When I was in college, I was the editor-in-chief of our twice-weekly student newspaper, The Spectator at the time it was the biggest deal of my life. Being editor meant you were in charge of all the things: hiring editors and making sure they did their jobs; writing and editing stories; working with the advertising department; training people; and drinking until your liver exploded.
I took all these responsibilities quite seriously. In the fall while putting together our very first issue I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Things were not going very well, there was a lot to do in a very short amount of time, and the ad department seemed to be fucking up something new every day.
At one point, I sat in the editor’s office and cried. The stress was so great and my frustration so high, there was nothing else I could do but cry at my desk. In the midst of my pity party my friend LaFrenz bumbled into the office. For someone who was so ridiculously good-looking it was hard to look at him, LaFrenz was also one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the honor of knowing.
“Ahh Chromes,” he said when he found me all tear-stained and freaked. “Don’t worry. It’ll (the issue) come out.”
“What if it doesn’t?” I moaned.
“It will,” he said. “It will come out because it always does.”
His words were a balm. That might have had more to do with the giant goobery crush I had on him than the soundness of his logic, but it works. And the issue came out. And all the issues I was responsible for after that.
Since that day I’ve used that weird nonsense mantra whenever things have gotten too much to handle. It was a chant I’d tell myself when I worked at Hell, Inc. before every launch when things got crazy busy.
Somehow, though, this advice slipped my mind this year. This holiday season got away from me, mostly because I decided to make all the gifts. I’ve spent most nearly all the hours of every day for the past two weeks making the gifts. All the time with the making. No time to listen to music or write or hardly even work because I was making all the gifts.
And I was preparing my house for the influx of my family, and overnight guests, and babysitting, and making all the fucking gifts. Did I mention that I was making all the gifts?
It’s been an awful and stressful two weeks. I reached the pinnacle of stress and anxiety and too much to do yesterday afternoon at about 2 p.m., a mere four hours before my guests were to arrive. My house was in shambles, my nephews were pissed at me, and Sister #4 was sick upstairs in my spare bedroom.
I was done by the time Sister #3 arrive to collect her children. We sat at my dining room table and I sobbed. “I can’t get it all done,” I cried, sweeping my arms around my messy house, the half-made dinner, the unfinished gifts.
“So?” she said. “They’re gonna come anyway, and they’re not coming to see how clean your floors are.”
“But, but, but. . .” I said.
“Christmas is going to come. It always does,” she said, which reminded me of those words of LaFrenz’s all those years ago.
And Christmas did come. And the gifts didn’t all get finished and it was okay. The world didn’t end. And nobody commented on the state of my floors or left in a huff because I forgot to make the corn. And on Christmas Eve when I finally sat down to eat, sitting at the table next to my cousin Billy, he went on and on about how great the food was and how much he loved coming to my house for Christmas more than all the other Christmas events he attended because it was low key and fun and not at all fussy or demanding.
And so, I guess, darling ones my Christmas wish for you is that you have someone you can turn to when you’re freaked out who will make you feel better OR, if you like, I wish you the wisdom to not get so worked up over things that don’t matter. Take your pick.
And, as always, I wish you:
- someone in your life who will change out of their pajama pants for you;
- a life full of hilarious serendipity;
- periods of time that are so full of fun and activity you don’t have time to write about it;
- people who make you laugh so hard wine comes out your nose;
- the inner-strength to make it through the trying times;
- creative endeavors that bring out your passion; and
- people who will love you anyway.