How Do You Measure a Year?

 

Seemed appropriate to keep the tree both small and bare this year.

Am I the only one who considers the soundtrack of Rent to be Christmas music? Seems more apt than ever this year, when marginalized people across America have been told they don’t count, and laws and policies are being put in place to ensure this. Like, yanno, women. And brown people. And poor people. And young people. And old people.  And the middle class. And the LGBTQ community. I’m not sure how all these people add up to a minority, but hey, math was never my strong point.

I hope everyone is finding some peace this season as we head into the new year. 2017 was one dumpster fire after another, wasn’t it? Plain old ugly. I’d like to believe 2018 will be different, but I’m not seeing anything to indicate that will be the case. Hell, as I was sitting and listening to Rent, I saw this bit in the news. Who needs to address HIV/AIDS? It isn’t like it impacts everyone, or matters for people to have access to healthcare. Yeah, I’m not expecting any miracles this year.

I’m not about beauty. Sure, I appreciate the look of a rose, but they make me sneeze, make my eyes water in ugly ways. I don’t like pretty poetry, don’t write beautiful characters, I can’t help it. It’s my nature to look at a scene–real or imagined–and be captured by what happened to create it; what went wrong, what’s about to go wrong, and find the scars and stretch marks we carry on the inside and out to be more interesting than a straight nose or flawless complexion.

I’ve always been about small moments, firmly believe these are what make a life; good, bad, or indifferent. A couple of weeks back, Art Child and I went to the Columbus Circle holiday market. We go every year, all kinds of local (and not so local) artists, artisans, and crafts. This year we weren’t shopping so much as just looking. This year more than ever the plan for gifts was about practicality and needs over anything else. It was freezing the day we went, and I wasn’t dressed for it because outdoor shopping hadn’t been the plan, so mostly I was breathing into the neck of my coat, trying to keep warm while hurrying the girl along. I paid attention to exactly one booth. I’m sure I must have seen them before, but this year it overrode the cold and made me stop. Peacebomb jewelry. Aluminum shrapnel from bombs dropped in Laos fifty years ago–by America during the Vietnam War, recast into bits of hope, bits of reclaiming what is ugly and destructive and turning them into beauty. I loved this.


Apparently I loved it so much Husband remembered. I can say without guilt or hesitation I didn’t ask or hint for him to go and get me something from them. Number 1, they’re out of budget. Number 2, we’re supposed to be focusing on the practical. I was so shocked, these were so the perfect gift to close this shitbomb of a year…it’s possible I scared our kids–I cried. I don’t think I’ve ever cried upon opening a gift before, and wouldn’t imagine ever doing so for any reason, but there you have it. Yes, I was surprised that Husband would remember me telling him about this organization and these artists. Yes, I was completely touched that he went down to the booths, searched out this one, and chose not only to purchase something from them, but a pair of earrings I would definitely choose for myself, but also something more. Dangling hope on hooks.

Not hope of magic rescue, or turning back the clock or turning over the election. That ship has sailed, and the damage is too real; ensconced in our government, new laws and overturning of regulations, sitting on judge’s benches for lifetime appointments. Frightening and most damaging of all, the realization and illustration of how vulnerable our democracy and democratic norms are. But hope that someday my children, your children, our collective grandchildren, will dig up these bombs and craft something beautiful out of them.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Whatever you do or don’t celebrate, I’m wishing all small moments of peace and hope in the New Year.

6 comments

  1. 2017 has indeed been a dumpster fire of a year. Call me crazy, but I do have a small amount of hope for 2018, but that hinges mainly on the midterm elections, and the hope that Mueller is able to pull a rabbit out of his hat, and we can get Trump impeached, before he’s fired.

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    1. I’m glad you have some hope, someone should 😉 Seriously, I know it’s a good and necessary thing, but I’m skeptical about just how much Mueller can do within the current climate when factoring in the attacks and setups questioning the FBI, and with the Congress we’ve got.

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  2. There are very few truly beautiful or pretty people in the world most are average looking like me, I find those who are called very beautiful or super pretty are not in my opinion. 2017 was a good year over all for me but I hope there will be less pain in 2018 for me

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  3. Yeah, it was a tough one, Mrs Fringe. And I don’t know how 2018 is going to pan out. Right now, for me, it’s looking iffy. As for this country and where it’s headed. . .

    But there are little bright lights amidst the leaden doom and gloom, like your unexpected giftie and my Christmas snow. We watched a show on PBS last night about animals and birds. I found a link, no sound on it but the imagery is amazing:
    http://video.dptv.org/video/2365791097/

    We need to remind ourselves of all the wonder out there. Even now. Even still. The stretch marks and scars you write about so eloquently are there, and rightly so, as they are part of the human experience. The uncertainty of what 2018 will bring, the damage wrought by this president and his merry men and women–these are part of our life now, too.

    But so are hummingbirds. And snowflakes. And unexpected gifts from those we love.

    Happy New Year, Mrs F, to you and all. xoxo kk

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    1. Thank you for the link, kk. Yes, we each need to find our bright lights–without hiding in their circle and forgetting we need to address these ever encroaching shadows.
      I’m wishing you light and peace. Happy New year to you and yours ❤

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