Ah, the holiday season. At the tail end of it I am left, as usual, feeling like a beaten down cur, limping out to the doghouse to lick my wounds.
Despite being what I consider a reasonably self-actualized woman, I have spent the last month trying to pound and force myself into the shapes society expects of me—that I expect of me—because apparently I value the opinion of society more highly than I value my own.
I’ve endlessly schemed and strategized so that I can eat, drink and be merry, yet still maintain my semi-not-fat physique. Then I’ve told myself to ditch those plans and just be full-on-fat already, because, as I heard it said recently, “No one likes a skinny bitch.”
I’ve forced myself to buy, buy, buy in the abject hope that I can make Christmas perfect (as if one day of material abundance is really going to change anyone’s life), and I’ve tamped down my resentment at being a cog in the machine, even as I bemoaned said machine each and every time another commercial of starving African children and severely neglected animals scrolled past my glassy eyes and a black pit opened up in my belly.
And worse, so much worse, I’ve judged others.
I’ve judged their imperfect Christmas trees, their LED lights (okay, our LED lights that my husband insisted on using despite my proclamations that they look exactly like gas station decor—a criticism I realize my own mother made not once, but every single Christmas season since she reached adulthood).
I’ve judged the willingness of the masses to enable Black Friday, to fortify Cyber Monday and even my poor old friend Elaine Benes (ahem, Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who is just trying to stay relevant by insisting that an Old Navy knitted beanie is really a better gift than a sexy horse named Estabon.
“It must be relevance she’s after, right? She certainly can’t be hurting for cash,” says my meanie brain, revving up the judgment juice once again.
Man, it’s exhausting being this much of an asshole.
But somewhere along the the line, my fellow assholes—as sick to death of their inauthenticity as I—gifted us with the venerable anti-asshole tradition of New Years resolutions. Hallelujah!
One month of debauchery plus the dropping of a big glittery ball and a few drunken proclamations about making it all right, and we are clean as the driven snow. Or at least as clean as an acolyte after confession, which is no small thing, for as we all know, a few mere words is all it takes to turn the cheek of Satan.
*Disclaimer, I fully expect to face a sea of arrows for that Satan comment, so let ’em fly.
But what if those resolutions actually meant something?
What if, instead of being driven by guilt and the eternal juggernaut of our own suckiness we simply made one resolution that was pure, beautiful, sincere and as such, transcendent?
What if we resolved, not to not judge ourselves and others, but to acknowledge those judgements and forgive ourselves for being so small minded?
What if we resolved, not to waste our time with self loathing, but to celebrate our imperfect, sometimes puerile hearts?
What if we succumbed to being the messy mess that we are, that we will always be, and decided to go forth nobly anyway?
It is the only resolution that any of us need make and all it requires is complete and utter sincerity.
If we resolve to love ourselves right now, this day, the way we are, not the way we intend to be, this year will be filled with miracles—even for smart assed, beaten down curs like me.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Erica Leibrandt
Editor: Emily Bartran