was really excited about having them open them. We’re talking like bursting-at-the-seams anxious to give them their gifts. And knowing that she had pitched in on my gift, I didn’t want to open it without her there. Having her there was important to me. (It should be mentioned that Britanny’s initial reluctance most likely stemmed from very little of her own feelings on the matter, and were probably a result of an over-protective mother that likes to hold leverage over her daughters with guilt and material possessions, IE: do what I say, or we take the car away)
Britanny showed up, and we opened gifts. Matt and Briana and Britanny had all pitched in and gave me the most thoughtful, incredible gift I have ever received in my life, and easily making the list of the best things I have ever received for christmas, right up there next to the Nintendo Entertainment System that my aunt bought for me because my parents wouldn’t get me one (they thought video games would take over my life. Go figure). The only reason that I was able to keep the tears back was because I had had some inkling, some hints at what the gift might be, and I had prepared myself for it on some level. If you want to know what the gift was, check the comic strip on Saturday. (Britanny and Briana liked their gifts, in case you were wondering)
After we were done opening gifts, Britanny took off to see a movie with her boyfriend, and Matt and Briana headed to bed since the World of Warcraft server we play on was down (Blizzard is having login issues. Again). And as I sat alone in my office staring at the present they had given me, it all caught up to me in that one moment, like a kick to the throat. Everything that I dislike about Christmas, all of the expectations, all of the bullshit, and all of the reasons why I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been truly happy during this time of the year. Everything that irritates me, the way that everyone in my family expects some artwork for christmas, just because I’m the artist of the family, as if I don’t draw every single day of my life for a living, and maybe I simply don’t have the time, and the guilt that I feel for not being able to give them what they want. And the fact that it annoys me to all hell that I can predict the exact words that will come out of their mouths about the subject, which only elevates me to anger. And the fact that habitually for the last few years I find a need and a method to self-destruct in some way or another around this time, as if I have some sick reluctance to allow my life to be sane and manageable for too long. I have to find a way to put myself into a difficult, sometimes even explosive situation just so I can worry myself into the grave about it, turn my entire life upside down before finally fixing it only so my life can go back to the way it was, and all I’m left with is the feeling that if I had just known better, if I had been just a little bit more intelligent, I would have seen the disaster coming and swerved out of the way.
But I can’t, because I insist on putting myself in impossible situations where there are no easy answers. I always have to take the difficult road. I always have to betray what I know in my head is best for me, solely so that I can go after what is in my heart. To go after what I want. Because I’m fucking stupid sometimes.
And there’s my holiday ventilation. A type of post that this journal thing was originally meant for, before a fuckton of people started reading it and I completely lost sight of its purpose, and it became just another PR outlet, glossing over anything that might give the impression that I’m a human being, and I’m just as fucked up as the rest of you.
Merry fucking christmas.