Ah, Christmas. That time of year when you REALLY see just how much being a grown up truly sucks.
Goodbye Castle Grayskull, My Little Pony and Nintendo. Hello cheap booze, crap aftershave and a fat arse that stays put until June.
I was one hell of a lucky person to grow up in the 80s and 90s – the greatest era ever for Christmas pop culture, toys, games and movies. He-Man and She-Ra’s Christmas special? AMAZING.
I guess all of this adds to why I spend so much time trying to recapture these memories over and over again, and allow my mind to constantly plough through that box of all my favourite things, capturing every sense they stir. It’s very often thought that, from the amount of childhood memorabilia I keep, that I’m someone who craves a lacking childhood. But the real truth is, I just miss it all so much.
So yes, let me be the first to throw a great big pantomime BOO and HISS to how stressful and utterly poo it can be to be a grown up at Christmas.
Skip forward to Christmas 2014. I’m a single, 34-year-old gay man, who lives alone with his dog. So what could I ask Santa for, besides a fridge of Ben and Jerry’s and a onesie to spend my days farting into?
I remember how my aunt used to drag herself across the campsite, dressed like the bottom of Liz Taylor’s handbag, slurring ‘merry fucking Christmas’ before my mum had even put the turkey in the oven.
Now, after years of watching her skulking about in the cold and never fully understanding her Christmas hatred, sometimes I catch myself these days, fearing that I may have become her. Ever cynical, always expecting the worst, and making that special subconscious effort to use Christmas as a reason to feel perpetually lonely. Plus, there’s only so many times you can dress the dog in jaunty Christmas outfits before it gets really REALLY old.
When I get this way, I need to remember to give myself a good ‘holly jolly’ slap in the chops.
It’s always easier for us to look back at things from years ago and imagine they were a lot easier. But we all know that journey to adulthood and ‘self’ is a lot more complicated than that.
Besides good skin elasticity, chances are, your youth was a lot shittier than what you have now. And look at us! We survived it.
We’re in the clear and look where we are. On top of that, the crap we would’ve got in our youth for being gay is over. Family situations can be complicated but, at least now, as a grown up you have the option to get out of there, before dropping the coming out bombshell.
We live in an era where being gay is something that just happens to be, and that is that. Just make sure you move yourself to a town that’s aware of that, and preferably one that also has a gay community.
Things are never as bad as they seem. And I know loneliness can be a real bitch at this time of year, but funnily enough, you’re not alone in that either.
There are SO MANY of us out there feeling exactly the same, but all with our own way of dealing with it.
Don’t be on your own and stop over thinking. Too much of that can only be destructive – believe me.
Call the people who love you, right now, and go spend some time with them.
Watch those films, eat those buggery sprouts and play crappy Christmas party games until you can’t stand it. Make this a Christmas you’ll remember years from now.
Soon, it’ll be another new year. And having that clean slate once again is a great opportunity to get rid of negative dead wood – be they feelings, situations or even people that you need to let go of.
I’ve decided that I’ll stop being so hard on myself this year.
And I hope that resolution lasts at least – until at least February!
So, what’s your resolution going to be?