Merry Christmas!

I wasn’t going to post today because I’m trying to learn how to just chill, you know, the way someone who doesn’t lack Air in their birth chart would. I have Christmas jazz on, and I forgot just how much I loved listening to jazz and standards holiday music. The Rat Pack. Nat King Cole. Judy Garland. What can I say? Venus in Capricorn loves all things evergreen…which is why you don’t get a lot of topical posts here. I’m trying to change that, but it’s hard for me to get excited about a transit that will pass soon or the astrology of a new fad or celebrity couple who just got together.

Christmas Alone

But this is my first Christmas alone, and I figured it’s the first Christmas alone for many people, except a lot of them may not be okay with that, so I figured I’d share what’s up with me today, if you are so inclined to learn.

I have only spent two Christmases away from family or a significant other, and both were in Korea. The first time I stayed in Seoul instead of going on vacation with the other teachers, but I met up with a friend of mine stationed at a nearby base whose fiance had gone back to America for the holidays. We had Thai food and coffee, and then he had to get the train back to base, so I stayed and shopped in Myeong-dong. That’s what young people do in Korea on Christmas — they shop, and I tell you, there’s few things as fun as shopping in Seoul on Christmas. It’s like being in a themepark — and the Korean themeparks aren’t even as fun as shopping on Christmas.

And when I mean like a themepark, it’s because Christmas is a theme with zero political or religious overtones. There’s decor, music, food, specialty items, service (the Korean concept of offering top-notch service as part of the overall marketing plan for any business to ensure loyalty), and Koreans seeing your wind-reddened Caucasian face and saying Melly Christmas! to you with complete sincerity.

The second time, one of my closest friends in Korea, Karen (I know. That’s her English name — her real name is Hyeri, which is so pretty) spent the day with me. It’s not often that I get someone as kind as Karen in my life — in fact, it’s weird to call her that because she is the least Karen woman in the world — and I don’t think most people would. I have a few now, actually, but back then, we both worked at perhaps the most toxic office I ever worked at, and I don’t remember how we became friends other than she approached me one day. But we spent Christmas together, having coffee, eating, shopping, doing girlfriend type things.

Now, it’s 2021 and it’s very cold and very dry in Chicago, which makes me a little sad since 1) no snow, and 2) it’s so quiet and so invitingly sunny outside, but too cold to enjoy the peace and silence. I ordered Chinese food and stopped at the 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts because I know everyone working there today doesn’t celebrate Christmas and isn’t there against their will, and now I have food for the next few days so I can hole up with my radiators and my jazz and my astrology books and my old timey movies. If it was just a matter of being alone, I think I could have organized a friends’ dinner or have volunteered somewhere instead, but it’s a matter of safety, so I wonder what would happen if I had to spend a Christmas alone and had options? Would I succumb to nostalgia and cultural pressure and be sad, especially if Christmas was evident all around me?

Christmas Memories

Because I am getting sucked back into old New York memories, but without the sadness. That was back when I was married and trying to be as wife-like as possible, buying gifts for everyone, wrapping them all myself, getting a tree myself, decorating it myself, baking by myself, making dinner by myself, going to office holiday parties. One of my favorite memories is so mundane that I can’t believe that it comes up, but back when I worked at The Nation, I helped my boss Michelle with the holiday party, in fact, I’ve had that on my resume ever since for every single job I’ve applied to since. I bought a life-size cut out of Dean Martin. I left it there when I left; Michelle eventually took the poor man home with her and now he keeps her holiday cocktail bar company. She made the best martinis — never drank them, but was amazing at making them, and I fell in love with them, and I would become trashed. There was a time in my life where I routinely drank to excess and loved cocktails. In fact, those are still my favorite when I do partake.

But I remember going shopping with her at Murray’s Cheese before the holiday party. I remember buying cheesy retro-looking decor. I remember staying late to decorate. I remember when she would bring in rum balls as a snack.

I should have made rum balls for myself this Christmas. I like rum. And gin. Honestly. I just don’t like migraines.

I work for the county now, so we don’t imbibe at work, and we have to pay for our own holiday party because the tax payers shall not. I guess that’s a good thing, though I have never once gotten upset at the thought of county employees using a fraction of a cent that I paid in taxes to have a holiday party because as Earth-heavy as my chart is, it’s not heavy enough to have ever flipped the fuck out over minute portions of my taxes going to things that help other people. Or maybe I’m just not an asshole. Or asshole enough to care. You can decide for yourself.

I’m not an office party person, but I certainly liked planning them, but probably only because I was planning them with Michelle.

Michelle loves vintage more than I do, but it’s always wonderful to find someone else with a good portion of their aesthetics firmly rooted in a time before they were born. Michelle was mid-century before that was even a thing.

I once spent Christmas on a cruise ship to the Bahamas. My ex liked to go on cruises because he was a 75-year-old woman trapped in a 25-year-old man’s body. Actually, I liked them…conceptually. This particular holiday was a cold one, and I froze my ass off the first day when we were at Disneyworld, but it was amazing to go there one day at Christmas with fewer people there. It was 45 degrees outside. I didn’t bring a winter coat on the trip at all. And there is something romantic about taking a boat and being rocked to sleep by the ocean waves.

I just didn’t like traveling anywhere with him. He didn’t want to do anything but sleep and then go to the casino, which frankly, he could have done in New Jersey. This meant either doing things alone or not doing them because it was weird to do them alone. I ate alone most of the trip because he slept through meal times and was one of those super picky eaters who refuses to eat all but like ten things, so he didn’t want to sit through a potential breakfast where he “couldn’t eat anything.” He didn’t want to talk when he did eat with me. He relented in the Bahamas to go on one excursion – a bus ride tour. There we were in a bus full of old ladies — so I guess he felt right at home — riding around Nassau looking at places we couldn’t actually visit. It was just boring, it was painful, because we couldn’t experience anything.

That’s not the last vacation we went on together, but they never got any better. It’s hard for me to understand why someone would bother wanting to go somewhere different only to act as if they’re at home, have all the time in the world, and just got their period.

Come to think of it, that was probably actually my first Christmas alone, essentially. My Saturn in the 7th house is actually finally learning that it’s important in a relationship to have a compatible idea of what “fun” is for two of you to be able to let the other one go on vacation without them.

However, looking back, if I had to do it all over again, I would have gone anyway and asked the other disappointed wives at the casino sitting there reminding their spouses they promised to go to X event with them, if they wanted to go out to the shows as a group. I think that would have made all of us a lot happier, but maybe, if we’re all divorced from those guys now, we’re happier, and it happened just as it should.

Speaking of:

“You look pretty now.”

I love going to the doctor’s office in late December and early January because no one wants to go. I went to the dermatologist on the 22nd. I went to my primary care physician on the 24th. I will get my follow-up mammogram on the 31st (almost all initial mammograms require a follow up. I’m ok.). I have an eye appointment on the 5th. I can’t think of anymore specialists I need to see; I think I have run out of complaints, aches, and fears for now, but I’m getting all these things done.

I had a physical, flu shot, and bloodwork done yesterday. I have not seen my primary care physician in person in over a year. It’s a longer trip now, but I would rather stay with this doctor than go elsewhere. I am very happy with the medical care I’ve received through Northwestern, and I am very happy in particular with my primary care physician, so it’s worth the trip to Evanston.

My primary care physician told me that I look different. I look good, I look alive, I look healthier – I look pretty. She wasn’t flirting with me, and she wasn’t saying that I was otherwise ugly. She was probably noticing what I have been noticing alone, that I’m coming back to life. And I am looking a lot better than I used to look. It’s physical, but it’s also psychological. I know that whatever’s on my mind is all over my face, and I am much more calm and rested than she’s ever known me.

I think I do look pretty now. My skin is snapping back. My hair is looking so much better. My eyes, my complexion, my body shape — I’m starting to look like a girl again. I don’t mean female, or feminine, or even womanly — I’m looking more girl-like than I have since before law school, and it reminds me that I’ve hit a new level in the game of life, and that this is the beginning of Miriam v. 4.0. I think those of us who have to reinvent ourselves every seven to ten years are a lucky bunch.

I counted my blessings this week.

There’s a lot of things I wanted to accomplish in 2020 that I actually did do and a lot of changes I made, albeit mostly out of necessity, but I’ll take it since it worked. None of it happened as I thought it would happen, but it happened. Being single suits me, and I know I’m not done with relationships — because there is more to come for me — but I want find the spark again in my long love-affair with my solitary self for a while. If anything, I want my solitary self to be honored and seen and heard so that she has a place in any future relationships. But I missed living by myself. It’s so much easier to do things when it’s just me, so much less to worry about. Now, should I ever meet someone with whom I feel like living with is as serene and calm as living by myself, that would be a miracle.

I had a bad dream last night.

I had a dream that I had re-married my ex-husband and then Rick rose from the dead and moved in with us.

But neither seemed truly aware of the other’s existence, and I was trying make sure they didn’t know about each other despite the fact that we all lived in the same house.

And I was with both of them, trying to balance the two of them, very upset that my life was now completely disrupted by having the burden of both of them in my life — and not just one but the other, because neither one weren’t wanted. There I was again, dealing with their messes, their demands, their laziness, their stubbornness, their common lack of creativity and adventure, like a balloon tangled in a bush, slowly deflating, bobbing back and forth in the wind, to soft now to pop, to full to simply lay down and die.

And so then I decided to get them both out of the house so I could sneak back in, pack up, and then leave, but getting them both out of the house was proving rather tricky.

And then I woke up, sweaty, tangled in the sheets of my twin bed in my little studio as the radiator cooed to me, the sun just on the cusp of rising, Christmas morning. Children would awake and gathering around Christmas trees. Chinese restaurant owners would be prepping for all their orders. Jews would be waking up early to place their orders since they know the rest of us are hip to their secret, and with COVID-19 keeping all the gentiles at home…someone is definitely going to complain that I wrote that, but it would be a smart thing to do, you know. Homeless people waking up from one of the coldest nights since last winter. People waking up alone who do not want to be alone today. People who woke up to a Christmas very different than the one they were expecting before the pandemic. Children learning that there is no Santa Claus. Children learning that there is indeed a Santa Claus. People gathering with people and sharing the coronavirus because they suck. People gathering with their families and families-by-choice on Facetime.

And then, I went back to bed. I don’t remember doing so, other than that I woke up a few hours later, because that’s what I was doing for Christmas – nothing, for nobody.

Like I’m a girl again.

And look — the world keeps turning.

I don’t celebrate the calendar new year even though I consider myself optimistic. I don’t feel like January is a time of renewal when it’s either in the middle of winter or the middle of summer depending on where you live. Here, we’re in the thick of the winter season, and it just doesn’t make sense, either psychologically or biologically, to treat this like a time of renewal.

I think this is one of the reasons it’s hard to stick to a New Year’s resolution: it’s happening during a time in which the weather is telling you to take it easy. If you were supposed to be out jogging more or eating more fruits and vegetables, your body would know this because it would warmer out, there would be more daylight, and therefore, more fruits and vegetables to eat. If you really want to start a new healthy habit, do it on the Equinox, not days just after the winter or summer solstice.

I suggest you do a Capricorn-friendly resolution if you want to make it stick.

Tell me: what is more Capricorn than going to work on Christmas, earning time-and-a-half, or keeping your restaurant open for Christmas to make bunch of money you can use to celebrate when you damned well please to celebrate? Nothin.’

But if you don’t want to do that, make a career- or status-related resolution. Make a resolution to deprive yourself of something unhealthy for you rather than add something healthy. It’s a better time to quit a vice than gain a healthy habit, a better time to think about career moves and projects than say, trying to smile more or how to make more sales for your employer.

Or, resolve to acquire new skills or apply them to your work to make you stand out from the pack. Or change your image to reflect on the person you have matured into. Resolve to use social media less. Resolve to drink less, eat less, lay in bed and masturbate all day less, watch less reality tv, etc. That will be easier than promising yourself to add exercise, read more books, sleep more, etc., and ultimately better for you if you’re inclined to Capricorn energy. The wisdom of Capricorn is that through sacrifice comes gain: you may find that when you watch less reality tv, you read more books anyway to pass the time. You drink and eat less so you end up getting more sleep. You use social media less and find yourself naturally seeking out more exercise as a distraction.

Or don’t make a New Year’s resolution, because if you have to do that, you don’t really want to quit doing whatever it is you’re doing. If you did, you wouldn’t wait for January 1st. You’d start now.

It’s getting dark out now.

It’s warm in here right now. The building is pretty quiet. The neighborhood is quiet. My radiator is percolating, my television is playing Andy Williams, and I am typing away. I’m hoping that soon, we’re going to see the end of the pandemic and maybe next Christmas, we’ll bump into each other at the Christkindle market if I’m still in Chicago. I have no idea where I’ll be in a year. I’m okay with that.

How about you?

Hope your day and your night are going well. I’m doing fine.

Have a good night. Have a Merry Christmas.

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