Monday, December 21, 2020

longest night

There is usually a slight uptick in my mood on the winter solstice, since no matter what sort of horrible wintery weather follows in the next two months, the span of daylight persist in getting longer and pushes us toward summer. Today, I woke up to some sun, the low but bright kind that seems to already, at 2 in the afternoon, be vanishing to clouds.  Small worries and big worries all troubling me that have nothing to do with darkness or winter, but the world in general and the people around me, troubling news from the UK, half a government who decried the virus as a hoax, but line up before anyone to get the vaccine. I have a hard time finding more good in the world than bad, but surely it has to be there behind the headlines and doomscrolling.

I've been tucked away the past few days quarantining as much as possible before I visit my dad for the holidays. Outside of extended family celebrations that are postponed this year, and usually happen around and not necessarily on the holiday itself, we will have our usual small celebration this year with my sister & co. It's strange, but the smaller the gathering the better the past few years. Holidays are weird.  My mother is obviously a missing piece of these configurations, but the hole seems larger the larger the gathering if that makes sense. Or maybe the feeling that you have to put on a more public face is what is more distressing. I think when it's just the 3-4 of us, my mother's presence feels like it's still there, more like she just stepped out of the room but will be back in a second.  Larger gatherings, her absence is more pronounced. I find myself telling people I don't like the holidays now, that they're just too sad, but it's not really that either, and the feeling is there at other types of gatherings, not just ones laden with family traditions. Or maybe it's just I'm low-key sad all the time and it notches up at the holidays. I don't know. 

Earlier last week I was thinking about the concept of Santa and how strange the idea is that a fat man in a suit visits your house (and how creepy) , but also how heartbroken finding out he wasn't real.  I was probably around 9 when I cornered my mother in the bathroom after school one day and demanded the truth. First, she asked me what I wanted to believe.  I think there were tears on my part, and finally, she conceded that yes, he didn't exist. I think she thought I was crying over presents, and was quick to assure me I would always get Santa gifts (which I did and kinda still do via my dad.) But I'm pretty sure I was crying, becuase if you take Santa out of the world, other things go with--not just the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy (also creepy AF) but also fairies and magic and maybe even God himself. Maybe all we need is magic, or even just the illusion of magic. 

So I am hoping for a little magic, which is all we can ask for, here on the darkest, longest night...

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