Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Jollies

So every year in December I pull out my big, fuzzy Santa hat and wear it around for a few days leading up to Christmas. Instead of bringing good cheer, Justina Claus seems to compel people in my life - the ones whom I know by first name or better - to make fun of my Normal Rockwell spirit, or to assume there's a more rational explanation.

"Are you going caroling after work?" one of my office mates asked.

"Is today your company Christmas party?" my roommate asked.

What's wrong with wearing a Santa hat to keep your head warm?

"That reminds me, I need to get a winter hat," my roommate said.

"You can borrow my Santa hat tomorrow."

"Uh, yeah. No thanks."

On the other hand, strangers tend to give me more credit. It seems that if you're wearing a Santa hat, people assume you're jolly and treat you with jolliness.

"Merry Christmas, happy holidays," said some dude coming out of a liquor store.

"Heya Santa," said another dude standing on the street doing nothing.

These people always catch me off guard. On the outside I walk and talk like a normal, well-adjusted person. No one can tell that recently I was viciously and profoundly betrayed by the person I trusted most.

Sometimes I almost feel a physical separation between my body and my soul. Soul Justina sits in a tall swiveling office chair inside my head and looks out at the world through my eyeballs, as if she's the captain of the world's greatest spaceship. Well, let's face it. She IS the captain of the world's greatest spaceship, and we're star-trekking across the universe. But these days Soul Justina isn't paying much attention the world outside because she's preoccupied by the narratives of unbearable anger and disbelief, as well as the vivid revenge fantasies, spiraling out of control inside Brain Justina.

It takes a stranger's jolly greetings to jolt me back to my unified self and to remind me that on the outside I'm wearing a ridiculously fluffy red Santa hat and looking jolly. But on the inside, my heart has no choice but to spend the holidays waging war with bitterness and hatred, and to wonder whether she will ever find a way to open up, make room, and learn to trust again.

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