Gagging on Christmas

A collection of gift tags

It’s safe to say that my husband and I come from very different sides of the track. His upbringing was firmly upper middle class and my upbringing was firmly skipping class to go to work ‘cuz I got siblings and someone has to feed these damn kids.

It was ten years ago this winter, that I trekked up to my husbands beautiful little mountain town to spend Christmas with his family.

But first, a tale from the Ghosts of Christmases past;

I was raised between the foster care system and the streets. Most of my Christmases were spent in the faded lime green or grey walled buildings of mental institutions visiting my mentally ill mother. We used to drink dixie cups of chicken “soup” that came out of the vending machine next to the coffee and hold hands across metal tables, carefully supervised. My mother would give us bright little drawings she made.

Other Christmases spent in children’s shelters and homes were more eventful. Socks, toothbrushes, packages of underwear, new sheets, and one year a boombox from the local fire department; my pride and joy. Need-based gifts were the name of the game and there were no complaints from me.

So when I spent my first “real Christmas” with my then boyfriend, now husband, at the tender age of nineteen, I was still fresh from the Christmases of my childhood and totally unprepared for what was about to happen.

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Minimalism? Oh Fuck It, Let’s Buy Stuff.

Empty room

I grew up poor. Like…in conditions that you don’t even associate with being possible in a first world country.

Abandoned building in Detroit poor. “Running water? What the hell is it running from?” poor. Three siblings glued together on a dirty mattress in front of an open oven in the kitchen in December CAUSE WE GONNA DIE! poor.

It has given me an appreciation of things. Physical things. Amazing, tangible things.

I swear to God, for the first five years I had a dryer, I legit used to take out all the clean towels and just lay in the pile, purring. “Where’s DGGYST?” “She fell asleep in the towels again.”

Cats cuddling in a towel

I’m firmly out of my towel fixation. (That’s a dirty lie. May I never become so jaded as to not appreciate warm clean towels.) My love of creature comforts continues, but I am trying put that aside. After all, happiness is an inside job. I’m going to try forest bathing, a vow of silence, a retreat of the spiri…oh fuck it let’s buy stuff!

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Meal Prep for When You Just Can’t Even

Sleeping girl

I have two versions of myself: the one that kicks ass and takes names, and the one that just. can’t. even.

It’s a hormonal thing. I can’t be expected to clean my house and cook dinner and defeat my enemies when I am downing wolfsbane and transitioning into a she-beast. I ride those energy waves just like most women, but I feel like we aren’t allowed to admit that we ride them. Because that makes us “less-better than men,” or “hormonal,” or “crazy,” or “lazy,” or my favorite: “witches.”

Maybe you are that elusive super woman who has consistent mood, energy, and awesomeness all month long, who kicks ass from sun up to sundown 365 days a year and runs and wins marathons on the first day of her period. In which case, Hi Gwyneth! Thank you so much for reading, girl! I loved you in “Duets”!

Gwyneth Paltrow GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

For the rest of us, learning to navigate those waves, whether they be from hormones, or depression, or balancing a job and a family is key to master the art of adulting.

I’m a bit of an extremist by nature. I get these grand ideas of preparing surf and turf on a Wednesday, duck a l’orange on a Thursday, tackling a vegan dish worthy of the cover of Bon Appétit on a Friday, and ringing in the weekend with Eggs Benedict and homemade apple crisp.

In reality, I have surf and turf on a Wednesday and then the fridge is empty for the rest of the week and I bounce a check cause that shit is expensive and by the time the weekend comes around, I can be found half naked, squatting in front of the fridge eating the last remnants of a block of cheese.

I’m better now. I’ve discovered “attainable goals” and “pajamas” and something called “meal prep.”

These tips may seem over-simplistic, but that’s the point. We all spend 45 minutes on Pinterest, get these crazy ideas in our head about “30 meals in 3 hours” and 30 hours later, we have 3 meals and are shitfaced and covered in peanut butter. So, here’s to attainable goals and to meal prep for when you just can’t even.

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Shit You Might Not Know Because No One Tells Millennials Anything

Girl in a dryer at a laundomat

Let me preempt this post by saying: maybe you had awesome boomer parents who were wise and gave you guidance and provided you with endless opportunities and pearls of wisdom. In which case, ask them if they are up for adopting a 29-year-old blogger who sometimes only pretends to wash her hands for the comfort of others and is not above eating things out of the garbage.

George Costanza eating out of the trash

But this post is for the rest of my contemporaries who, in our guidance-free lives, use #adulting and call all of our other millennial friends when we discover how to load a fucking dishwasher.

Our general cluelessness and enthusiasm for life hacks has been on my mind a lot and has led me to conduct a very unscientific poll. This week I have been asking all my millennial friends, “What is the best piece of advice you ever got from your parents?”

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