Wish these were a clever joke. Culinary equivalent of an kitschy, obnoxious sweater that’s somehow fun now. One of those things where I could throw in some sub set about how they sure are gnarly looking, but gods are they delicious.
They’re not. They taste like crumbling toddler biscuits. The ones that turn into carbohydrate paste from teething drool. Like that. But with red chalky sugar coating.
I should be better at this.
Eight years ago today, I was in a hospital bed. No one was taking take of me and I wasn’t taking care of myself, because I was taking care of an infant. Exhausted to the point of delirium, I started passing out. My body finally decided that if I wouldn’t put myself down, it would do it for me.
It was fine. Such a silly trifle. I was fine. Tired and dehydrated, but fine. (An absurd remembrance that I feel guilty and selfish even mentioning, since as I write this, our Princess and General is fighting for her true and valued life. We need you, Madam.) I was fine then. So, shouldn’t I be better now?
I have tried making these cookies every Christmas. They always turn out like garbage. Every god damn year. I am somehow, no better a cooke or baker than I was a decade ago. I’m really reaching and stretching to see if I’ve moved the dial on anything. How is that even possible?
This is, apparently, a yarmulke for an ogre. It was, by intention, meant to be a hat for a human.
So no, not better at doing the art things, either.
Seriously, god damn it.
Am I better at being a mom?
Don’t know. Somedays I surprise myself with a good show. Lots of days I go to bed, absolutely secure in my failure. But, the kid seems okay and he’s still talking to me. Give it eight more years.
How about being better at taking care of myself?
That’s funny. Maybe I got better at being funny. I got to write and perform a thing a few weeks ago and people laughed. Maybe that’s what I have to put before the court of my insecurities for the years of work and failure.
But no. Definitely not better at taking care of myself.
I joke, a lot, that buying things and doing things and generally going out of your way is the only way to make people like you. On bad days, I include my especially hurtful ‘and be pretty and skinny and dress cute with sleek hair and a perfect eye’ caveat. More than a little frightful how much truth is in all of these slug lines of bullshit.
But can we at least appreciate my consistency and dedication to my theme? Even the wording of my mental self-critiques is fatiguing. And that’s to me. Can’t begin to fathom the drudgery it is for those who have to hear my indulgent grousing out loud.
Like right now. I’m still in the same metaphysical position. I’m sitting, slouched and run down, from trying to be all the places, and do all the things and make up the vast ground my heart and brain tell me I lack. I make the effort. I do. I show up. But what happens is, when I do show up and I do the things, I’m a tired, cranky, anxiety-ridden bitch.
But isn’t that what you have to do? Don’t you have to try? Don’t you have to at least meet the universe half way if you want any chance at happy?
Or am I just full of a holiday sad and sit empty-armed and looking for pity?
Good chance. Or maybe I just really wanted coffee and a good thumbprint tonight and I’m pissed that the fates had other plans.
I want to get better. I want to get a handle on those damn cookies and that forsaken hat. I want to be a less neurotic mom. I want to be a less anxious and miserable person to Netflix with on a Friday night. I want to be present and hearing what is said and seeing what is meant and not filling in the blanks with my own imagined callous intention and not trusting the truth from someone trying to care. I want to work on crafting sentences shorter than a chapter of Austen. I know if I keep fighting, I can see more clearly the balance between expressing joy and concern and affection and not letting that give drive you into a sick bed.
That stuff won’t come in a stocking. But making taking a minute to say it and type it and let the universe know I’ve started walking in its direction, maybe that’s good. IF I keep walking, maybe there’s something better to come in the winter days ahead.
Merry is not always possible. Nor is bright. But here and trying and getting back up has to be.