Hmmm....Christmas. I should write about Christmas while I'm in a good mood. Christmas is a holiday that never stands on its own, it tends to drag past Christmases home with it. Thanksgiving runs a close second when it comes to holidays weighed down with emotional baggage, but I think Christmas always crosses the line first. We're almost forced to sit down and contemplate the "meaning" of Christmas in our lives, and that usually leads to a consideration of holidays past and their role in getting us to today's state of celebration and/or desperation.
I, unfortunately, have a very good memory. What this means is that before I can arrive at a place of contentment (which is where have been spending a large amount of my time the past few days), I have to remember and then deliberately forget everything that I usually associate with Christmas. Then I can move forward and get down to the business of enjoying myself.
It's a tedious ritual, and one day I'll figure out how to put an end to it. In the meantime, before I can reach a more peaceful spot, I have to drive around in my car and let myself remember how much it hurt to get a box of dirt (and cornstalks!) from my brother for Christmas one year. I have to consider that long, dark Christmas break when I was thirteen when I tried to kill myself (word--it actually hurts to slash your wrists, why didn't anyone tell me that before I tried? Geez.). And I get to relive the long December nights of my freshman year in college when all I did was stay awake all night long worrying about how much my parents seemed to hate each other, wondering if my dad really was going to divorce my mom or if that was just something you say when you're yelling at your spouse, and how much was I going to like having to decide which parent to visit over holidays if they lived in different houses?
Every year, I work my way through the past to my freshman year, which seems to be some sort of watershed. From that year on, Christmas seemed to get better instead of worse. I think at some point the concept of "personal agency" really took hold, and I started holding myself responsible for the way I spent the holidays. I could enjoy myself or not, and the choice my mine to make. And, of course, it goes without saying that choosing to spend the past ten Christmases with Catherine was an excellent decision.
Anyway, remembering my way forward from some of those bleak childhood Christmases takes less time and energy w/each passing year. Things that used to be painful are now mostly just stories I tell my friends to make them laugh. And that brings me to the real point of this entry. I think all (emotionally healthy) glbt persons at some point make a decision to surround themselves w/people who make them happy, who respect and care for them, and who help make life that much more pleasant. I'm lucky in that my biological family eventually came around to a more civilized way of behaving, but I'm even luckier that I managed to build my own family of good friends. It's an interesting process, learning to care about other people and letting other people care about you, and what I think most right now, is that I kind of like Christmas, because even if it come burdened with the past, it also gives me a chance to stop and look around in the present. That way I can recognize everyone I hold close to my heart, and just let myself enjoy their presence in the spirit of the holiday.
Once again, I've conclusively proven that rollerblading and ice-skating are two completely different sports. You'd think the skill set would transfer between the two, but it doesn't. And ten seconds into today's activities, I remembered exactly how it was that I broke my elbow the first time. I am just not a good rollerblader. I totally do not get the stopping concept, I instinctively tried a hockey stop and almost broke my ankle. I know I should be using that little stopping thing behind my right heel, but it seems to me to be an invitation to the emergency room every time I consider it.
Well, the good news, I'm better than I was before I quit rollerblading (after said broken elbow three years ago), but I don't think I'll be playing inline hockey anytime soon. Maybe it would be easier if I got rockered skates. I think, though, Catherine would divorce me if I started buying inline hockey equipment along with ice hockey equipment. We'd be in the poorhouse by the end of next month.
I'd love to be that sporty chick who can play anything, do anything, but I think I may be smart enough to recognize my limitations on this one.