christmas interrupted

December 25. 1999

I seem to be having a bad string of holidays this year.

Thanksgiving was less than ideal. This year I spent Christmas away from home for the first time in my life. So here I am, Christmas night, still waiting for it to happen.

I think I am just becoming more and more disillusioned with the whole idea of Christmas to begin with. The religious side of it never appealed to me (since, from what I understand, Christmas was merely the Christian adaption of the pagan holiday Saturnalia, and Jesus was in fact born in late summer) for obvious reasons. I was made to go to Mass today, "for my grandmother" as my mother said, which is the only reason I went. I didn't take communion, I haven't for over 2 years now. My sister shot me a look that could've frozen Hades solid when she got back to her seat, but my reasoning (and I had it all ready in a little speech should she make a comment after the service) was that I didn't go up for communion for the same reason she didn't make small animal sacrifices: because I didn't believe in it. My self-righteousness is at an all time high when comes to religion.

But this year, and as I remember, last year, I am growing more and more disgusted with entire commercial practice of Christmas. The orgy of buying and preparing and general carrying on that happens the weeks prior to the blessed day. Then, for one day, everything stops. Nothing is open, no pressure to do much of anything except to be with your loved ones and enjoy the day. A one day reprieve. Then, December 26, the after-Christmas shit starts up again, and we are back to where we started, with only 364 shopping days until next Christmas.

I've finally realized something while being away at college. That your family really is the most important thing during the holidays, that's what matters. Not the give you give away, not the gifts you receive, not the church services you attend, but that the people who you love are around you. This realization puzzles me because of my behavior in the last 48 hours or so.

We went to Baltimore for Christmas this year, to be with my grandmother and grandfather, who is still at Johns Hopkins. I had assumed we were going down for Christmas Eve during the day, and then coming back that night so we could be home for Christmas Day, and do all our usual holiday traditions here in Lebanon. On Thursday, my mother informs me plans have changed and we will stay over into Christmas Day. I was not happy, firstly because she decided to let me know at the last minute, and second because I was really looking forward to having things the way they always were at home. Being away from home made me treasure the routines and traditions that we had established, and suddenly they were all being dashed to pieces. I said some things I really regret now. I made it adamantly clear I was not happy about going down to Baltimore. I was called a selfish bitch, and I agree wholeheartedly.

I surprises me how selfish and heartless I can be sometimes. I can just shut myself and my feelings off. I remember in high school in my humanities class watching footage on the holocaust and not feeling anything. Not rage, not sadness, just nothing. It scares me how unfeeling I can be. Many times these past few days, for many reasons, I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I don't know why, I just didn't want to let myself go. How the hell am I ever going to have any meaningful relationships in my life if I can't feel anything?

No matter how nice they spruce it up and try to make it special, no should be in the fucking hospital for Christmas. No patients, no doctors, no nurses, no maintenance workers. Everyone should be well for that one day, and go home. Being sick and in the hospital at's just not fucking fair. Pop-Pop is not doing that well. He's lost a lot of weight from what I can tell, and his once silver hair is completely white. He's not been eating at all, and whether or not they'll amputate the other leg is still up in the air.

It's not fair.

music: From the Choirgirl Hotel, Tori Amos
food: Jellybelly Jellybeans
read: Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (sooo good)
sight: Christmas presents
song lyric:
6:58 are you sure where my spark is?
-Spark, Tori Amos