I have myself half to blame for this, because decorating a tree is a process which involves a lot of complex equations I simply don't have the head for. A sense of aesthetics, combined with knowing what goes where, and mentally orchestrating out each individual piece, taking mental inventory on everything and coordinating from that mental inventory how to use as much as humanly possible to leave as few decorations unused as possible.
I mean, none of those sound like things I can't do. In fact, every single one of them is something I do all the time. Even in combination! I do plenty of art stuff which has that involved. But something about the third dimension, in combination with the handling of so many things all at once, simply doesn't click in my mind. I don't think it's lack of practice, either. If I had to guess, it's simply a case of information overload. And so, because I can't comprehend the monumental task at hand, I get stuck with the physical labor.
Still say we get the short end of the stick, though. Because what's involved is going outside, in the freezing weather. Down a slippery hill. To a shed that animals love to nest in...meaning it is filled to the brim with, for lack of a better term, rat turds. Everywhere. Such that the slightest disturbment will send up a storm of "dust". Which oh by GOD we wish it was actually just dust, but we know very fully good and well exactly what it really is. We then have to unload boxes--heavy boxes--of this stuff...and each of the bins is covered in a solid, icky, gooey, brown grime.
I cannot state enough how absolutely disgusting these things are. There's not enough soap in the world to thoroughly clean our hands after we're done. And by the way...we have to do this FOUR times. Because we have to bring it all up. And then back down. (At least they're empty.) And then, back up, when we take the tree down. And finally, back down, to return to storage. All the time, miserable as we go out in the cold dressed for it, then don't change out of our clothes because we know we have to go again, and wait hours--warm, warm, house-is-80+-degrees hours--for the process to finish, before making the return trip.
At which time, we can finally discard the dirty clothing we were wearing which was absolutely clean before we began.
Mental anguish at where to place the last ornament couldn't possibly match the physical--and given the trauma, also emotional--anguish which we go through every year. And right now, I'm in that process of waiting, not able to fully relax and get into any real task because I know I will soon be interrupted by a finished tree. (At least, in theory.)
The bright side to this? I finally got around to starting to read the book I'm borrowing from my tae kwon do instructor, Tao of Jeet Kune Do. It's a book by Bruce Lee, published posthumously, and I can tell you: I could read, then reread, this book a hundred times over and over again and still find it just as good as the first time through.
There is so much GOOD in the book. And I just started reading. It is an amazing book. So much that can be absorbed. I'm taking notes, and those notes feel inadequate to explain just how profound the book is. Of course, it tells nothing new--the book itself says as much. It can't teach me anything I don't already know. But it is an AMAZING way of reminding myself about those things, and it is simply something I find to be something that can really help me no matter my mood.
Few pieces of literature can capture me that well, yet here I am. I do martial arts. I am also a naturally philosophical person. (Heck pretty much any blog reader knows this already--not just by reading my blog, but because most of my blog readers are people who have seen me posting around here and there and thus they are already familiar with my own insights into the world.) I am also spiritual. And this book resonates with me on all those levels. Even if it didn't, though, I would probably still recommend it.
You might not agree with everything within. I'm sure I won't, either. But I feel it is a must-read for everyone, anyway. Something that can help start a journey, as the book says. Not give answers, not give everything, but something which forces you to actually THINK, and reflect on your world.
Hmm...what else can I talk about? For some reason, me being on vacation makes me naturally unwind a bit and write these big, long posts. (I should really learn how to do this at all times, since while I'm sure my few avid readers appreciate some shorter entries and largely skim my longer ones, they still appreciate more insight into me rather than less.)
I can say I suppose we didn't see the new Star Wars: Rogue One today. (I'm skeptical as to how much I'll enjoy it, especially since I'm spoiled, know the end, and was always fond of the expanded universe.) We talked about doing that on the car drive, since there's a theater in Klamath Falls which is RIDICULOUSLY cheap--we're talking, $6 tickets when at home we'd get those same tickets for the same movie at $16. The theater's smaller, and perhaps slightly lower quality, but is virtually empty and is still a high-quality establishment. So it is a REALLY FREAKIN' GOOD DEAL, and also the one time we four can all come together and watch something.
We watched some of The Hobbit films this way, and also The Force Awakens. (My view on that movie is intensely negative, but that's a story for another day.) So we talked about going, but thanks to the events of yesterday combined with what needed to be done today, we couldn't. We leave on the 26th, too, so that means the only time we can watch is on Christmas, which we might yet do: there's a showing time which is after we'd have opened presents, yet before we'd have Christmas Dinner.
I suppose I can also talk about our entertainment...rather, the lack thereof. We brought a PS3. We keep a screen here so that we can play games on it. Yet the connection, which has worked for years, for some reason this year...didn't. We also were missing a controller. So our dad went out and bought things which can hopefully fix that issue. He just came home about midway through me typing this, so I'm not sure yet on whether it worked or not. I suppose I'll soon find out.
So while my day isn't over yet (it's almost 6 PM), I've done a lot, enough to make this entry. If I decide to write more stories of family shenanigans, I suppose I'll start another entry.
And it's at this point, I should mention that while I might not be posting this until after the holidays are over, at the very least, I am thinking of those who have holidays much harder than I do. I know I have AT LEAST one blog reader who has a tough time, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that I have more than one. I really am thinking of you all. Like, a lot a lot. I know that, comparatively, I have it easier than most do. I have difficulties, namely, that I am in the middle of nowhere, living a lie, which if exposed would be at the worst of times. The lie is hard, and knowing what would happen if the truth were exposed is something even worse.
Yet compared to others, this is nothing. I may cause a blood bath if the truth came out, but while living the lie, I at least have the appearance of a fully-loving, supportive family. (I suspect that at least half would remain so. My mom knows, and my sisters probably would. My brother's the wildcard here, and my dad and grandfather definitely would not.) We do have some financial difficulties, but we still have so much so many others lack, a privilege few have. Endless entertainment happening, both actively and potentially. Gifts in the plural for each person. A meal large enough to feed twenty people every day. Stuff like that.
I always feel a bit worried when sharing these stories as a result. And also, sad and bad, for what I have and don't value, which I know others would love to have. (The reason I don't value it being that it is based around a lie of me being a guy, and that if the truth were there, I wouldn't have those things anymore, thus, in the back of my mind, I am always ready and prepared to discard them all, thus, why it can be said I have them but don't value them.)
I never, ever, EVER want to make someone feel worse by reading. In any way, whatsoever. I always aim to entertain, to give you something you want to read, something which gives you joy to have seen. So I just wanted it to be clear: yes, for those who have it hard during the holidays. I AM thinking of you. I AM wondering how you are doing, and hoping you are alright, that you survive. (And for some, that is indeed an issue--survival is not a guarantee for some, and that's the most terrifying part of all.) I know you have a hard time.
And by the time you read this, had a hard time, which will be painful to think about. Maybe not over, or maybe you're lucky and it ended after Christmas. Either way, regardless, I recognize that there are those out there--people who I know and CARE for--who right now, are suffering, and suffering quite badly.
I really am wishing you all the best. I wish I could actively give you hugs, I wish I could do anything to support you, I wish there was something I could do aside from simply thinking of you, but I suppose for now, that'll have to be enough.
Lots of love. <3
December 24th, 2016 (cont.)
And knowing my household, it shouldn't be hard to guess. To be more explicit, my brother reacted with disgust to "a boy dressed like a girl" on an issue of National Geographic. He went on a bit of a rant which made it rather abundantly clear where he falls on the line of transgendered individuals.
I said nothing. But I died inside a little when I heard those hateful words spewed from his mouth, and all I can see is three generations of hate. Now, granted. I've seen signs of this for a while, what with knowing my grandfather is even WORSE than my dad is, and hearing my brother talk about politics with his views nearly identical to those of my dad, and me knowing that my dad's are, to say the least, extreme.
Yet there's a difference between politics and...this. This is something far more than that. It's a personal thing, and hearing it confirmed for good that I've got no hope from my brother is...disheartening. I know my older sister would be okay. She has a transgender friend, and as far as I can tell she didn't stop being friends with that person. I know my mom is okay, since she already knows. But now...the score stands at two for, and in this current household, three against, with one unknown. And me as the person the subject would be about.
I have to admit: I've grown to have a LOT of distance between me and my dad, in spite of us living together and me relying on him. But in spite of me having distance between my brother, I haven't grown distant from him any more or less than I have any of my other siblings. So that is to say, with my father I'm not sure I hold love for him anymore, yet with my brother I know I do.
So hearing what I heard was immensely painful, because it means that down the line, when I do eventually get the courage to come out, either there will be toxicity from him or I choose to discard that love as to not deal with it. It's really not the best way to do holiday cheers, so I'm sorry to disappoint. This was a big, relevant thing for today, so I felt the need to blog about it, even if it was such a negative thing I wish hadn't happened but all the same did.
I hope I have better news for you tomorrow.