"The sadness comes crashin' like a brick through the window / And it's Christmas so no one can fix it"
In this particular moment, on this particular morning, I don't feel particularly sad. I can say that more often than not these days. But my insides have long been coated in a melancholic film. That's just the way it is. I don't resist it. I don't hate it. I don't even dislike it. And in fact I even find a certain peace and pleasure and clarity in it. Some of the purest moments in my life have occurred on long, sad solo walks down foreign streets. Burrowed deep within those sadnesses was pain. But it was a real pain. And with the excess of bullshit pervading our day-to-days, experiencing something real, even if that something is pain, is nothing short of a gift.
In recent weeks, a friend of mine in Thailand was for the first time in his young life experiencing the pangs of new love and its potentially swift loss, compounded with the raw hurt of being made by some of his colleagues to feel defective for not being his usual all-smiling self as he navigated this new terrain, and I found myself in the wonderful position to be of some service. This is something I've only recently started noticing in myself. An ability, at 40 years of age, with a relatively long road of being alive and trying to do it better snaking through the earth behind me—and still beneath me and ahead of me—to actually be in a position to help. To know, more or less, and only in those brief flashes, what to say or do, and what not to say or do, and when (and how) to just shut the fuck up and listen.
I don't really know where I'm going with all of this. It's Christmas Eve in Thailand, and I'm sitting at my desk at school trying to get this off my chest so I can get back to work, somehow. This is my fifth consecutive Christmas outside of America, and the muscle memories of family and food and movies and music and laziness and loneliness and togetherness have thoroughly set in. And I guess this is my way of saying Merry Christmas. So Merry Christmas. May your days be filled with all the best and purest kinds of sadness. The sadnesses of lives lived and people loved, and of memories made and launched into the ether.
Brian Leli, December 2020
Phoebe Bridgers, If We Make It Through December
Type O Negative, October Rust