Christmas is Hell

This year, Christmas went all right. I envy people who get excited, people who say it’s their

Santa Homer Christmas display.

Photo by Estela.

favorite time of year. It isn’t my favorite time at all. It’s the worst. Every year, I brace myself, starting on November 1st. But, all in all, this one was as positive as it could be, given the particular circumstances of my life. But I’m not going to elaborate on that. Suffice it to say, for me, the Christmas season is Hell.

But I had a lovely Christmas morning. I walked into the living room, after I showered and dressed, and I sat down on the couch to change from slippers to shoes. I placed my foot over my knee to tie the shoelace, and I saw something wrapped in a Safeway paper bag next to the tv. I smiled. I said, “Is that a gift for me? You bought me a gift?”

“Yeah,” my son says.

I chuckled and said, “Wrapped in a paper bag?”

“Yeah. I didn’t get a chance to buy gift wrap,” he said, apologetically.

“I know. That’s all right.” I said. “Thank you. That was really nice of you. I’m sorry I didn’t buy any gifts. I’m just not good at that. I wanted to , but I was at a loss.” He nodded, like he understood. I hope he really does understand. But I had made fudge, and I made tamales. I baked a batch of cookies on Christmas Day. That was my way of giving–cooking and baking. I actually enjoy baking. Just simple stuff–like cookies, pies, coffee cake, pumpkin bread, zucchini and other such breads. But I’m not fond of cooking. I once was, but I lost the pleasure. (Post Freddie Freeloader. But that’s a story for another day.)

I told my son that I loved the gift–a book of photographs of Patti Smith, by Judy Linn, and Give My Love to London, a Marianne Faithfull CD, my two female rock and roll idols. He said, “I knew you would.” Then I told him I noticed he was making an effort to be mindful, and that to me that was a gift, and I thanked him for it. He took that in for a couple seconds, then responded with a little curmudgeonly joke. That makes me smile. 🙂

Christmas is stressful. We’re bombarded through media, advertising, crowds, and a palpable energy, both positive and negative. Some people are excited, some are happy, some are sad, some bitter, some grouchy, some frustrated, some worried, some harried. I feel anxiety. Every year, I dread this time of year, but I try to make the best of it. I meditate and pray, daily. I burn sage, sweetgrass, cedar, or copal. I close my eyes, take deep breaths, calm my grief, my anxieties, my regrets, my sense of helplessness and emotional need. Healing is an ongoing process. But I can’t make other people heal. That’s on them. So I have to be strong, courageous, and resilient. I remind myself to have compassion for us all. This year, it was just me and my son. I communicated with one daughter through text and email, but have no way to contact my youngest and my granddaughter. I don’t keep in contact with siblings or mother (who turned 91 a few days before Christmas and lives with my youngest sister). I regret it took me too long to distance myself from them, and I regret that I have to. I am crushed about my youngest daughter, and that I cannot be in touch with my beloved granddaughter.

In a perfect world, I would have my own house, and my children and my granddaughter would all come over. We would all have gifts under a beautiful Christmas tree. Everyone would cook or bake something. We would eat good food, have wine with our meal (well, not the 16 year old granddaughter, she’d have a Hansen’s natural soda). We’d enjoy Christmas treats, and converse happily, and there’d be laughter, and love, and joy; we’d sit near the tree and exchange gifts, and they would love what I got them (I would know what to get). And, hell, this is my fantasy, so let’s throw in a blazing fire in the fireplace, snow outside, because in this fantasy I live in New Mexico, and my children flew in for a few days, and I have a little terrier named Rosie and everyone is enjoying her.

Well, life is what life is. I can only do my best, and let it be.

Joe Cocker passed away. That was sad to hear. I remember the first time I saw him on tv. I thought it might’ve been on the Tom Jones Show, but maybe it was the Smothers Brothers, or, hell, maybe it was Ed Sullivan . It was in the sixties, anyway. Late sixties. I was like, “Man, he’s a great singer. Poor guy. I wonder what’s wrong with him?” There was nothing wrong with him. I felt so square when I learned it was just his style. His bluesy energy literally contorted his body, his arms, his hands, his face. That’s what I call “organic”. R.I.P, Joe Cocker, great blues rock singer.

Box Tops wrote The Letter, and it was great song, but, man, Joe Cocker made it even better. The great Leon Russell played piano. (Before he ended up on social security and lost to the world. After all that work, all those years, all that talent, possessing such genius? God bless Elton John for bringing him back.) I’m breaking my rule of not inserting vids in my blog. Check this out, man. Joe Cocker and Leon Russell. I love how cooly Russell does his magic.

Early this year, Phil Everly passed away. One of the first songs I remember loving was by the Everly Brothers. I was five years old when this song was a hit, and I sang, flat and out of tune:

♥Dree-ee-ee-ee-eem. Dream, dream, dream. When I want you. In my arms. When I want you. And all your charms. Whenever I want you, all I have to do, is dree-ee-ee-ee-eem. Dream, dream, dream.♥

Of course, I didn’t understand the sexual implications. But I sure got that the song was beautiful, and their voices were beautiful. And, sure, when I eventually saw them on tv, I had an innocent crush on his brother, Don. R.I.P Phil Everly.

Poor Won’t-Name-Him. He passed away on Christmas Day. Too bad the last time I saw him, nearly a year ago, he glared at me in a rage. We were acquainted, not really friends. I used to stop and talk with him, when I saw him on 24th Street, sitting outside a cafe with a cup of coffee, and when he’d see me, he’d call me over and I’d sit and have a chat. He was as cynical as I can be, had a dark sense of humor, and we seemed to have the same taste in poetry. After I wrote my love poem Creature, I showed it to him, and he just busted up, guffawed, in fact. I liked that. He even gave me unsolicited advice. He said, “You should change this to ‘come back’, maybe.”

“No,” I said, “it isn’t ‘come back.'” That would’ve changed the poem. She’s saying, “Don’t leave,” but she’s not going to say, “Come back” afterward. That tells me he didn’t understand who I am. Anyway, eventually, he started crossing the line, and I also began to see him as rather delusional. I could put up with his being delusional, but not his crossing the line. I stopped being friendly, stopped talking with him. He didn’t like that. He didn’t like that at all. Anyway, R.I.P., Won’t-Name-Him.

Rain drops on birch tree.

Rain drops on a birch tree. I thought the rain drops looked like tiny lights, or diamonds.

We are all spirits on an Earth Walk. It isn’t easy being human. It’s so very hard.

Rain. Ah, sweet rain. I have been happy to see the rain. It’s been a long drought.

 

 

 

 

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About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet living in San Francisco. I like telling stories too. I'm an introvert, and I like, need, solitude. I find that depth is a rare quality. Someone once said to me, "You're a very deep person. It must be really hard living like that. Most people aren't that deep." I said, "Yeah. It is hard. It really is."
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