Friday, November 27, 2009


"I love Thanksgiving turkey... it's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts."

~Arnold Schwarzenegger

I dont remember when I stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or even God for that matter. I do know that I must have been very young when this happened, because I never remember actually believing in any of them. I think the cerebral nature of me as a child, the propensity to over-think everything, even as a 5 year old, combined with the violent way our house celebrated these days provided little room or incentive for believing in little more than survival and self-preservation.

What do you believe in? When you think of holidays (not the english, snooty way to say "vacation"), do you think of Santa Claus, family, and being thankful for what you have?

I don't.

At least I didn't until last year. This year I find myself feeling a little different, a little more comfortable and happy as I contemplate why we as humans feel the need to partake in the recognition of "holidays." Some of the most important people to me are not around anymore to celebrate holidays with. It is sad when this is a motivating factor, but it really does drive home the importance of saying "I love you" when given the opportunity. And now I see that the holidays can be our choice. See, I can make a difficult choice by putting myself in a position to be around some people I feel the world would be better without, if it means seeing just one of the people I love. That is a choice I can make. And I can tolerate the bad for a while to be with the good. Sometimes I have a good enough perspective whereby I can even appreciate them for their ridiculousness.

Why is it so hard? Maybe its the few, very few times we are FORCED to see for ourselves what we have chosen in life. It is the times when we are too timid and polite and despite everything inside of us screaming to go the opposite direction we pretend. We pretend that we really can stand some of those "relatives" who bring the taste of bile to bear. We are forced to sit at the table, face to face with our choices. We stare at each other, perhaps pretending to enjoy it, perhaps not, and realize how we have chosen to live our lives. No hiding anymore; holidays will bring the truth out of you whether you like it or not. At least in my family, growing up, this truth was not happiness. These "holidays" were usually when the truth that surfaced was ugly and bitter. It is not a shock that I resisted these sorts of rituals for greater than 90% of my adult life.

I realized all of this on the Friday after Thanksgiving, just a few days ago, now, when I was driving on the unusually sunny day to the lab because I had work to do. It was beautiful and sunny outside-- strangely so considering it had rained almost 3 straight weeks. I was wondering what was wrong with me for going to work in a window-less lab, on a project that wasn't even really important to me. I didn't really have a choice, if I want to graduate someday...


Steve Moss said...

I, uh, hm... guess I don't know what to say. To say anything as trite as I'm sorry about your childhood would trivialize how you feel now. It was interesting, and a little sad, I guess, to face up to, well, but you're right. So, I shoulder a bit more of the load, knowing, at the very least, that you have seemingly arrived at a better place,and move on.

Aaron said...

I wasn't going to comment on the comment but I am going to anyway.

My post wasn't intended to cause, and I do not think should have caused, feelings of responsibility for anything. I think it is pretty fair to say that as adults it is natural to wonder why we have such an aversion to certain things. And I think you have to admit, those times were pretty rotten for a lot of years. But who cares?

I dont have the strength to shoulder the burden of the past on top of the present while worrying about the future. I am content to overreact about the present while worrying about the future. I let it go, as should anyone else.

If you are shouldering some burden, that is your choice alone. I am over it. And I am happy--aside from the whole graduate school thing, which never ever ever will end.

Steve Moss said...

I wasn't going to comment on the comment on the comment, but then I thought, Why The Hell NOT!
I think that since you can't control how people will react to what you write, and that no matter what you think they should or should not feel, that well, it's pretty much up to them. And , if what you write dredges up some form of 'responsibility' in the reader, then so be it. If you've really moved past it, that's great... I have too. But that doesn't mean you have control over how past time periods will or will not affect me if and when I am reminded of them.