Black Friday Needs a Makeover
What in THEEEE bleep?!?
Screenshot of Bitmoji's trending suggestions for today:
I am genuinely horrified, especially considering what all the top bitmojis, memes, and GIFs were for yesterday:
Technically, the trending order went like this:
--Turkey Time and varied food-related 'mojis
--Gluttony and regrets
Shades of the inevitable descent to come...
What, did the world wake up with a kindness hangover this morning? Now we gotta detox from too much gratitude and generosity by pendulum-swinging to emotional numbing, addiction, violence, self-sabotage, greed, and gluttony disguised as shrewd thrift?
Because genuine gratitude and unconditional love multiplies in one’s heart, no matter how or even IF it’s reciprocated. It doesn’t leave a hole that needs to be stuffed with Things at 5:00 AM (excuse me, 3:00 AM) and it REALLY doesn’t incite throwing ‘bows over the last Arendell Castle, or trampling fellow humans to get in there first.
What IS that?!?
Oh. Ummmm...yeah. That'd be toxic, unhealthy, codependent entanglement, not Love.
Grateful moment 1,538 of the holiday: that I was born to my parents.
Now before anybody's panties get into a bunge over "well lucky-ducky you, my parents sucked/didn't exist!" please don't misunderstand. I KNOW how uniquely blessed I am in this department. I may have won the Shit-Show Lottery for some other aspects of life, but this is where the Universe decided to throw me a bone.
During all the years when my parents had $5 left for the month after paying bills, they taught me budgeting, treating myself and others extravagantly in $0-5 ways, a lack of need for store-bought and especially brand name everything to feel okay about myself, and feeling blessed with what we DID have because it could have been 1000 times worse—like it was for others.
They taught me to look past hand-me-down knockoff jeans, generic mac-n-cheese, and even grubby clothes somebody’s smoker parents hadn’t washed in too many days. They taught me instead to see a potential friend.
They taught me the irreplaceable, immeasurable value of Barbie clothes crocheted, beaded and sewn by hand, in spite of the ridicule my dolls received from the other girls.
They taught me to recycle, repurpose, repair, and come up with creative solutions to problems. My winter coat was made from my dad’s old, worn-out Air Force jacket. My Mandy doll’s clothing matched mine because we couldn’t afford store-bought—not for me, and certainly not for a doll. Her clothes were made from the scraps of mine. I had one-of-a-kind patches on my old ripped jeans, and sparkly, variegated rick-rack on my purple pants, and I thought they were groovy, no matter what the rest of the neighborhood said.
They were, after all, examples of Love.
One year, the workshop was blocked off for months before Christmas as my dad made me a sandbox dump truck set. He used my old plastic baby rings for the wheels, along with the leftover wood from the couch he and my mom had built. The wood itself came from the crates that my parents’ items were shipped in when they got married.
I still have that Mandy doll and her wardrobe, as well as the Wizard of Oz finger puppets my mom crocheted. I have the red pleather-bound budget book my dad passed on to me at my high school graduation. I also have the letter of his wisdom and advice for adulting, and these are among the most cherished gifts I have ever received in my life.
That’s holiday spirit.
The kind of spirit that is not reserved for one special day, or even a whole Hashtag Month. The word "holiday" comes from the Old English word hāligdæg which means "holy day". My parents taught me, in their everyday actions, to take care of things--to treat them sacredly--so they would last longer.
And we do.
Is ours the “perfect-well-aren’t-you-just-soooo-special” family dynamic? Hells no. But it has left me astounded, shocked, and just plain confused by the ways people treat each other, especially those they call family, since I was about 4 years old.
It grieves me to my marrow that there are scads of my fellow humans who have no clue what such parental and familial care feels like. And to have this deplorable Black Friday attitude such a sweeping societal mindset that it has created multiple screen lengths of Bitmoji trend?!?
That is a travesty.
Like…I’m heartbroken for this. And outraged.
It makes me deeply angry that people who SAY they know holiday spirit and who broadcast #HaveABlessedDay through saccharine smiles still throw elbows and dollars they don’t have on my least favorite day of the year.
If this “blessed, grateful, thankful” trend was more than a fad designed mostly for The Face on social media—if it was doing its deep work neurologically, chemically, energetically, emotionally, mentally, physically—then we would see the shockwaves of this societally.
Is it better than it was?
Some things definitely are, and for that I am grateful. Devotion to the practice is certainly transforming me.
So let's keep at it because there's still a long way to go. When the doors unlock at that mall, lurking ugly truths come out like the bulls in Pamplona. These raging runners are in such an emotional deficit that it's clear all this “gratitude” they’ve been gumming and hash-tagging hasn’t made a dent.
I mean, come on. There is even a website called Black Friday Death Count. (According to this article on Reviews.org, Arkansas was voted #1 last year as the top state for Black Friday Violence. Joy. Go me! Precisely why I decided to stay ensconced at my parents’ house, puking out a ranty blog post over coffee and orange rolls. We did our weekly family grocery run on Wednesday instead of the traditional Friday—at which, I might add, mom almost got run over multiple times by self-absorbed, pre-holiday cart-shovers in too much of a hurry to notice there were…um…other humans in the store?!?)
The historical stigma—the reality of greed, violence, prejudice, and theft that taints the birth of the original Pilgrim holiday still runs oozing, festering tentacles through this whole weekend. The Black Friday Death Count is a fitting progeny.
If a holiday celebration is not just a slightly larger expression of love trends demonstrated every day all year, then it isn’t a HolyDay. At best, it's a rock and a hard place. Otherwise, it's Humans Still Acting Badly with cheap makeup on for one afternoon. Much like chocolates and sweeping affection on Valentine's Day to repent for a year of neglect (or worse).
Woo-saaaaaaah, Judgy McJudgerson.
What would the Dalai Lama say? (about anger, fear, hate)
What would the Dalai Lama say? (about materialism)
What would the Dalai Lama say? (about the keys to happiness...including delightful fart jokes)
Well, obviously he's way better at this than I am. In the meanwhile, I’m grateful that at least crap like this still chaps my day-after Turkey Lips and my butt. It keeps me in check when I start to slip into my worst self. It pokes me in the forehead when I rant like this and asks me to seek out where I, too, suck—and then DO something about it.
Even something little, like popping off all Black Friday Bloggidy instead of adding another body to the fray. In exchange for battling the crowds, we’ll gush over the leftovers about how blessed we are that we can afford such a feast that we have leftovers—and that we have each other.
Something we do amidst EVERY meal we share because it is one of the most important things to do in the world. To notice whatever particular breed of blessing has been granted in our unique lives at each unique time period in which we're still breathing. To give thanks. Aloud. Often.
And even more often--silently in the heart and mind, where nobody else is around to observe and click "LIKE."
For anybody filling holes with department store specials on too much borrowed money after running down someone with your cart and not even looking back...
I am filled to capacity and overflowing with a type of wealth that obviously has you in the red.
Please, please, have some of mine. I’ll just leave my outpouring heart-radiation running on Perpetual Motion a little extra during this time that is such a stress-ball for so many. 🙏💖🙏
I will also leave you with these questions that once set me frothing and foaming, but that I now whupp my own arse with on a regular basis:
1) Which aspects of that stress have you CHOSEN?
2) What “reward” do you get out of it?
3) And what are you going to DO about that now that you’re aware of it?
Because we might not be able to pick our blood relatives. But every second of every day, we who are old enough have the ability to choose how close we allow people. We can choose who we call Family. This is the essence of self-defense, which is simply a facet of self-love. When done well, with great compassion, it is also a facet of loving others.
Is it easy to establish boundaries or cut ties when those who share our immediate genealogy (or legal papers) are toxic to us?
It’s a very simple concept. But I wouldn't always call it easy. Still, it’s worth it and it gets easier with practice.
There’s a reason why they say to put your own oxygen mask on first. I think that’s the only way to make any sort of dent in these disheartening trends. To first clean up our own mess so that a positive impact ripples out to all we’re intimately entwined with, and then let THOSE shockwaves keep rolling until Black Friday is transformed into something else.
🖤 Instead of plumping the coffers of the Seven Deadlies, perhaps this day should become about getting our hearts back into the black. 🖤