I used to love Christmas, I did. Christmas used to be a time for excitement and joy. Spending weeks searching for where my mother hid my presence. The almost orgasmic discovery, the smug self-fulfillment in knowing what I was getting before everyone else. The art of pretending to be surprised. Those where the best of times. I used to enjoy getting together with my cousins and spending time with my family. Then as I became a teenager and had to start giving and not receiving Christmas lost a little of its joy and started to become stressful. Not just because I had to pick out gifts but because I never had much money to get anyone what I wanted to get them. There where a few years between selling drugs and the money I got from my mother dying that I was able to give the gifts I wanted to give to my sisters. But that was coupled with the loss of my mother so there was a new hole there. I faked it for a while and pretended to be happy, but every time I looked at my sisters I just wanted to cry because I knew my mother wasn’t there to see them grow up.
To combat this feeling I began to detach myself. I pulled away from my family and stopped loving Christmas. I still participated but I was only there in body my mind and more importantly my soul was gone. Then in November of 2000 my Grandmother-who had practically raise me-was gone. This was the last straw. I spent most of that Christmas on the couch alone watching porn I ordered on PP V. I didn’t want to see the sadness in their eyes. This I recognize was extremely selfish of me. I turned my back on my family when they needed me to simply protect my fragile emotions. In retrospect it was the worse thing I could have done. They could have helped me through that difficult time as well. Yet I chose to begin my isolation. I sat there in an empty house I shared with eight other people. Eight other people who were out enjoying the holiday with their families. I became bitter and resentful in one afternoon. The next year I spent the holiday in Atlanta surrounded by people I didn’t even know. Aside from Amber of course, but I was dead inside. More dead than the two junkies who ate dinner with us and are in fact now dead (well at least one of them I think). The following year I was in New York, I refused to go home to Carolina with my Cousin whom I was living with. I turned that X-Mas day into XXX-Mas as well. The next three years were spent back in ATL with Amber and friends. I put on a brave face and made huge meals and played at being happy but, I was missing my family more and more. By then I was too scared to go home. I knew if I showed up I would just here about how fucked up it was that I hadn’t shown my face in years. By now there were new kids running around and the toddlers I knew were now in High School. I made it home last year for Fourth of July and it felt obvious I was now an outcast. There didn’t seem to be a place for me anymore. My selfishness had frayed the bonds that bind one to ones famila.
Since my grandmother died my animosity towards Christmas has grown. The other day on the train three were a group of little girls ranging from like ages seven to nine. They were singing Christmas Carols and all I could think about was “I wish they would shut up”, so I could go back to being depressed on my way to work. I spent the rest of the night at work working myself up into a false rage. Finding things to be angry over and building resentment. I just want to hate, but I think my heart is thawing out. I’ve wasted too much time on being hurt and upset that my mother and my grandmother aren’t around anymore. I know that’s not the way they would have wanted it. I know I should make the journey back home. I know that my sisters miss me and need me. I also know, that if I stayed in my beloved North Carolina that I would probably be in a cell next to my cousin Frankie. Because no matter how much I love my homeland, no matter how much I extol its virtues, there isn’t much to do besides get into trouble. At least for me any ways. I’m not quite ready to sit on the porch and sip iced tea. I still need the excitement of a major metropolitan(sic) area . Hope I don’t wind up in jail in Missouri. I want to return home a conquering hero with arms full of gifts and trinkets from my far off travels. Yet I know that isn’t whats important and my sisters would probably say that they would just be happy to have me back. We all know that presents do make for visible examples of someones apology. If I showed up empty-handed then why the hell did I leave right? I don’t know perhaps I’m still being too selfish and perhaps there is more for me to learn. We’ll see what this Christmas brings. Maybe next Christmas I can come home for a few days? “I will never understand why I’m such a selfish man!”-Flogging Molly