All for one and one for all…and if I’m going to suffer, so are you

Sufjan Stevens – “Star Of Wonder” -> irony that his best song may actually be from his Christmas LP? I think not!

“All for one and one for all…and if I’m going to suffer, so are you,”

That’s what my kid brother said to me this afternoon at 2:03 p.m. as I woke up.

I had just awoke from a post-Christmas family time nap. I don’t know about anyone else’s family does Christmas, but in my house we wake up early, open presents and then I take a nap until everyone’s ready to head out for the day. Waking up early for Christmas day hasn’t been fun to me in about ten years. The perils of getting older are sickening.

With Christmas comes the obligatory “where are we going for Christmas this year,” conversation. Assuming you’re not a product of incest, you have two sets of extended family. Each parent wants to see their family, but each child has a preference as to which side they’d rather see.

Herein lies the dilemma and there are three choices.

Choice A: Split up, mom takes a few kids, dad takes a few kids
Choice B: Everyone ditch one parent because the children have a preferred destination for holidays
Choice C: We all go to one place

My family has always preferred the latter, but occasionally choice B comes into fruition and my father is left to see his family by himself. Now, it’s not fair to ditch my father’s side & see my mother’s side on Christmas and Thanksgiving or vice versa. Alternating is fair, but does anyone really want to alternate? No. Fuck no, actually.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I dislike my father’s side of the family. It’s not that I dislike them. I don’t. I just don’t understand why they’re so over the top about everything.

In contrast, my mother’s side is fun. My aunts and uncles smoke cigarettes and weed. They drink and sneak it from my grandparents with cologne and gum to cover up any trace of their intolerable behavior. My 50-year old aunt throws parties with my cousins who are  20/30 year olds ’till 4 in the damn morning. That’s my kind of aunt.

My mother’s side isn’t just drugs and drinks. There are a ton of people at these gatherings as my mother has five brothers/sisters, all of which have at least four kids. Kids that hae kids. My grandmother cooks her ass off. The food is damn good too. My grandmother’s food is so damn good that I want to invite my friends over just to eat. Just so that when she dies I have proof from some outsides of how damn good the food is.

As their 22-year-old nephew/grandson/cousin I admire the people here because they’re willing to be themselves. They’re not squares. They never were. I’m not either.

My father’s side is completely different. The place is trounced in Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. I’m not anti-religion–everyone’s entitled their opinion on religion, but there’s an unfair level in which their beliefs matter and mine don’t.

I’m no whining atheist either for that matter. They piss me off as well. I’m of the belief that everyone is entitled to their opinion and no one should relentlessly attempt to convert people that are different. I won’t drown my beliefs and you shouldn’t drown yours. It’s not easy being a Christian and it’s not easy being Agnostic Theist (me.) It’s not easy to believe in anything.

I walk in today and my grandmother wants to do Commencement for Christmas. I understand the biblical implications of Christmas. I understand reviving those implications as soon as the family is together for the holiday. I’ll even participate to an extent.

I’ll hold hands when everyone prays. I won’t bow my head, close my eyes or say ‘amen’ but I’ll hold hands. You won’t see me drinking wine & crackers to ‘remember the body of Christ.’ That’s not what I believe in. Sorry.

My issue at this house is the Christian hoopla that’s force fed down one’s throat. You’re not just drenched in baby Jesus blood at the door, you’re reminded in every conversation about the blessings & the sanctifications of Jesus Christ.

There are other issues of course. Having only 3 cousins on this side of the family sucks. The food is terrible. It’s as if it were seasoned in dog shit and left outside for days. My uncle nags me about irrelevant shit because he has no friends. My other uncle feeds into the dramatic hoopla of this house and gets super emotional during prayers.

So much so that my 6 year old cousin was laughing at how emotional he was. I know I shouldn’t use a 6 year old as justification, but she knows it’s supposed to be a serious moment. When she can’t get her head around some emotional fanfare put on for the cameras, I can’t imagine anyone doing so. There’s real emotion & there’s emotion for the cameras. It’s always the latter in this house and if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s not being honest with yourself.

That’s what really lacks on this side of the family. There’s just an incredible lack of reality and that’s sad. They’re so detached from reality and that’s not because they’re religious. It’s because they’re so over-the-top in everything that they do.

About realmikeclark

23-year old Journalism & Psychology graduate of the University of Connecticut.
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