You know that the old bitch is building a house and trying to keep it together for as long as she can (loosely–at best–with Band-Aids and bubble gum.) Well, here goes: I haven’t written a whole lot in the last two years because I haven’t had a lot to say. (LOL, believe it if you want.) It is Christmas time again, and the world is coming to a halt for that few minutes of peace on earth and good will towards man kind; I guess that includes women too. We could just say “human,” but it doesn’t read as well.
Today, I was sitting enjoying my 3$ coffee with unlimited refills (decaf. only–by order of the state.) While I was enjoying the Sunday paper waiting for the groomers to finish my dog’s bath (I know what you’re thinking already: “What a horrible mother who won’t even bathe her own child!” but those of you who know me, know my idol is Mrs. Joan Crawford, and I finished first in her child-rearing classes at The La’ Petite Diva Academy) when I noticed that the paper weighed about 10 pounds, and only 3 sections had any news in it. The remains were Holiday ads and shopping pull-outs galore. Most were very clearly geared at letting you know just how much money to spend, to let the people in your life know just how much you love them.
As I was pouring over the “news” to see where things like the revised hate crimes bill, and NCLB recommitment, as well as the new proposed gas tax stood with our elected government bodies, I decided to scan my emails and read all of the different news letters to which I subscribe. I noticed that my favorite anti-homo group, the American Family Association (an off-shoot of the Westbro Baptist Church—despite claims to the contrary, facts and crusades match up in perfect harmony with the same facts and rants borrowed form the WBC and KKK websites) took a few moments off from gay-bashing and hate crimes to rant about how The Gap, Old Navy, and Khol’s refuse to use the word “Christmas” in their ads.
This tangent perplexed me greatly, because these are the same people who spend from October to May BITCHING about the true meaning of Christmas.
They spend millions of dollars on buttons and ad campaigns that are meant to remind you of the event in Bethlehem 2000 some odd years ago, as well as the facts that a child born of a virgin came bearing the most important gifts of all, and that he was willing to sacrifice all to save us. They rant and rave on the air waves and television news shows that we need to remember that it’s not all about commercial spending and MONEY. All of this dogma to turn around 180 degrees and complain that the commercial sector that they despise is not including references to Christmas in their advertisements.
They can’t simultaneously complain and then expect the very institution they complain about to include them. Instead, I would think that they would be happy to remove themselves from the holiday shopping warfare, because it represents the opposite of what Christ came for. This really got me to thinking about the situation I find myself in at this time of the year in which I would like to give to everyone that means anything to me. Hence the problem I find that I am spending all of my extra money on the closing costs of my house and the things I need to refurnish it while at the same time looking at the things I would like to get all of my family and friends, stressing the whole time that I am not going to be able to do Christmas the way I want. (Those of you who know me are snickering b/c you remember the white tree and black light bulb of my first real Christmas.)
As I was pondering the who, what, when, where and how of the solution to my problem, I got to thinking about gifts and giving, and I came upon the memory of the best gift I have ever received. Now, this was an emotional trip down Memory Lane, and I hope you can bear with me while my mascara runs, and I get a little sentimental. I am not going all the way back, but I am going pretty far (when you’re my age, you have more ground to cover).
The first memory I recalled was when I was in high school, and I came home to the familiar scene of my mother crying on the stairs, trying to figure out where money for Christmas was going to come from. That same year, I got a single black and white box with a matching journal, and it also contained a small bottle of Jazz cologne. My mom didn’t know that I knew that she had to give up most of the little things she enjoyed for a few months to save money for that.
Now, fast forward past the invention of the automobile and the Apollo moon landing. In my next memory, I was going to film school and was working on my photography degree, and my youngest brother gave me a small box wrapped in the Sunday funnies. It fit into my hand. Inside the package was a roll of the film that I preferred to use but could very rarely afford.
Again with the fast forwarding, this time past cable TV and the cell phone, to when I became a teacher, and a student that I had for two years brought me an unfinished piece of wood wrapped in news paper on one side. He had burned my name and room number on it and covered it in lacquer with a note that said, “You never quit when I did.” Another student gift I never expected was running into a young man from the very first year I taught (yes, there was public education then, Bitches!). He let me know that he was in college and had joined the reserves and was doing great and that he remembered me as a teacher–and that I was a part of why he was in college. By the way: this event happened at a time I really was looking for the smallest excuse I could find to quit teaching and do anything else.
Even more gifts include my brothers, who have grown into young men with families, nephews that I can spoil and ruin. Then, there are the gifts I have gotten from my SISTERS in the house of SIN: The courage they share to never quit and never stop being true to myself and my vision, the memories of birthday shows and parties that still cause scandals, the gift of a song for me that had so much genuine emotion and talent that the consequence was bodily injury to Felicity and a fence. And from a sister-in-law who is more of a sister, the courage to be who I am without asking for acceptance from anyone. (Eh-hm, and on a lesser note, she also gave me a very fitting drag name that you all know and some have come to “LOVE”).
Another gift: One of the few straight women I would switch for, Meg, who sat with Drew and me the night before the scariest life-altering surgery of my life, listening to me the whole night and calming fears and nerves.
From Ashliegh: laughter at myself, art that rivals the masters, and the shear poetry that sits front and center on my desk.
But the most important gift is from my partner, lover, companion and friend Jason. He has given me the courage to take risks, to accept failure and enjoy success. He brought me to tears with one of the best gifts I have ever gotten: a photo collage of my nephews and me.
So, I think I have found the answer I have been looking for, and all of the people bitching this time of year about any of IT have missed the point completely. This time of year is about gifts and sacrifice, and it doesn’t matter what you call it: Christmas, Holiday, Chanukah, what ever… The best gifts don’t come from the store, you can not put a price tag on them, and you can’t order them off of EBAY or AMAZON. These things come from your heart, hand, and soul. These are the gifts that mean the most; they last forever, they scar the memory and heart in the best way possible, they give us something to hold on to when we have given up on human kind. These gifts come along and remind us that we are all here to get through it: the suffering, the joy, the good and the bad, and we need each other to do it. So kiddies, happy holidays, tidings of good will, and peace to all of you. I love you and pray daily that your families are safe, and that you know you are cared for.
Always and Forever,