Fa la la la la, the cups are out and it’s time for holiday cheer! And guess what, kiddies?!!! That means it’s time to turn up the volume on the mall music, and also on ALL OF THE GOOD AND BAD FEELINGS YOU HAVE EVER HAD IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE! Whoopee! What —comma, deep intake of breath exhaled through a crazed but jubilant smile —merriment.
One minute we are in the Christmas movie montage, swelling with goodwill toward our fellow wo/men. Love IS all around and we see it, we feel it like twinkling tinsel raining down from the starry night sky. We just want to be nice to that annoying clerk who pounces on us before our second foot has actually set foot in the shop, or the work mate from the third floor with the beady eyes who creeps us out just by waking up in the morning with beady-ness in their soul. We want to wish them, well whatever it is that would satisfy —how are we supposed to know what the beady souled are seeking? Maybe beads. Lots of shiny pretty beads. We feel compassion for the tired teacher, we want to hug a stranger, drop change into plastic domes attended by bell-ringing, red-suited gentleman who exude jolliness and a sentiment that lands between hope for humanity and judgment day.
And then the roller coaster hits that sweet spot (by sweet I mean I am screaming like a tortured banshee and will never ever ever forgive you for telling me it’s just a kiddie ride) where it creeps past the highest hump and totters like the Grinch’s sled on mount Whoville before careening straight for Hell (if you can keep your eyes open you can actually see Satan opening the ground and waving —don’t confuse him with Santa). Just like that you are dropping and well there’s not a lot of thoughtfulness to be had when you are hell bound and your face is contorted to look like a Shar-Pei by a mixture of G-force and regret.
The sleigh bells and Frank Sinatra are drowned out by a new genre of metal gangsta rap, the lyrics to which go something like:
Mwah, ha, ha, you stupid little fool,
did you really think all of this merriment was for you?
Not you, who was dumb enough, pity you foo,
To marry that narcissist in the first place,
and now you will never, ever get out from their clutches
and you will have to pay, like the Duch/ess,
with your money and your soul and the health of your babies
and you will be painted as the evil one while they sip fruity rum drinks in Jamaica, on your dime
while your kids turn on you and leave you behind,
and you will never have a chance at actual love you faka’
And nothing new ever stays new and the economy is crashing
and don’t even get me started with the starving people aching
when you can’t even lose ten pounds you donut eating taker.
But what are you going to stop Christmas from coming when you’re the family baker?
And you find yourself in Costco looking at the cute little mini muffins and imagining all of the woodland creatures eating the cute muffins and then how small a muffin would have to be feed a hamster and then you want a hamster really badly because that would obviously stabilize you and who doesn’t want a hamster to open presents with on Christmas morning but you know it’s going to die in like a year or two and break your heart, so obviously you can’t buy those muffins in good conscience so you buy those flowers which are so pretty instead and water them with silent tears as the check out lady gives the bag guy the side eye, which means We’ve got a live one, Dan.
The holidays. Or as I like to call it, Menopause for everyone! *sprinkles single roses to the crowd*
Thanks a lot Prince, or Santa, or Jesus, or whoever is on duty this year.
Friends, there are so many personalized versions of that rap song. Turns out our number one antagonist, Ego (let’s give him a pirate name, say, Patch Eyed Pete) is a prolific writer. I’m so jelly because Mondays with y’all is about as waxing poetic as I get these days. A quick perusal of the collection offers song titles such as:
I work too hard for no returns and it all falls apart.
I work hard for lots of return but it all falls apart anyhow.
I slaved for a company my whole life and now my retirement is meaningless.
The government ate my homework.
It’s too late for love, thinness, beauty, meaning, or my dream of being a lonely Goatherd.
I will never escape so and so or son of a bitch’s clutches.
I’ve over given my whole life and I want to stop but then I have to look at how much time I wasted.
I wasted it.
It was stolen from me.
I can’t change.
What if it’s me?
She broke my heart and now what?
He broke my heart and now what?
I am weak.
I have failed.
It’s their fault.
It’s my fault.
Good ol’ Patch Eyed Pete, prosing like a poet, spinning you right round round, like a record baby.
Well what if I can get you off that roller coaster and riding my horsey carousel instead? Today, by the end of this musing? What if I also buy you hamster and have it delivered to you by Prince in a Santa suit?
Grievance versus Grief.
Grief says “I hurt.” It’s like getting a rip in your sail. It’s telling you that you need some LOVE, aka emotional repair, in order to keep sailing.
But as soon as you spot the rip, aka there is an indicator in the form of emotional pain that says I need something, Patch Eyed Pete starts screaming “Anchors away!” Because Pete believes that if he has a rip in his sail he must have done it. Pete’s been yelled at one too many times, and he is bloody fear’d of walkin’ the plank, matey. And the only answer to that, is full speed ahead. Don’t get caught.
Patch Eyed Pete believes that you are a pirate, and that you have stolen, and that stealing is something you can’t undo. And that he can protect you from the plank by justifying your thievery, which he does by treasure collecting all of the injustices against you. If it’s someone else’s fault, it can’t be yours. His number one mission is to look for a guiltier party, a bigger badder pirate to place the blame on.
BUT, Patch Eyed Pete is drunk. The Nog bowl is empty. Pete is seeing three of you through his one eye. Don’t trust him. I was there that fated day, and I know what you didn’t do that summer.
Grievances are emotional debts that we hold onto. They say “I have a right to be upset (anything from a small irk to a murderous rage) by an injustice from you to me”.
When we are hurt by all the shitty things, we are going to feel hurt, and we have a right to feel hurt. And while I am not going to tell you that you don’t have a right to your debts, I AM going to tell you that you don’t want them. They aren’t jewels. They are more like chopped off fingers, or jars of rotten newts. They DON’T actually protect you from the PLANK, or the belief that you are a nasty pirate with thievery in your bones. You’re not already. You don’t need them to owe you a debt from their shittiness to protect you from your imagined shittiness.
You CAN answer your grief, without holding your grievance. Love yourself back to the good place, without holding them in the bad place, where everybody drowns and gets snacked on by sharks.
I GET IT. You did NOT deserve the shitty things, from those people places and things.
It WASN’T fair.
But what happens to you when you keep a large bank account of emotional debt? Well you live in relationship with all of that hurt and unfairness and ugliness. And you don’t allow ANYONE who is indebted to you, to escape the bondage of pirating. Everyone stays guilty and continues to relive guilt. Which in turn keeps you in a bad relationship with them.
Emotionally and spiritually this is a protection device at work that does not actually protect us; it promises to, but it actually keeps the cycle of pain and suffering going.
BUT, what this really does is keep us in a constant state of defense and attack and retaliation and victimization, whether we actually retaliate, or hold onto the “right to”. We are emotionally and spiritually dodging, and remaining in an adversarial relationship with the world and all of its players.
It’s hard sometimes friends. Like not smoking a cigarette or eating your kid’s Easter bunny level hard.
And that brings us to forgiveness. Forgiveness is not the la la la rainbows and kittens feeling we get after time has healed our wounds and the hills are alive with the sound of music. Forgiveness which heals, true forgiveness, is a choice to override the voice of drunken Patch Eyed Pete, and give up the rotten newts and fingers that we are owed for all the shitty things done to us in Shittyville.
It says to your enemy of a lifetime or a moment “If there is any chance that you can get out of this pirating racket, well I don’t want to hold you back, so I am going to leave it to the pirate rehab experts, you know, Prince, Santa, Jesus, and their team to sort you out, so I can focus on the real treasure, those chocolate coins in the little mesh packs #heavenlymercy.”
And when we clear out our bank account of shitty ugly debt, well Pete has nothing to scream at us, or at least we don’t really hear him as loudly, or we just throw him a Tylenol and a Starbucks and wait for him to sober up.
And that feels a little better.
We can fill up our stockings.
We get the fun of the roller coaster, but no one throws up their chili dogs in our pig tails.
All of that goodwill and tinsel holds court.
At the end of the day, or the Holiday, we don’t want to be bigger or better or holier than Pete. We just want to give Pete a chance. For Pete’s sake. JK that was too much.
Oh Pete, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Holiday, and Hanukkah, and All My Relations, to name a few.
— Love Erin
P.S. Do you or someone you love need help with your 20/20 Vision? I’m booking intensives and gift packages for now and for the new year.
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.
P.P.P.S. You can also follow me on Instagram, for real time updates, funnies and photos!