There is a saying that Eskimos have 50 words for “snow” because they are surrounded by it so often. This holiday season, I will be compiling a 50 word list for “uncomfortable.” For this year, despite my huge momentary leaps in personal hygiene, I will not be able to groom the harsh truth. For I, Rebecca Henderson, have reached the holy trinity of mid-twenties failure: I am unemployed, single, and appear to have gained some weight.
“And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
to kids from one to ninety-two,
although it’s been said many times, many ways,
2 drink maximum at family events.”
Let’s just dive right in to the very crucible of self doubt and anxiety: holiday parties. Oh yes, the small talk will be pungently awkward. Acquaintances will quiver at the very sight of me: starting a conversation will be like staring at three nooses in the gallows, not knowing which one exactly is going to kill the mood. For those who fear the reaper, the hors d’oeuvres table will basically become a no-fly zone, because it is there I will be planted, enjoying and savoring every delicate flavor of the awkward spectrum. I have found “I left my job in July” has sort of a toffee note on the finish, whereas “we actually broke up on New Years” features a bright, acidic aftertaste. Your parent’s friends, however, are like a mystical species that is immune to the omnipotence of social media. They are babies who have unknowingly stumbled into the hibernating bear exhibit at the zoo, they don’t even know to be afraid, such is their innocence. So it’s going to be a long night for everyone. In fact, it’s going to be a long couple of weeks.
“He sees your Facebook updates
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
Change account to private for fuck’s sake!”
Christmas is the heaven-sent outpost in the inhospitable alien terrain of your 20’s. I believe in Santa Claus like I believe in placebos: even if it isn’t real, I might survive this thing yet so really, who is complaining? You need to ensure survival for another full year, or at least until your next birthday. So when your someone asks you what you want this Christmas, don’t play coy. Bust out a dull crayon and a sheet of paper and write this shit down:
One that has all the buttons, no lingering secondhand cigarette smell, and free of mysterious stains. Start the year off on a clean slate. Promise yourself that you will find a dry cleaner this year, even though we all know you are going to just put your misplaced trust in the “delicate” wash cycle.
Grocery Gift Cards
We all make mistakes. Our generation is learning easy stuff the hard way because instead of teaching us how to function as adults, we learned how to calculate the relative atomic mass of nitrogen. You mistake the drink special one night and you are eating spaghetti and mustard for a week. Practical gift cards are the financial first aid kit, but if you are just hemorrhaging cash, sticking a bandaid on it won’t help longterm, kiddos.
Push pins and tape are office supplies, not interior décor: past the age of 23, things on walls should be in frames. Doing this will take the immediate “what human-hamster hybrid lives here” reaction and transform it into a “what a tidy young entrepreneur.” Plus, would it kill you to have a nice framed family photo to counteract all the untagged Facebook uploads that you will never be able to truly destroy.
Listen, there have been times my toothbrush was just petting my teeth twice a day as they slowly rotted. I know your bristles are worn out. I know your gums aren’t glowing pink. I also know you probably can’t afford dental. You do the math.
Read it, use it as a food tray during a Netflix marathon, what do I care. But at least you’ll be supporting the goddamn written word. Not mine, I write on the internet, but like an actual writer or something.
Sure, it’s a bit of a reach, but at least it will keep the soul crushing anxiety of having to go through another holiday with no life plan at bay for the next 2-4 years.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never texted at 2 am?
Holiday romances are a phenomenon among mid-twenties singles. Like the aurora borealis: we kind of know there is a desperate science behind it, but after two glasses of wine we just prefer to believe in magic. Chemically speaking, it would seem that the mixture of anxiety sweat, childhood shampoo, and the perfume of every relative that you were forced to hug combine in such a way that it transforms into some kind of intoxicating pheromone. Catalyzed by the fact that those who bore witness to the mistakes of your puberty from one desk over are now witnessing the humiliation of your adulthood from only one barstool over, and you have yourself what is scientifically referred to as a clusterfuck. This exotic annual courtship blossoms through a series of cryptic and enchanting messages, beginning with a simple query from out of the blue:
“sup are u in town-a”
In days of yore, this could be transcribed: “My precious jewel, might I come calling this evening? Fervently yours, A.” It would perhaps be handwritten, sealed with wax, and delivered by a white glove directly to your chamber. Breathlessly, you would grab your quill and quickly scribe in elegant hand a return: “Indeed, good sir, I am in town and joyfully receiving guests this very eve.”
“yea, wanna hng out ltr?”
I personally think that minimizing the amount of vowels helps preserve a lady-like demeanor of restraint. It shows you have not been conquered by passion yet, tantalizing that vowels may come in great hoards later. Then, you wait. Listening for the sound of your phone vibrating in your purse like the whisper of a dove’s wing.
Someone grab my smellin’ salts, I’m bound to swoon.
In conclusion, If you have had a “maybe-lets-exclude-this-chapter-in-the-memoir” year like myself, my advice is this: probably don’t listen to my advice. Maybe listen to the advice of my recently-promoted-and-more-recently-engaged-lawyer-sister, she seems to be doing a-o-fucking-kay. I wish that statement was in any way fictionalized to add flair to this ending, but it’s not. This is me currently: I am the quarter life worst-case-scenario, 2014 is my Britney Spear’s 2007.
But here is the tarnished silver lining to this stinker of a year. I am finally emotionally indestructible. You know what happens when you are stuck between a rock and a hard place for long enough? You turn into a goddamn diamond. I am headed into 2015 like the sparkling bitch I was put on Earth to be. And as long as I don’t end up with my own show on the TLC network, I know I am doing ok.