MY ANNIVERSARY HOLIDAY TRIGGER DAY: WT-Actual-F, 2020?!
Updated: Sep 20, 2022
🔥Written yesterday...left to ferment overnight...still highly combustible.🔥
Before we get to the mushy stuff:
🎄This one is for The Unseeable.
🔥The Shoved Aside.
It's for everybody who's gone through a catastrophic loss that just hap-hap-happened to coincide with the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
It's for all of you being told to stop harshing everybody's sacrosanct Holiday Vibes with your crying, moping, and raging. Didn't you know? You just need to keep that shit to yourself and wait for two weeks when people require a distraction after having to go back to work.
This post is for everyone who's being treated like an ass-pimple--like you ignored the memo reminding the world that it's time for the Celebratory Shutdown so y'all need to stop getting sick or injured, and don't you dare die.
We remember to send extra thanks to the Essential Crews who devote their precious time and energy to helping those in need during the holidays. Not as often as we should, considering the size of the gift...but we do remember that. We make memes and signs. We send cards. We (used to) deliver cookies to fire departments and nurses. We make charitable donations and volunteer our time.
We also remember to visit those in hospitals and nursing homes (back when we could). For those few visiting hours, it's our sole purpose to brighten their day and remind them that they're not forgotten. We even (sometimes) remember to go out and feed those who have no home or invite them into warm shelters for holiday meals (now 6 feet apart).
This post is for a very different and overlooked demographic.
It's for the scads of people suffering alone in their houses.
It's for the scads of people who live with a huge family, and are still suffering alone because at this time of year, the most important thing to do is Put On That Happy Face.
Count Those Blessings.
Just Be Grateful You're Alive.
This one is for everybody who's sick of hearing that shit.
This is for everybody who is NOT helped, but rather is further harmed by those sentiments, because there's no access to the kind of help that would have been given to them if they'd gotten hurt or sick at any other time of the year.
It's for everyone who's out there, terrified and in pain right now, but getting nothing but crickets-crickets-crickets because the world has abruptly ceased functioning.
I mean, what were you thinking? Why didn't you wait until January 4 for your inappropriate need for help outside of an emergency room? Couldn't you have just held off being rammed by that drunk driver coming back from her Christmas Partay? What were you even doing on the road, sober at that time of year? And now you need help? Pffffft.
Well, the world needs a break, so you need to tread water and desperately try to keep your children's noses afloat while fending off sharks because we're too busy blowing off our steam and vegging--and don't you DARE bring us down with the reminder of your existence and the fact that you don't get a holiday this year. You're breathing and Life Is A Blessing. What more do you want in your stocking?
You know what? Just go off in the corner and be silent for half a month until life resumes in January.
That's what it feels like.
And I was one of the lucky ones. I had loving, attentive parents who bombed across the country when I couldn't fly to them. I had a handful of friends and miraculous strangers who went out of their way to help me survive. I had people who made sure I didn't get evicted or starve. I had one godsend of a medical practitioner who opened his office on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to treat me at a crucial time in my recovery.
The rest SUCKED. Naturally. It was a trauma.
But it was made into Pure Hell by the fact that it happened while the world shut down for the holidays.
There are people out there at this very moment, suffering and drowning amidst all this cheer, with even less help and love than what I received. 2020 is a particularly catastrophic year for that. C'mon, it's a Plague Year. Plagues crumble empires, so a city? A neighborhood? A family?
Our society isn't set up for human beings. We put so much pressure on people all year long, and the moment they get sick, injured, or suffer a devastating trauma...we'd rather throw them away and replace the malfunctioning cog so the machine's productivity will not be interrupted.
Heaven help you if you should need help when the cogs have ground to a desperately needed halt just so they can keep at baseline functionality for another fucking year.
I'm glad you're on vacation. You've earned it! I'm glad that you're celebrating and blowing off steam and rejuvenating and looking for every gilded glimmer in this thunderstorm of a year in all the ways that inspire you most.
For everyone who IS working, volunteering, or going out of their way to help someone in need...I don't have words for the kind of gratitude and honor you deserve.
But I didn't pound out this post for y'all.
I wrote it for you way over there, trembling in the corner and wishing that your holiday treat had any taste in your mouth. And for you over there, with no holiday treats. And for you, with all these holiday treats you made--
And suddenly no one to share them with, because it happens to be your turn at the Wheel of Fortune's suckalicious spin.
It is abysmal that you're alone and scared right now.
It is abysmal that you have an additional burden to carry compared to everybody whose tragedies will happen two months from now.
It is unconscionable that the world tells you your pain, fears, and feelings are invalid, ungrateful, immature, and unwelcome because the Northern Hemisphere holly bushes are full of berries.
I SEE you.
I HEAR you.
December 23, 2010
Forty-eight years old
Thank you, flashbacks.
Thank you, nightmares.
Thank you, panic attacks.
Thank you, stupid, insidious little voice that hisses over and over, "Are you sure? Are you reeeeeeeally sure you wanna get in that car?"
YES. I'm really, really sure I need to get in that fucking car and drive it for twenty minutes on the afternoon when gobs of people are getting off work and traveling for the damn holiday.
Because my right hand is numb.
Why is my right hand numb? Because I have subluxations in my cervical vertebrae that require the work of a chiropractor to correct. And why do I have that? Because of a drunk Christmastime driver and an abusive ex.
Now naturally, it's the fucking holidays, which means my chiropractor won't be open next week, or the week after. He deserves a break. He works his ass off. We all deserve a break.
AND it still means I'm gonna have to go for more than a month with no adjustment because I can't get in that cursed car and drive while I'm having flashbacks and nightmares and stupid panic attack BULLSHIT PTSD ANNIVERSARY CRAP!!!!!
Cuz I'm SCAWED.
I cannot force my terrified animal-brain to stop freaking out. I am C-3PO. I have nothing but a "bad feeling about this." When I hush the paranoid droid and pet it and try to assuage it with my fingers wrapped around the steering wheel, it retaliates by slamming images into my mind. Memories and not-memories-but, "This is what could happen if you pull out of this safe widdle parking lot and get out into the big, bad world."
So I get to live with YOUR mistake and YOUR violence for the rest of my life.
Thank you. (I love blame-game days.)
2020 is a continual echo of what happened when that woman blasted into my bumper two decades ago, especially now that we're at That Time of Year. All this history is repeating.
Holidays: CANCELLED. Life: CANCELLED. I was supposed to fly to Christmas: NOPE. I was supposed to dance all weekend: NOPE. I was supposed to work and be able to put food on my table: NOPE. I was supposed to start touring for dance: NOPE. I was supposed to have a new loving boyfriend and enjoy falling in lurve and experience AllTheHappySex and go to parties and have coffee and see my friends--hells, I was supposed to even HAVE friends.
NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.
After a Holiday Humbug Drunk rammed me three days before Christmas Eve, there were suddenly a gazillion things I needed to deal with. Emergency things. Dire things. But during the Hap-Hap-Happiest Season of All?!?!?
Have you ever had an emergency come down during the holidays?
Then you know.
If you haven't, you have no clue. I think a whole lot of you are starting to understand now. One of my friends that I hadn't spoken to in years called to catch up the other day. "So?" she asked with that tone of expectation. "Has this year hit you as hard as it's hit most people?"
I had to force myself not laugh because my answer was, "No. It hasn't."
There was a surprised pause, followed by an, "Oh," that sounded more like, "Must be nice."
Then I explained myself: "Because this is what I've been doing for the majority of the past twenty years. I didn't have very far to fall. The level I've been surviving at isn't much farther down from how I'm existing now."
95-99% isolation from my 75-90% isn't much of a drop. Neither is my third round of complete joblessness from mostly-to-occasionally jobless. Having to forgo what I want to do for what health and safety need me to do? Yeah, that hasn't changed. Neither has my non-existent love-life situation.
When everything "goes back to normal" I'll still be here doing what the world has been chafing under for the past 9 months. Even if they came up with a miracle cure that blasted Covid-19 into smithereens forever, very little would change for me.
Now that we're approaching a year of this shit, people have a better chance to begin understanding me.
I'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR TWENTY YEARS.
And there are plenty of people who have it worse than I do. Plenty who have been at this even longer. They get denigrated and unfairly labeled, too. And you wanna call us weak?
Take 2020 with its devastating losses, it's glimmers of hope, how they were snatched away over and again (far more difficult to deal with than permanently acclimating to the new normal), its revolutionary eye-openers, it never-ending hits from multiple directions, its deep, wounding isolation, and "I swear I'm going insane!"
Now multiply all that by decades, and maybe you'll begin to understand me and others with chronic conditions a little better. Maybe you'll stop labeling us as "crazy, lazy, flakey, paranoid, melodramatic, pathetic, useless, worthless, whiney, and my favorite: weak."
I don't call y'all weak for losing your shit this year. I think it's pretty well warranted, so I'd appreciate the same consideration.
Cuz this 2020 shit? Looking back in 20-20 hindsight over the past twenty years...yeah, this past year is not that far from my "normal" life. What the ACTUAL fuck?
'TIS THE SEASON!
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE:
--UP NEXT: The year that gave me holiday anniversary triggers: WTF 2000?!
--OR if you missed what started all this Hap-Hap-Happiest adventure since Bing Flippity Crosby tap danced with Danny Flappity Kay, it starts here when a drunk driver rammed me as I was coming home from Christmas shopping and our holiday dance recital.