Friday, December 28, 2012

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I've never been a big fan of Christmas.  I suppose this comes as no surprise to those of you who have been following my posts.  I know I have a tendency to come off like a mini Scrooge.  It's just that the idea of forced merriment gives me the willies.  I believe people should be good to each other because of a general sense of humanity not because some dude was born 2000 years ago (and not even in December).  But more than that, I suppose, is that Christmas just happens to come in the midst of the saddest time of year.

Ever since I was a kid, autumn always brought with it depression.  One September in my early twenties, when I still lived in Brooklyn I was walking home from the subway, crunching brown leaves beneath my frozen toes, wondering why I was feeling so blue.  Never mind that I was living with a man I didn't love and had next to nothing in common with except a dog we shared who bit people with no provocation and was a complete cunt.  It was also probably shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.  Sure, anyone would have been feeling blue in my situation, but the point was I always felt that way in the fall.  No matter what was going on in my life.  It's likely I have a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but on that bitter fall day, after I got home and stood in a hot shower waiting for the searing pain to ebb in my feet (my extremities freeze at the mere mention of cold weather), wondering why my mood always plummeted as September rolled around, it suddenly dawned on me that I was suffering from OhMyGodSchoolIsStartingAgainitis.  I had hated school so much that it took me well into my twenties to stop being gripped with panic and desperation when the leaves started turning.

I want to be crystal clear here.  When I say I hated school I don't mean that homework was a drag and I wished I was outside playing.  I probably would have preferred digging ditches 8 hours a day to going to that   horrible place.  I was short.  I was loud.  I was poor.  (Not much has changed)  I was also weird.  While other girls brought in their pom poms or dolls for Show and Tell, I brought a bag of deer turds I had collected on a hiking trip with my dad.  Any time I raised my hand to answer a question I was the instant subject of ridicule.  I learned very quickly not to answer questions.  Somewhere in grade school I wrote a poem that got chosen by the teachers as a great example of poetry.  It went like this:

In the moonlight it seems to me
That I can see three little angels
And in the moonlight I can not figure out
Why it is not true

Bear in mind my competition was other 8-year-olds...

Having the poem highlighted by my teachers only meant more taunting.  Some author came to speak to our school and I was asked to stand and share my poem in front of everyone.  They might as well have asked me to get naked and slap out the rhythm of Camp Town Lady on my stomach.  I learned very quickly to not do good work.

Besides the verbal abuse, I suffered various forms of physical torment as well.  I was kicked, full force in the vagina with no warning and for no reason by a fellow classmate.  I was pushed in to garbage cans, pinched, chased and generally terrorized.  When I tried to talk to my teachers about the bullying I was told, on several occasions that I was "too sensitive".  It wasn't until I was choked against a file cabinet until I started to pass out that I was taken seriously.  I guess I'm fortunate that kid didn't have access to the gun department at Walmart.

My parents didn't really understand the severity of the bullying, either.  My father told me that boys just teased me because they liked me.  But I saw the way the boys treated the pretty girls.  Danielle and Michelle had perfect, long, straight, beautiful black hair and wore perfume and jean skirts.  While I looked like this:

That's my older sister, Molly.  Please note my belt embroidered with the name Molly on it.  (On a side note: The 1980s can go fuck themselves.)

When my classmates played "Catch and Kiss", Danielle and Michelle got kisses.  I got punches.  If the boys did like me, they had an extraordinarily violent way of expressing it.  I shudder to think how these boys treat their wives and girlfriends.

When I booked my first show in fourth grade, I thought that would finally get my some points with my peers.  I didn't realize that being cast as Tiny Tim actually just added fuel to the fire.  It wasn't until I transferred to a new school for Junior High and won a Tony that people started treating me like I didn't have leprosy.  And this, of course, brings with it a special kind of neurosis that comes with never knowing if someone is friends with you because they actually like you or because they think you're famous.  But by then I had a whole new set of problems and two years later my mother was dead.

So, yeah, I hated school.  And the feeling permeated my life for years. September through March have always been particularly hard months for me.  Add to this the fact that Christmas was not always a happy time of year in the Eagan house.  There were things going on that I'm not really at liberty to share.  Suffice it to say, alcohol was a big part of our lives, as was violence and abuse (not from my parents, mind you).  I liked opening presents, though.  Despite our extremely tight family budget, I always made out like a bandit on Christmas.  My favorite gifts were a small plastic drum set, a chemistry set, a magic set and a build-it-yourself wooden dollhouse (which, incidentally, never got finished).  But the air always felt heavy at Christmastime.  After my mother died, of course, it just got worse.  I dreaded Christmas.  Except for the break it gave me from school, I really just wanted the holidays to pass quickly and without incident.

We always put blue lights on the Christmas tree which added to the general feeling of sadness.  When I would come downstairs in the middle of the night, all the lights in the house would be out except for the lights in the tree.  It always made me feel sad yet oddly comforted.  I still have a fondness for blue Christmas lights nestled in a green tree though, and when I do get a tree, I insist on blue lights.  Here is a crappy picture of our tree this year:

Kurt decorating our tree in front of the Yule Log show available on Netflix streaming.  Episode 2 features bad renditions on Holiday songs!

Which, I suppose, brings me into the present.  While I do still tend to feel extra blue during the holidays, this year I was given the best present of all.  Last week we went in for our 20 week scan and got a perfect report card.  Krumholtz is developing perfectly.  All his/her limbs are in the right place and normal.  His/her spine is straight and healthy.  There is plenty of amniotic fluid and my placenta is in the right place.  My cervix is closed tight, so the chance for early delivery is very, very slim.  The doctor said we could not have asked for better results.  Turns out, if you're going to have a baby you completely didn't plan on and are not ready for, a clean bill of prenatal health is a huge relief and a true gift.  Here is a picture of Mrs. Krumholtz Buderman:   
As you can see, I will be giving birth to an alien jellyfish!
Besides this news, the best present I got this year is a dishtowel that came from my friend Angie.  

And it is with that that I bid you all the happiest and healthiest of new years!