There is a creature inside me.
I can feel it twisting beneath my fingernails, breaking my teeth, pushing my bones into places they don’t go, ripping fissures in my tissues that my skin shifts to paper over, thin and dry as it sloughs into the sinkholes created when the unused parts of me atrophy and shrink.
We went “back home” for Christmas. Two days with my family, two days with his. Surely there’s a language out there somewhere where the word for gift is also the word for burden. A shitty conlang, at least? A word to describe the white people’s potlatch of emotional repression, where we see who can bring the biggest smiles while biting their swollen tongues, never talking about politics, only talking about people who aren’t in the room.
But my existence is political, and you voted for That Thing, and your gossip is rancid, and I don’t have the strength to cut you off, nor the fortitude to educate you in all the ways you’re killing me, so I won’t confront you, and we will sit and laugh, and love (in spite of it all, we still love), and like a jester playing king on the Epiphany, we will ignore our positions in the world for this one week, because, after all, we’re family.
White Christmas, indeed.
Going “back home” woke the creature inside me, or maybe hatched its egg, I can’t tell. I don’t know if it’s the same parasite that keeps coming back after I’ve excised it, or if this thing is all together new. Whatever. As I suffocate in the cold, the thing grows stronger, and I’m too weak now to keep it at bay.
Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. It’s done. The “back home” part of the holidays is over and I can forget about it for another year. Now it’s time for the fun part, for the family we choose part; for the friends, and the lovers, and the sex, and the drugs, and the alcohol, and the revelry, and the truths we’re allowed to tell each other, and the lies we don’t mind if we keep telling ourselves. It’s time for the people who accept who we are now, because they don’t hold us to any ideal of who we’ve been before.
Because I might not be who I’ve been before, not take the same path forward as I’ve been travelling. It’s a new year and Saturn is in Capricorn (Capricorn represent!) and this year, I am resolved. This year, I will use my therapy tools to dig the termites out of my brain. This year, I won’t lie idle with indigestion and anxiety. This year, I won’t act in fear. This year… this year.
This year will be different. Because of course it will be. It’s a new year, so it’s a chance for a new me. Even if I’ve already started my new year 52 times in the past 365 days, whatever, tomorrow is the day and I’m still going to take it. I’m going to take my chance to become better, because in the end that’s all we’ve got. I can’t change my past, but I sure as hell can forge my future however I see fit (with all due caveats and fine print). And this year, I choose love. And you’re all going to fucking deal with it, because you love me, and I love you. All of you. And for fuckssake, couldn’t we all use a little more love?
The creature inside me has grown uncomfortable, and I thought it was trying to destroy me. But it’s not, because there is no creature. There is only me, and I am molting, and I will be new again.
Happy New Year!