If I could be 5 again just to enjoy that immense magic both that word and day used to signify to me. It was always bigger than the gifts, Christmas always had this feel. This warm, rich, cozy, decorative , happy feeling that enveloped the rest of the winter with this airiness, with this sense of everything being alright in the world. I ,of course as a child couldn’t appreciate all the hard work, efforts and hustles of the “Santa Clauses” in my life. The hard working ,poor Black women and men from Harlem who loved me and raised me and who made it their mission that time of the year to shield us from the poverty that pervaded our psyches and realities. Christmas was that time to shine. It’s when that Harlem mantra of “Never looking fucked up even if you was” came to life. You balled outta control on your kids and yourself to hide the pain of poverty, the limitations of it on your destiny and as an act of rebellion on a White man’s day to show you could play the game too. That you too ,could provide for your families and give your kids whatever material trinkets their heart desired. There is a pressure like no other in the hood around this time. I’m sure the same energy and mantras still exist , in fact it’s worse now with this social media age and this self imposed edict by the public to post every damn detail of their life, the more , the merrier. There are women who will fight after this day because one talked about what the other had or what the other wasn’t able to do for her kids. Men who been best friends since childhood will end up trying to kill each other over matters of respect usually related to money and one trying to shit on another for calling his bluff. The lists are long and damn it if every body and they momma won’t be doing anything to put up a good face.
You look at shit differently as an adult. This time of year and this day in particular I’m reminded only of the past. The past in so many ways just feels so much fucking better than this present. I don’t even give too much thoughts to the future. On Christmas’ now like a true American, I engorge and I’ve spent. I’ve bought and I’ve consumed. It’s all the richest, the most exquisite, the most period on this day. I don’t think of the credit card bills, I don’t think of other bills, don’t think how I could’ve been like this group or that one who doesn’t spend money. Or think of my attempt to weld weightless privilege. I am grateful though. So grateful. I know that for many this day is more painful than anything. Many of us are alone. Even while with people. I won’t even begin to insert the Covid bullshit into the discussion. So maybe that is what Christmas is to me now, a time to reminisce on the good times past and recreate them in whatever little ways I can ,never forgetting ,” Never let them see you fucked up!” Merry Christmas!!!