I kind of dread the end of the year holiday season, though probably not why you might.
Sure, there's the horrible xmas music, blaring from all directions, starting sometime in early November. And the stress folks go through, trying to pull off a big family feast with the least amount of family fireworks. Or the crazy spending of wads of cash on stuff, stuff that isn't usually either needed or wanted, usually slapped on a credit card with an interest rate that is not dissimilar to a kind of date rape with no hope of prosecution.
Yeah. But the core source of my dread? Other folks who well-meaningly want to pull me into the middle of the fray, to give me gifts and then feel hurt when I don't give them one in return, or invite me to thanksgiving to witness the fireworks of their family. They don't understand that I simply opt out. Truly out. Just say no.
Because what I feel to opt into during this flow of season is hanging with my tribe, my fuzzy band of tricksters, my pod of snugglers, my weaselly brethren. Because we really, truly, just want to hang out in bed, explore the rich possibilities of impossible snuggling positions only found in an apartment heated to 63 degrees, by three cats, one human, and a pile of blankets and pillows, maybe get up and have a little protein, then hit the snuggle caves again, and laugh and purr and maybe bite a couple heads.
To me, the holiday season means time and space and freedom to chill. I'm not lonely. I don't get lonely. I don't need for any of the humans in my living to prove their love to me through stuff on a certain day of the year. I don't need to be part of a group of humans and share a specific meal to feel connected to my tribe. And I know that the folks who love me have gotten used to me opting out in this way, and hopefully feel some relief that I'm one less loved one they have to stress out over and pour energy to.
And as for gifts and shared meals, when they occur, it is so very sweet. I received an email the other day from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and I ordered a couple of bottles for myself of the limited edition scents they concocted for their birthday. And then saw an image in my mind's eye of the lovely Kelly and so ordered a bottle for her. Or when she gets the urge, she sends me jars of her fantastic homemade pickles, or hilarious stuff off etsy that is so me, like a cell phone case made of felt with a crow embossed on it.
Or my sister, and how we get together and share a meal and have a few laughs, usually around rednecks or poop or how crazy we all are. Or she does as she's done for several years now, and gives me enormous bags and bags and bags of designer clothing, passed on by the wealthy women-who-hobby-shop whose homes she cleans. Or I give her the gift of a half dozen hours over a week of talking with her on phone, when I seriously, seriously hate talking on the phone if it isn't work related, but she's going through something, and I listen to her, huge smart phone mashed all up in my ear. Or herbs she's been thinking of trying but hasn't made the jump with, or some weird granolahead food she's tried at my house and actually liked and so I get her the special vinegar, or vanilla almond milk, or dandelion leaves so she can make green smoothies.
But the truth of the holidays for me is being with my fuzzy guys, having the space and time and freedom to just hang out together for long stretches of days. Of looking deep and long into the magic that is Baby Malcolm's chocolate lips. Of inhaling the hay and sun scent of Baby Wallace's fiery fur and have him sniff me back while purring the sonic rumble of heavy breathing that shows his weaselly ecstasy. Of spending an hour in the dawn light, drifting in and out of sleep, Emmaline doing as she's done since she was a four-month old kitten, laying directly on top of my face like a balaklava, paws wrapped around my neck, leaving me a single nostril to myself with which to happily take in air. Of jumping back into bed after turning the heat up a bit and having Baby Wallace settle onto the top of my head like a toasty toque, complete with paw-shaped earmuffs. Of dancing in my living room, having Malcolm squeeeek so that I pick his 19lbs. of love up and he crawls up out of my arms and onto my right shoulder, riding it like a carousel pony as I dip and twirl and shake my bootay. Of laying on the living room floor with a big plate of thanksgiving takeout, joyfully joining in the slurps, prrps, and arwarwarw that is the fang-toothy consumption of ham and turkey and sugary dessert cream topping.
So the real reveal is that I love the holidays, so look forward to the love and joy and giving that is life with my core tribe, so enjoy the sharing of food and love and Yes. I give the gift of toasty and foodies and Yes. They give the gift toasty and their Themness and Yes. And Life is good . . .
I just want folks to go off and do their holiday thing and leave me and the fuzzballs to do ours. Not to give me pity eyes when they hear that I'm spending the holidays with the kitties, or to do their best to try and talk me into thanksgiving at their house with their family and the in-laws or with a group of single people who have nowhere else to go. Maybe this year I can answer that yes, it was a lovely holiday spent with my loved ones, and they'll leave it at that and just smile.
I'm good: I'm with my family. I have someplace to be: in the center of a kitty purr-rumbly pile-on snack-fest.
So happy thanksgiving, ya'll, from the center of the Yes that is my living, to the center of Yes that is yours . . .