Today is Christmas Eve. I’m not religious, but I do observe Christmas. I enjoy the tradition. It’s one of a very few my family kept year after year when I was a kid. I enjoy the different feel of the holiday season as opposed to the rest of the year. Even in my most anti-social years of unabashed assholery, I was always my least cynical around the holidays. I could even be downright merry, although as a fat dude I drew the line at jolly out of a belief it perpetuates negative fat person stereotypes.
I’ve mellowed a lot in intervening years. I’ve grown up a lot. My life has come into focus in a big way. My career is starting to kick ass. I know where I’m going and I’m willing to do the work it takes to get there. I’m more aware of the world and other people than I’ve ever been, and I empathize more than I ever have. I got engaged to my lady, Nikki, just a few weeks ago, right after we decorated our tree, in fact. I’m happy that memory will always be associated with Christmas, because now, as I find myself less opposed to hating everything and everyone on general principle, I dig the holidays even more. It brings my newfound optimism and determination to bear.
I thought about writing something to post on Christmas Eve at the start of the holidays, and then dismissed it because I simply didn’t have a meaningful idea. And the last thing I wanted to do was force something for the sake of content.
Then, about twenty minutes ago, I sat down and wrote what you’re about to read. I don’t really know how it started or where it came from, but here it is. It might mean something to you, it might not. You might get it. You might roll your eyes.
All I can tell you is it came from that one place that doesn’t lie, even when the rest of you wants to.
I mean it, all of it.
Happy holidays, folks.
— Matt (dictated, not read)
These Things, December 24th, 2015
I hope these things for you this year and the next, especially tonight, but really every night.
I hope you’ve healed more than you’ve bled.
I hope the fight you gave didn’t take everything from you, especially the stuff it takes to keep fighting.
I hope when you stood up you were surrounded by folks who did the same.
I hope there were more places you felt safe than places you didn’t.
I hope we can build the rest of those places for you.
I hope you didn’t feel the impact of all those bullets.
I hope if you did feel the impact that you’re still alive, and that you survive the torments of the time it takes to get to the other side of that pain.
I hope you were treated with respect more than you were objectified, excluded, ignored, harassed, shot at, shit on, or invalidated.
I hope when you spoke up you were believed.
I hope you don’t stop speaking up even though you weren’t believed.
I hope you ate well, drank well, read well, watched well, fucked well, and lived well.
I hope if you didn’t have the means to do any or all of the above that next year brings them.
If next year doesn’t bring them, I hope you can take them for yourself.
I hope you got that money, because money only doesn’t matter when you have enough of it to buy that feeling.
I hope you managed to feel like a kid again.
I hope feeling like a kid again means something positive for you.
I hope you did a little better than you thought you could, and I hope you do a little better than that next year.
I hope you realize how you did was good enough.
But I hope you realize you can always do better, more, anything, everything.
I don’t hope you’re with someone you love tonight, I hope you’re with someone who gets you and makes you feel utterly comfortable and totally at ease in your skin and with your own true self, who backs up your shit, who motivates you in a world that saps reason and purpose, who reminds you that you matter as much as anyone, and more to them than most.
I hope reading this was more to you than an empty platitude, than one more squeak of white noise on the internet, that you felt something, even if it’s just a little something.
I hope we find ourselves and the world a little better and not a lot worse next Christmas Eve.
I hope if we don’t, you’ll know you have to keep going, keep trying, and keep finding the small victories and tiny happinesses along the way, because they make all the difference most of the time.
But I hope you don’t settle for them, because we were not meant to simply subsist and survive, even if those are our only options sometimes, or a lot of the time.
I hope someone made it to the end of this and I’m not just writing in a void, although this hope is just for me, and a selfish, vain one at that.
Above all I just hope you’re going to sleep tonight in shelter, warmth, safety, and with some semblance of peace.
These things I hope for us all.