Communion and Resolutions: On Submitting to a Stupid Pinterest List.

January 4, 2017

2017 (as I hope for it)

  1.  Savor the first sip (be present).
  2. Embrace the mud (roll with it and let it make me laugh).
  3. Be vegan if I want to (don’t let the convenience of other people dictate my choice for health).
  4. Deep breathing (when I’m scared or stressed or sad or angry or happy– big long breaths [also see #2 {ha! I said #2}]).
  5. Call my dad (maintain my commitment to repairing and retaining relationships that aren’t always close, natural, or easy).
  6. Wake up with no hangovers (don’t give in to the boredom with numbing [also see #1 & #4]).
  7. Write when the idea hits (and when it doesn’t).

Oh no, I thought.  I’m actually that boring, now.

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It was already December 20th, and it wasn’t here, yet.  It peaks in at least by the 15th, but usually at the first sight of a fully decorated Christmas tree.  I tested my untethered heart.  I brought in visions of opening presents and familiar faces sitting around a table, the after dinner sit down, the long afternoon.  Nothing.  I was still breathing steady and even with no sign of sinking into my annual abyss.  My Someone calls it The Get Mallory Through The Holidays Campaign.  I call it a wasteland.  And I remember it being always there, even at my earliest memory of the long dining room table set with ivory cloth.

I tapped my chest.  I shook my head.  Nothing.  I smiled.  I tried to tell my Someone, but he was gone.  He was sinking fast.  His Januaries came early this year.  My experience in the holiday sadness should make me an expert at comfort.  But I’m actually just angry.  Annual Holiday Depression is my market, and he was encroaching on it.  There it is, I thought hopefully.  There’s the familiar Christmas me.  I waited another second.  It was gone.

Shit, I thought.  I might be happy.

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Lately I’ve been worried that the chain-smoking-whiskey-drinking-cranky-woman-in-a-muumuu-reporting-on-channel-4-news-about-how-she-seen-the-whole-thing might not be my destiny.  I’ve been carving out my stake in this future since my early twenties.  Lately, instead, I’ve been looking down the barrel of a vegan-somber-smiling-red-wine-on-occasion-yoga-every-morning-peaceful-easy-feeling type.  The disconcerting part is that I understand that I am neither.  I am in between.  I am always in the in-between.  And I am having difficulty deciding whether it is more pitiful to be in the indistinguishable or to be a future Orange is the New Black character.  Being angry and self loathing during the holidays may not be fun, but at least it was familiar.  At least it was something to count on.

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It’s the last full week in December, and I am making a menu for no one.

I am constructing a grocery list that I can’t afford.  In the next couple days, I will spend more than I have to bring home a few ingredients to make a meal that no one wants.  And I just hope that someone will show up uninvited.  There was a scuffle.  There was confusion.  There was more than one hurt feeling.  Feast of Fishes, the Christmas tradition, was cancelled.  And, still, I couldn’t stop myself from planning it anyway.

“No one wants to eat my food,” I say.

“I want to,” my Someone says.

“No one else.”

“I want to,” he says.

“Okay.”

I don’t cook because I want everyone to be amazed.  I don’t do it because  I need to eat.  I do it to keep from getting stuck in the in-between.  It is a time when I am defined by the walls of a kitchen for an allotted time.  Then, there will be a table and chairs, plates or bowls or both, and a stretch of moments when butts are in seats and faces are turned inward and there is one meal placed between us all.  An extension of me.  I am not in-between because I am held not just in the eyes, but in the bellies of everyone there.

Oh, I realize.  Communion.

Jesus was wise to choose something as generic as red wine and white bread.  People will remember him everywhere.  Me– I’m stuck to a place and a time.  Dinner at six.  BYOB.  Come as you are.  Remember me.  Please.  Even after you leave.  Even if you are not here.

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It is the fourth of January, and I have finally gotten around to making my list of resolutions.  This year, it isn’t categorized by Financial, Social, Health, Music.  The specifics are lost in an aura of being less of a jerk.  I am thirty, now, and my resolutions look like something that should be decoratively calligraphied on a piece of cardstock and framed for Pinterest.  They make me feel squirmy.  They drip with future Yoga-Lady tendencies.  I remind myself that I just did yoga, so maybe my fate is sealed.  My inner whiskey drinking muumuu lady gives a shrug, “Ah, what the hell?”  Okay.  Okay.  Okay.

Last year, I resolved to have no hangovers.  This has lead me to a longer list this year of what feel closer to the substandard existence of most people, but to me is a real accomplishment.  Like deep breathing.  Like calling my dad.  Like not feeling like I have to eat cheese just because someone gives it to me.  I am working hard with my new list to be a grown ass woman.  And also, a kid– taking an idea on when it hits.  Embracing the mud.

This happier version of myself makes me roll my eyes.  She’s boring.  She’s repetitive.

Oh.  Communion.

Maybe I can, just this once, submit to the generic white bread and red wine.  Maybe this year, I can diligently come back to the same table with the same pulse again and again.  Maybe the excitement of being a pent-up, angry, holiday-hating creature will have plenty of time to emerge again.  The people I first invite to come may not be the ones to show up, but if I keep coming back to it, they may show up again.  The important thing is to keep coming back to check.  In this way, I catapult myself from the in-between to the now.  To the with you.  To the you with me.

Eat.  Drink.  Remember me, please, as I am becoming who I am.  Dinner is at 8.

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