Happy Fucking Holidays

I’m posting this just hours before I board a flight to Colorado to see my niece for the first time. I’ll be missing my family’s usual Thanksgiving festivities. I’ve also informed most of them that I will be absent for Christmas as well, and oh boy, is that a mess.

I’m not really afraid if my opinions are seen as contrary, but I don’t have much a choice, honestly. It’s either that or be in a constant state of anxiety over the reality that I’m a bit of a black sheep, especially amongst my familial circles. I understand that sounds like a hardy scoop of melodrama, but if you were to see a family photo, we could play a really short-lived game of “one of these things is not like the other.”

While tactfulness still isn’t my strong suit, it was even less so when I was younger. It seems the older I get, the quieter I get. As a child, I was a bull headed, loose lipped terror, and that demeanor lead me to discovering my first, hard truth. Against all odds, my mother, the person responsible for inoculating me to the majority of hard truths of my adolescence, found out a way to stop me in a my tracks with one little declaration: “You are so argumentative.”

No, I’m not! Wait… I mean…

These damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of scenarios punctuated a lot of the important moments in my life. Those moments when choosing to respond or engage in any way meant pain bred a metastatic, psychic tumor of neuroticism that I am still dealing with to this day. Sometimes life just means choosing what you dislike less. Or does it?

That’s holidays for me for a long time, for sure. I dislike holidays pretty intensely but passively. I don’t dislike them enough to, say, sacrificially burn down someone’s Christmas tree in the name of the great Cthulhu, but I might audibly groan if I am stuck listening to “All I Want For Christmas is You.” It’s something about the combination of unrealistic expectations to be chipper, the archaic traditions that I hold very little emotional affinity for, and the guilt trips that are so often associated with gift giving. Call me a Scrooge, but the season to be jolly just exhausts me in the worst kind of way. So, this is a the predicament, the paradox, that I am caught in every time the holiday season decides to rear its jingle-bell laden head: I don’t want to participate in holiday festivities, but I also don’t want to hurt the feelings of my family or friends.

Some of you know exactly what I am talking about. For some reason, people treat holidays like a license to really step over boundaries that even the most intrusive families normally treat with a bit more care. In my family, if you are asking whether or not you are coming to a holiday function, “maybe” is not a valid answer.

“Well why don’t you know? Do you have plans? Do you not want to see your family? People are going to miss you. Your Aunt Jane Ann has been asking about you! I need an answer because I need to know how many deviled eggs to make.”

For years when I was met with these kinds of responses, a part of me boiled inside. “How is that literally any of your business?” I would think. Asking a question doesn’t mean you deserve an answer, especially because I already knew that the answers that I had to give would just lead to more interrogation.

This year is different. This year I got a divorce. This year, I give people those unfiltered answers when people ask unfiltered questions. I’m not putting on a plastic smile this year, because truth is, I’m bummed out. That’s how I feel, and I’m not going to surround myself people who will make me feel like a sideshow attraction. I’m bummed out because all of the traditions that I did care about were squashed in a flurry of infidelity and legal jargon. I just can’t even right now.

That being said, I have yet to find anything quite as effective at excusing oneself from any situation than the Fuck It Adjustment.

The Fuck It Adjustment is not a practice that I can hold claim to as creator, but as far as I know, no one holds a patent on the exact technique. I haven’t checked, mind you; so if the feds show up at your door, don’t write me. The FIA is a pretty simple procedure that can be implemented in virtually any situation but should be executed with extreme caution as one of the few things that you will find difficulty using the Fuck It Adjustment on is, ironically, the Fuck It Adjustment itself. In other words, once you have committed to implementing it, you can’t unimplement it quite as easily.

You have the right as an individual to just stop doing something at any time. You can not do whatever the heck you want to, but many of us add vast amounts of unnecessary pressure to our lives by valuing our commitment to doing something over our right to just say “no.” It’s a misappropriation of priority at its core.

You realize you can just say “no” to something, right? Seriously, just because you have been requested or even begged for your services, you are in no way obligated to agree to someone else’s wants. In the same vein, just because you have said you are going to do something, you have every right to get fed up with it, throw your hands in the air, and scream, “Fuck it!” I’m not saying that you should flake out on commitments, but I am saying that if your generosity or kindness is being abused, you aren’t beholden to respect someone that does not respect you. If anyone has the audacity to act as if their desires hold more weight than your convenience, you need to apply a generous coating of Ghost brand Fuck It Adjustment to that relationship. 

The purpose of the FIA is to give people who are easily taken advantage of a social eject button without having to muck around in explanations or justifications. Believe it or not, you can just walk up to your awful misogynistic boss and just tell him “Fuck it.” During an unwanted political disagreement at your next family gathering, you can stand up, say “Fuck it,” and walk away. Don’t ever underestimate the power of brevity. It may not be the most tasteful way to exit a room, but it certainly is a satisfying and sometimes necessary one.

In the end, you aren’t responsible for how people feel about you being authentic. If you don’t want to do the holidays, you don’t need any more justification than that. Circling back to the original paradox, “I don’t want to participate in holiday festivities, but I also don’t want to hurt the feelings of my family or friends.” The only way this really becomes a paradox is if you accept the guilt that others place on you to do what they want you to do. You aren’t an asshole for using the Fuck It Adjustment on the holidays, and if anyone tries to make you feel like you are, I think you may have just found who the real asshole is.

It’s not easy, especially because of how lonely the Christmas season can feel. This year, I really just don’t care. I am not responsible if someone else decides to start drama over me not wanting to spend my time with them. I am valuable and so is my time. I don’t owe my company to anyone. Same goes for you. Despite my liberal use of self-deprecation as a mode of comedy, I genuinely see my presence as a privilege just as I see the presence of my dear friends as a privilege. Your spending time to read my posts, that is a privilege.

You deserve to live your life, to start your own traditions. The holidays can feel overwhelming because they are overwhelming. With all the hubbub that we can get wrapped up in, it might be high time to just admit that it’s not worth it if you aren’t feeling up to the drama. Be kind to yourself. Why not give yourself a gift this year? Why not just say, “fuck it”?

Afterword: Need to get something off your chest? Need some advice or just want to chat? Feel free to drop me a message on my “CONTACT” tab. Everything is kept anonymous unless otherwise asked, and those of you who have already sent me correspondence, it has been a huge pleasure getting to know you.

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