Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I REALLY Want for Christmas:

I would have been a good hippie. Picture me standing in front of you, head appropriately adorned with flowers. I’m holding up two fingers on each hand in a symbol of peace and love to those around me. Let’s just all sit around and be happy, I’m thinking, and hug on each other and stuff like that. I could wholeheartedly promote compassion and kindness to all of God’s creatures except, of course, for those troublemaker warmongers among us. Even then, I would do my best to help you see the error of your ways and to bring an even greater sense of goodwill toward all. And, just as a bonus, I could go around in flip-flops and bell-bottoms all day, barefoot even.

What I REALLY want for Christmas is to hold my fingers up in peace signs and magically have us all be friends, love each other, pass out more compliments, more smiles, more Starbucks gift cards. I want the name-calling, the back-biting, the hatred to stop. I want us to each see ourselves in the other, to see the good, the right, the possibilities. I want us to lift each other up. I want us to see the PERSON, not the color or the income or the sexual preference. I want us to march forward in love for our fellow man or woman or child or creature, whatever. I have a dream, and all that.

But, technically, I can’t ask for things for others. That’s sort of cheating. If I could, my husband would be a genius, billionaire gorgeous hunk of a guy who looks hot in his black and red superpowers suit. He’d be wicked funny and bring me flowers and perfume and chocolates and would write me love poems and satisfy my every need. He would never ever wince when I ask if these jeans make my butt look fat or when I model a new hairstyle for him. He’d serenade me on his guitar or piano or just with his deep melodic manly voice. He’d like all my friends…..and my mother. He’d take my breath away even after twenty-five years together. I would just thank the heavens and know that I was one lucky girl. I’d always be right. Ok, so maybe that's MY list. But wishing for others to change gets one nowhere.

So, in an effort to keep with Christmas code, I have compiled a list of what I would REALLY like for the holidays, for me, not for anyone else, because I know that if I want to change the world I need to start with myself and BE the change. Ghandi and all that. If you’re one of my children, and you’re reading this, I would so appreciate that pair of snowshoes I asked for LAST Christmas. If you’re anybody else, well, I’ll give you a few options:

What I want for Christmas………..

1. Unconditional love for my body

I have parts that are too big and parts that are too small and neither are the parts that I wish were big or small. I’d like to be good with that. I’d like to look in the mirror and love and accept my body as I love and accept others’ bodies. I never look at others and think why do your arms flap like that? I never ridicule them for having belly bulge over their appendix scars or stretch marks down their thighs. I never say in my head Oh. My. GAWD! Your eyeballs look SO weird when you do that!! That would just be ridiculous. And rude.

No, with my body I am like the parent who tells her child I love you as long as you sit down, be quiet and do what I say. Only like the child my body never listens. It has a mind of its own. I’d like to be able to love it nonetheless.

2. Unconditional love for my brain

I have two sisters. We were pegged by our mother as the athlete, the social butterfly, and the smart one. I occasionally tried to cross the line to no avail. I went out for tennis in high school. My sister made the team. I once got written up in the paper for hitting a home run. My sister’s name appeared instead of mine. I had a small group of nerdy friends. What was I thinking? I was supposed to be the smart one. It was my job to get good grades and to make all the teachers smile. How hard was that? Just accept it and move on.

I liked school. School was fun. It still is. But I’ve always felt a certain pressure to be at the head of the class. And, just confessing, I never feel quite smart enough. I feel, sometimes, like a total poser. I sneak around teaching college, for God’s sake, just waiting for someone to find me out. I am intimidated by those who are smarter than I am. Secretly, though, while I am intimidated, I am uber, uber impressed. If you know the movie, School of Rock, my head plays out a version of one of the scenes. In it, the teacher asks one of his students why he is not doing something, something that my brain fails to recall right now. The student, a nerdy looking Asian kid, responds simply “because I am not cool enough.” You have to read that one as if the words are run together like this: I am not coolenough. My head is like that Asian kid. It just stands there looking all pathetic, telling me that I am not smartenough. Sometimes I think the only reason I still want to go for that PhD is to prove to others that I can, that I’m capable. You know, because I’m the smart one.

3. Fingernails

I don’t bite my nails anymore. I used to. I was a nervous child. Biting nails always seemed a more acceptable form of stress relief to me than, say, getting wild ass drunk at orgy-like parties or sneaking off into the high school bathroom to do things my parents would get called about later. I was not a fan of trouble. My nails took a beating for it.

I have since taken to other, more adult, forms of stress relief. I have not, however, learned to give my nails the attention they so deserve. I absolutely love French manicures and just ache for one, but I am resigning myself to the fact that I may die without ever having known those pretty white tips. Still. I’m adding it to the list.

4. Future vision

Sometimes I read the end of the book first. For real. Would be nice to do the same with life. Occasionally.

5. An agent

I'm thinking I should have made this number one.

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