First, I apologize for the excessive length of this entry, but I beg you to bear with me and read through.
I feel the need to put my 2-cents in about the holidays- seems like every other blogger in the US is. I personally don’t like the way we, in the US, deal with this holiday season. I view through the lens of ritualistic activity and feel that in an effort to be inclusive, to pander to our consumer driven ways, and simplify we have diluted the meaning out of this season full of so many great rituals- we’ve got Hanukkah, the winter solstice, Christmas, Kwansaa, New Years, and sometimes even Ramadan.
All of these rituals have a very similar objective (by objectives I mean how participants are affected by these events, how they are different on the other side of the ritual than before, etc…): renewal and rebirth. This includes renewing one’s bonds with family and community, renewing your spiritual relationship, renewing oneself and the world. In each tradition this is done through specific mechanisms- fasting, lighting of symbolic candles, gift giving, noise to frighten evil spirits and welcome the reborn year, etc…. In the US, we have developed the season into a more inclusive entity in the only way we seem to know how- we have secularized it. And our most powerful tool for secularization is through the highlighting of consumer compliant aspects of the experience- we have separated, or emphasized the giving of gifts (in memory of the Christmas story, in honor of the rebirth of the world, to reinforce community bonds) to such an extent that it has become the dominant trait of this time of year.
Now, before I get nailed with comments, I don’t mean to say that people cannot or do not have powerful ritual experiences during this time of year. Nor that people do not emerge feeling reborn, reattached to themselves and their community. I just want to point out, or more directly ask that we all dig a little deeper than presents during this special time when we have been given the space to do so- renew your community and family bonds through more than just cards or gifts, allow yourself to be reborn, say thank you to your friends and family and tell them you love them. With this in mind, I’ll take the first step:
Laura (my wife): You are incredible, I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you (fewer cats maybe, but not without you). Thank you so much for loving me and sticking with me through all the travails and tough times over the last few years.
Mom & Dad: Couldn’t have made it where I am without you. You and your relationship has served as a high standard that I am constantly struggling to uphold. Love you both.
Ken (my brother): You are a butthead, but I love you. You don’t give yourself enough credit, but someday you are going to actually see how smart, capable, and cool you are. By the way ladies, he is still single….
Grandma: There is no way you are going to read this, I know for a fact you don’t have time for this foolishness and I respect that. Either way, for everyone else out there, I love my grandma and respect her immensely.
Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, etc…: There are too many of you to list here, and I am sorry for that, but I love you all. If you want more details feel free to call me or email and I’ll tell you in detail.
Friends: I have been blessed with a lot of great friends. Again too many to list, but I want to give a quick “shout-out” to my closest 8 (by city so as not to embarrass anyone):
Arlington- you sir are a fucking goofball. You are the soul of being comfortable with one’s uniqueness and thriving in it. Thanks for being my friend, we love you down here in SoMD.
DC- you are my newest friend. That being said our thought patterns are soon in tune it is hard to imagine when you were not my friend. You are indeed a sister to me, thank you.
Monterey- You guys are hard core and it looks like you are raising a hard core kid. Laura and I both know you are going to make great parents, because everything you do is just like that. We miss you here, but know we always think of you.
Philadelphia- you guys are family to me. Although we only get to see each other once or twice a year, they are always some of my best memories when year end rolls around. Thanks for staying friends despite everything. Hopefully we can see you both soon, cause we love ya.
New Haven- Hey you big lug. I’d give you a hug everyday if I could, despite the resulting feeling of violation and unseemliness. You probably don’t know how much you mean to me, but I’d take a bullet, or a pair of sneakers, for you without hesitation. Love ya man.
New York- What can I say? Buffalo lives! You were my best man and still are. We don’t see or talk to each other enough, but that is probably in the best interests of the universe- repairing space-time tears is a bitch. Laura and I both love you and your lovely wife.
For the rest of you out there who didn't make the top 8, don't worry I love you all to.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Book of the Day:Artillery Through the Ages- Abert Manucy
Song of the Day:Missing Otha Turner a bit today so here's his successor: Sharde Thomas
Sketch Medium: graphite and ink on paper (actual size 2.25" x 1.5")