‘Tis the Season…

The past few Christmases, I’ve had no income. I was laid off from a job and was barely affording food and such. It always devastated me because I like to give during the holidays. I’m a bit of a giver by nature, and it just always felt good to make someone else’s Christmas a little brighter in whatever way I could.

Lacking that ability is draining for me. There are people that I wanted to give a gift to so badly, but I just couldn’t and it would tear me apart. Those same people would buy me things and I’d be very appreciative. It brightened my spirits just a little bit. Enough to not feel like a total loser. but then I’d remember that I couldn’t return the favor and I’d fall into that mental pit again. It has been the case far too often for the past 6 years.

This year, I have been working, but the job doesn’t feel as secure as I’d like. That aside, I have money and I’m giving. I promised myself that I would if I had the ability to – which I do – so I am. It make me wince a little when I see the bank balance drop into the depths of Hell, but when I hear the appreciative words of my friends, it makes it all money well spent.

Even that has its ups and downs, though. There are some people that I feel a need to buy for out of obligation, and that kinda annoys me. But I try not to let it get me too upset. Things could be a whole lot worse.

This year, I’ve done some great shopping. I decided to buy some special friends a few gifts that I know they’ll love, and I’m quite proud of my ability to find thoughtful items on one day’s efforts. The rest of my buying as of this writing is basically gift cards, so I’m all set. The whole process of giving has made me feel less shitty.

But I also feel a bit empty. Giving to wonderful friends is great, but I feel like it would all be that much better if I had someone special in my life to share the festivities with. A lot of single people get all pissy and crybaby when Valentine’s Day rolls around, but for me, it’s Christmas that makes being alone harder to deal with.

Of my group of friends locally, I’m one of the rare single people, and it can be difficult hanging around a bunch of couples and realizing that they get to go home and have that person alongside them to talk with and just wind down from gatherings or share moments or whatever the case may be. On my end of things, I return to my bootcave and fire up youtube or the Xbox/PS3 or get wrapped up in Twitter. There’s no snuggling on the couch while watching TV or cuddling in bed at the end of the night… just myself and my mind left to ponder how things are.

As trying as that can get, I still have to say that I enjoy the holiday season whenever it rolls around. It’s a mostly good time, and I have nothing against the traditions of Christmas. I also know that there are people out there who just complain about it to no end, and I wonder if they know what it’s like to feel genuinely happy. Is Christmas perfect? No, but that’s not because the holiday is flawed. It’s because people can make it shitty for others. Because people are – on the grand scheme of things – idiots. Whether it’s competing with others or themselves about the gifts they give, or giving grief to other parents about how they handle what Christmas is for their kids, or even just downright being a Grumpy McGrumperton in general, the masses just know how to fuck it up for a lot of people. The trick is to just appreciate the things you can do to bring a little joy to the world. Should that be done on every day BESIDES Christmas or other holidays? Of course it should, but that doesn’t mean that celebrating on a certain date cheapens anything. The gestures should remain heartfelt and be received as such. If you can manage to let yourself be uplifted by the Christmas cheer, you should be fine. And if you absolutely just can’t stand the holidays, then that’s okay… but don’t be that assdrip that has to go around shitting all over it in the hopes of killing other people’s fun. That’s just plain selfish.

Anyway, I’m done ranting/whining. I’m just happy that I was able to celebrate this time and not hate myself. Whatever the near future holds, at least I can look back at Christmas 2013 and know that I put smiles on faces. It’s a good thing.

May your holidays be joyous and heartwarming and full of tasty burritos. Merry Christmas to all of you.

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A Birthday Wish

The holidays have been a struggle for me in recent years. I’m not bothered by their commercialism or family gatherings or any of that superficial garbage that most people get upset over. It’s just not my way to care about it all. I like to just roll with the situation and do what I can to spread joy in what is supposed to be a happy time.

Lately, however, that’s been the part I’ve had trouble doing. I’ve spent the better part of the last four years out of work and when I did have a job, I was let go before the holidays happened and didn’t have the spare cash to buy gifts for most of the people who deserved them from me.

But this blog isn’t about me and my emo feelings. This is a tribute.

As one does with any sibling, I’ve had ups and downs with both my older brother and younger sister, but they’ve always been there (mostly) to help out with whatever issues I may have had. These days, it’s my sister who has been coming forward and giving whatever she can to help out. It’s tough for me to accept it without feeling worthless because her situation really is far worse than mine.

Earlier this year, she was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body decides that perfectly normal and healthy tissues are foreign and need to be attacked. In her instance, it started in the kidneys.

She was sick for almost a full year before getting it checked. At first she didn’t think it was a big deal but as time went on, it became more apparent that this was serious. The snafu came in the form of her not having health insurance, therefore keeping her from wanting to accumulate a giant medical bill that she’d never be able to pay off.

Fast forward to now. She takes a pill cocktail every day and goes to dialysis three times a week because of her kidney failure. The staff at the clinic is incompetent to the point where they sometimes damage her arm while getting the needles in place. Last month, they put the needles in backwards which effectively lessened the amount of cleaning of her blood. She told me this, and I immediately wanted to firebomb the building.

Because of the disease, she’s currently receiving disability money from the state. It’s not much at all and most of it goes to her medicine costs and basic expenses. And yet, she always offers to help me and I am forever grateful.

Really, she has no business giving me anything, and yet she never hesitates to ask if I need anything. I don’t know if a lot of people in the world would be so selfless and caring, and having no way to return the favor bothers the fuck out of me.

Today (the 6th) is her birthday. All I can really do is tell her “happy birthday” and be a nice older brother, but I wish I could do more. One day, I’ll do something special for her kindness. Lord knows she deserves it.

Happy Birthday, Sara. Thank you for everything. You’re one of the strongest people I’ll ever know.