December 10, 2023

This Season, I’m Asking for What I Don’t Want.

To The Gift-Givers:

This holiday I’m asking for what I don’t want.

I don’t want anything found in the stores. Not Mr. Teal’s bubble bath combo shrink-wrapped in a box, not an air fryer, not a box of K-cups. I don’t want a dinky neck massager that will tear up in a year, and I don’t want a sweatshirt with some weird cat on it. I don’t want a gift card to Chick-fil-A or a candle from Walmart. And please, no gift cards, as this creates an errand or some kind of made-up need from one of the stores.

What I need—and want—is really what I don’t want.

I don’t want to hear politicians speaking at all. None of them. Or…maybe I just don’t want the media’s portrayal of them, as it is often loud and “vexing to the spirit” as my grandmother would say.

I don’t want to listen to any more well-being experts or “health” entrepreneurs. I know they mean well, but there seems to be thousands of them telling me to fast, drink mushroom drinks, yoga-fy my mind, detoxify my spirit, and self-talk myself into oblivion. How about someone just saying, “You’re fine the way you are and you’re doing your best. In fact, when you woke up this morning, you were perfect and there’s nothing more you need to do in the endless pursuit of ‘improvement.'”

I don’t want to feel guilty about saying no to some of these holiday parties, dinners, and activities that are strangling my December calendar. I don’t want to go to some of them because I need to rest. The gurus would agree with this one, and so I suppose I’ll get self-love points for resting.

I don’t want to say no when I want to say yes. I don’t want to say yes when I want to say no.

I don’t want the people I see wrapped up in blankets with paper bags for shoes to freeze when it gets cold, so I’m going to donate to the local shelter and see what else I can do to change this horrible circumstance for so many.

I don’t want people to blow each other up. Not in wars and not at house parties. Not in murder-suicides or drive-bys. Not in burglaries or robberies or assaults. Not with words through gossip and pettiness, outbursts or criticisms.

I don’t want the “stress” that seems to be in the air we breathe about holidays. Or, really, at any time. Talking endlessly about how stressed we are just creates more of it. Like an invisible rope that binds us…I think it’s about holding on too tight to some expectation of the moment or the day with hurts and judgements we carry from old stories. I don’t want the old stories. It’s the end of the year; they are done, gone, outdated.

I don’t want anything from Amazon, Etsy, or Ebay. And all these streaming services? Don’t want anything from them, except Mike Birbiglia’s show on Netflix because it’s incredibly funny and so damn real. And that’s what I really want: To laugh and be real.


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