Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Holidays? Part 1

Another Holiday Season has arrived, and I can't wait until it's over. I hate this time of the year. It's the time of year when the worst of American Culture seems to rise to the surface all at once- gluttony, greed, materialism, ultra-capitalism, religious grand standing, the celebration of Holidays for which many Americans don't seem to fully understand, complete lunacy on the nations roads and in the retail centers..., people fighting over parking spaces and willing to assault one another over Chinese made goods (the irony), you name it. It's a complete circus, and American consumers are the clowns. The Holiday season is like lancing an infected wound so that the fluids can drain out. And it's the same thing every year.

I also hate this time of year because I typically end up with an outlook (esp. on my life) which is opposite of what most people tend to have. While most people are preaching about all of the things that they are thankful for, I end up thinking about all that I DON'T have. I am forced to think about all of the things that I have not attained or achieved... all of the goals that I was not able to accomplish over the last year. I am basically reminded of my lack of accomplishment in general. How my life has been a failure over the last 30 something years to this point. I am reminded of all the things about my life and about myself that I hate.

I hate watching rich folks falling over themselves to spend their money this time of year. It is like an "in your face" type of deal from my perspective. While they throw their money around (on nonsense that they don't need) I am reminded that I live from paycheck to paycheck (yes, i'm broke) and can't take care of my basic needs. And no money almost always = no woman, and crappy everything else, at least for me. The lack of income is the source of most of my dissatisfaction with life. This time of year is everyone's chance to show off their success and financial prowess in a sense...and I can only watch this nonsense as an outside observer (not that I would take part if I could...but I couldn't if I wanted to). In fact, I actually felt like I had more money when I entered the job market 14 years ago...and I probably did have more money to spend then than I do today when you factor in the cost of living. The Holidays are a reminder of my chronic under-employment... and I can't help but to believe that my condition has something to do with where I started- my position in life from the womb. I end up questioning the missteps of my parents...although I know that looking back won't do a damn thing for me now. But being Black, it seems that I was already behind in the rat race by default. Coming from parents, esp. my biological mother...(the term "egg donor" comes to mind) who did not do all they could to prepare their children for this madness, questions of where I could be- "if, had they did this or that"... always come up and never seem to escape my mind.

And I am annoyed by folks constantly telling me "Happy Holidays".... There isn't anything Happy about this time of year for me. But I am usually polite and I give them a head nod and a forced smile to acknowledge their well meaning gesture. Sometimes though I end up frowning or acting like I don't hear them. But this constant reminder of the Holidays is translated in my brain as "You are still broke, Black, and at the same place you were a year ago"... "Congratulations!" I don't hear good tidings... It's never just "Happy Holidays" to me.

Terrible I know.

If that makes me a Grinch, then so be it.

I will try to follow up with a Part 2...

...On being poor and Black during the Holidays...and how I can't seem to do anything to change it, at least the Black part. Also on chasing the American Dream...and how it is becoming harder to attain, even if you work hard.

In the meantime, I get to watch the sickness of America called the Christmas shopping season. The Christmas season encapsulates just about everything that is wrong with this Country.


Constructive Feedback said...


One of my rationalizations that I had created years ago to deal with a popular sentiment amount Black people is: "I feel no motivation to join or relate to YOUR depression as a conditions of me being an honorable Black man".

As I read your union grievance above I can only figure to ask you - WHAT have you actually DONE over this past year to insure that come December 2007 things would be any different than what you faced in December 2006?

I just spend a day with family and friends that I hadn't seen in a while. More than the Nintendo Wii that I bought for my kids after waiting in line at 7am it is the HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS that are of most value to me. How is it that you can denounce materialism yet feel sullen because YOU don't have "materials"? If indeed these other people who are shallow are lost then why don't you learn to mentally formulate a framework of understanding that allows you to BE HAPPY knowing that you in your counter-cultural movement is actually moving toward your own goals and can identify what SUCCESS you have achieved in doing this.

Take a step back and note what you have told us. You no doubt are critical of capitalism. You talk about living "paycheck to paycheck". Is it possible that you need to implement a COMMUNALIST relationship in your personal situation where one or more people who have like minded views can compromise the hedonistic living space and material possessions that capitalism provides - though in an imbalanced fashion - as you all share rent, utilities and food expenses while all of you save your surplus in a fund that contributes to some worthy cause. Why is this not a worthy goal for 2008?

One thing is for sure brother - a victory by Obama, Clinton, Romney or Guliani ALONE is NOT going to change your situation. Only your choice to clearly identify what your general end point and then making a trail leading from this point to WHERE YOU STAND NOW and then implementing ACTIONS on a daily basis to follow this path is going to translate into meaningful steps forward that can give you a psychological pat on the back.

(You, I and others on this board might disagree violently on ideological matters but I am not so much of an adversary to not be for disturbed by what you have written (this is the second time you have eluded to such sentiments) and then concerned about your interpretation of your place in the world. Peace)

rikyrah said...

You know AI,

I should introduce you to one of my closest Sistafriends. She absolutely hates this time of year. Yesterday, when I called her, I only said ' Happy Thursday'...LOL

That said, I do enjoy Thanksgiving.

It's Christmas that just makes me go ' eh'.

I don't want to buy anybody anything this year. And, I don't know how to justify it. I just have no motivation whatsoever.

What I want for Christmas, well, can't be wrapped and put under the tree.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but, in some ways, I agree with CF.

You know you should be going back to school. You've written about it, so I just say do it. That, and getting into better physical health, should be the gifts from you to you for this year. This year hasn't exactly gone the way that I wanted it to go, but I've got to be thankful for it going the way that it did.

CF, though, it's not denouncing ' materials'. How about it's about having the comfort level.Not wanting to scuffle and feel like you're not progressing.

patsgirl said...

I'm with rikyrah & CF! U have a lot of 'got your back' here & probably in your real world. Act on what you're given. I've acted on so much of what I've been informed about from this blog. I know of a few blogs (and I'm sure there are tons of others) that have things in the works that could remedy certain of the financial & other points u address.
CF's suggestion about sharing responsibility is excellent. I'm sure rikyrah knows you well. Listen to her. Don't believe the hype. We're here for each other--agree or agree to disagree--as CF says.
This is my first time commenting here. I believe u need to hear from the voices outside your head because we appreciate your accomplishments.

rikyrah said...


A reference for you for your next Happy Holidays report:

Tattered Dream

The Angry Independent said...

Thanks Rikyrah

The Angry Independent said...


It's not about wanting a lot of "material possessions". It's about living comfortably and being rewarded for doing all of those things that they say you will be rewarded for in this country.... hard work, going to school, being law abiding, etc etc etc.

I would just like to be able to live without worrying about which bill I should skip in a given month, or creditors coming for me, or having to pray that I don't get sick.

I'd like to live in a nicer neighborhood where it's safe to walk around at night. I'd like to drive nicer cars, and have nicer clothes.... nothing extravagant. I'm actually pretty conservative when it comes to material possessions. I just want the basics. (nice basics... but the basics).

I'd like to be able to get to a point in life where I can start living, instead of surviving. I want to start dating some day...(although I have accepted the fact that marriage is not a realistic goal), and I want to start saving for a retirement. Without a good career opportunity, none of these things will be possible.

I have not even started living yet and i'm already behind... approx. $60,000 in debt. I need a decent paying job just to begin paying my student loans.