This week I wrote about the holiday season, the uncertainty is causes, and how the political upheaval we’re living through heightens all those conflicting emotions.
Sherry Kappel wrote:
I share all of these thoughts. It’s funny, but even after decades of writing I have never heard another writer talk about our non-written contract with readers to provide meaningful content. It’s something I take seriously, and yet I still sometimes say, “I can’t believe so many people read my piece!”
I still have that “Wait… People care what I think?” moment all the time. I take providing meaningful content seriously, and I think most writers do. I try not to knock other people’s hustle, but I really don’t like shoddy listicles and similar content — it feels like spam to me; so, I don’t produce it.
As for the national and international political scene…yeah. Well-meaning people do need to be more involved — I’ve been promoting that in multiple ways — but we definitely need to figure out how to preserve ourselves, as well. I’ve been on Medium a little bit less since the election, hoping to recharge for the next wave, but the struggle is real.
I definitely have moments of struggle that I’ve talked about a little bit on Medium. When I’m having difficulty but want to keep posting, I’ll usually share a movie recommendation or something less serious. Burning ourselves out isn’t going to do anything to help. That applies to everyone who’s trying to make a difference in their own small way.
Happy 2019! And I very much appreciate your work on Medium.
Happy 2019 to you too! Thanks so much for reading and being a frequent commenter!
Ezinne Ukoha wrote:
What I absolutely love about this piece is how it captures the sentiment of how we as humans share more in common — especially when things are bitterly uncertain.
Do any of you remember that Tim Roth show Lie to Me, where he plays an expert on deception who knows how to read microexpressions? I don’t exactly remember how it crossed my path again, but I re-watched most of the short first season again a couple of weeks ago. Every now and then it would come up that certain expressions and even gestures are universal. Culture is powerful, but it doesn’t change the way we tell the truth with our faces and body language. If that Sentinelese tribe that killed that colonizer gave consent for someone who understands microexpressions to observe them, even without knowing the language, culture, or rituals, they’d be able understand the emotional content of Sentinelese communication, even if it were quite subtle.
We’re all so similar when you get down to it. I wish these supremacists would just leave the rest of us alone.
Marley K. shared the following:
I feel ya. I was just thinking the same thing about this time of the year. I hate it. I was in foster care and I have frayed family relations. All the happy cherry reasons people have this time of the year don’t transfer to me unfortunately. My childhood wasn’t filled with chestnuts, live Christmas tree smell, gifts I wanted, and celebrating with family. Our family watched how much we ate.
Lastly, I just took on an attitude that every federal holiday we celebrate on the calendar was placed there by some person who gave a darn. They are days that don’t translate to something celebratory for black and brown folks when you look at the root of them. From the formerly segregated military, to Columbus Day to Thanksgiving…all those days give me no reason to be happy. They are nothing more than traditions created for people to celebrate revisionist history. I meditate during this season. I withdraw…and hide out. I don’t want to kill anyone’s spirit because I don’t celebrate traditional holidays. And I don’t want anyone to try to convince me I need to engage in things I don’t believe in anymore.
It’s commercial. It’s tired. It’s a lie. It’s stress. It’s spending unnecessary money. At some point, you have to take inventory of life and appreciate reality, especially in light of the the times we live in. I plan to fish or hang out at the beach alone eating a gas station sub, listening to my favorite Pandora stations and drinking Red Stripe.
Nothing beats peace, and I find it alone. Enjoy your peace.
It’s good advice to find ways to enjoy your peace — not the peace other people think you should have. For a lot of people, particularly those who had difficult childhoods, that’s not with family. I’m glad attitudes are shifting enough that people feel like they can express this more openly and protect their mental health by staying out of the emotional powder keg of family gatherings.
Personally, I find the holidays way too stressful and exhausting to be enjoyable. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have kids clamoring for expensive presents. One episode of that Lie to Me show focused on a stampede outside a big box store on Black Friday. One of the deception experts was disgusted by the behavior, the other thought the criticism was classist. I suppose both things can be true.
The commercialism Marley K. discussed is undeniable, though. There’s something downright dystopianly horrifying about being willing to trample other human beings to get a good deal on a television. Halloween through New Year’s then Valentine’s Day are about getting into people’s pockets. Not being a full-throated participant isn’t a bad thing.
Hanging out on the beach with a Red Stripe (salute on choosing a Jamaican beer!) sounds like a great way to spend the holidays, to me.
Thanks so much to Marvin Smitty Smith for his very kind and supportive comment, which is what every writer hopes to hear:
I find much value in your writing, and it enriches my life, and inspires me to be better and do better. I’m grateful to have found you here on Medium, and become a subscriber. I look forward to reading your articles to gain insight and knowledge. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.
I love when one of my movie recommendations finds a taker, and I’m glad Ezinne Ukoha is going to check out The Babadook. I’m not sure what it says that my feelings about the holidays and family prodded a horror movie into the forefront of my mind… Nevertheless, if you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out. It’s amazing!
Thanks for reading! I hope you’re enjoying the holidays and not getting too worn out by all the running around and travel it requires. Please, take care of yourselves.