We’re in the dark in-between. You know what I mean. That strange, listless week that resides in the chasm between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
The caption read: Me on my third bottle of gas station wine trying to get through the rest of this year.
The meme socked me right where it hurts the most: My Truth.
I haven’t been drinking gas station wine but I have been drinking White Claw which *is* gas station wine if we’re being real. (On particularly dark days I’ll use a white claw as a tequila mixer which repels and offends Eduardo, a born & raised Mexican, but that little slut drinks it anyway).
White Claw aside, It’s just all so very strange.
During the Christmas season, we spend all of this time masking the wrath of our paralyzing depression through the art of distraction. Who needs feelings of pending doom when there are so many pretty, ~glittery~ things to look at?
Who needs to obsess over gruesome intrusive thoughts when we could just march over to the Christmas store in Midtown and pick out a plush little pine tree slaughtered and imported from upstate New York? Why stay trapped in the prison of our acute panic disorder when we could just march our bad boy trees back to our apartments six blocks south?
Beads of sweat emerge on our foreheads as we haul our regal tree up our four-story walk-up. It’s a very grounding exercise. It’s what human beings were designed to do: lug trees around. It’s primal, for we’re suddenly back in touch with our caveman instincts. And if you worship at the altar of Joe Rogan or Aubrey Marcus or Tim Ferris or any of the bio-hacking bros that dominate the podcast charts — you understand the importance of being connected to your inner caveman. Doing manual labor and taking in cold air is what we’re biologically hardwired to do, man. Sitting inside scrolling through a static screen is why we’re all fucked up and lonely, dude. (Despite the fact that I’m a ~lowly woman~ I can keep the fuck up with the best of the bio-hacking fuckboys. David Asprey wishes).
And then we get to our dutiful homes and we unearth boxes of Christmas ornaments from our spidery attics or wherever and our brains get all lit up from absorbing the glitter of those sparkly round balls we like to hang on our trees for whatever reason.
And then our dead hearts come back to life when we’re reminded of the memories attached to those tacky little Santa Clause ornaments we’ve had since early childhood (before we developed eating disorders and discovered our favorite relative was a bigot) and we start to feel things.
Sometimes we decorate our tree with family or chosen family, which elicits wonderful feelings of connectedness. Because again, if we go back to the roots of humanity, we’re tribal creatures. We’re not meant to be reading snarky essays on VICE all alone in our studio apartments. We’re like dogs, we’re meant to be part of a pack, a community. And decorating a tree is a communal ritual. It Makes Us Feel Like We Belong. And We All Want To Feel Like We Belong.
Of course, complicated feelings about family and childhood and money creep in for most of us during the holiday season — but it’s easy to block out these unwanted anxieties because the streets are teeming with beautifully blinking strung lights. And the nasty bitch you see every day at the bodega — the one who grimaces at you — she actually smiles at you this time of year. And then there are all these little kids bundled up singing Christmas carols for charity in Time Square! And even if you’re an old hag who doesn’t normally coo over little snotty kids who aren’t related to you like moi — your heart can’t help but swell over the whole scene.
And then of course there’s all the eating and all the drinking. It’s the only time of year our diet-obsessed culture says a collective “FUCK OFF” to the sugar-less influencers who inundate us with a surplus of unsolicited recipes that are “healthy alternatives to apple pie” as they flaunt their flat navels on their beige little feeds. We mute them and eat the damn cookie for once and we enjoy the damn cookie for once and we don’t covet your rock-hard abs for once.
And when that cookie has swished its way through our systems and those blood-sugar levels spike to new heights we’re rendered with a fun ZAP of manic energy which yes is fleeting but it feels good in the moment. And whilst living in the throes of the current political hellscape — a couple of seconds of relief from the ever-present pain feels like a miracle. A Christmas Miracle.
And right when you feel yourself crash you simply numb the chemical sadness away with a hearty pour of hot mulled wine and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.
Christmas is like slapping a Chanel band-aid over the grotesque wound. Christmas is like developing a minor cocaine problem so temporary it skips right past the life-wrecking consequences — and you just get to experience that beautiful burst of confidence matched with the euphoric beams of excitement that pump like a heartbeat through your veins. Christmas is truffle oil for your life. You can douse the blandest shit in truffle oil and it’ll still taste FUCKING LUXURIOUS.
And then we get to give into all the trashy pleasures we normally pretend to be too sophisticated to enjoy. I’ve seen rockstars hum along to Christmas music which we all know is actually really bad. But it’s a relief to just like the bad thing for once. It’s relief to give into orange slices of saran-wrapped cheese every now and again. Our world is all about brie and I love brie more than I love my brother Blake but sometimes I really just want some government cheese is that okay?
It is okay. On Christmas.
And then the 26th BOLDLY opens the door to our bedrooms without even knocking. She drags us into our bathrooms and forces us to take in our vile reflections in the dirty bathroom mirror.
Suddenly we can’t see our cheekbones. We’re all puff. Our eyes are red and swollen like a toad. We feel our spirit flounder in despair from the abuse of booze and chemical-laden sugar and artificial glitter and all that pretending that the bad Christmas music was good.
Suddenly reality slivers her way around our waists like an unwanted touch from a lover we’re suddenly repulsed by. “The uncle that you had a deep conversation with last night? He doesn’t believe in gay marriage.” Reality purrs into our hungover ears.
And suddenly we feel disgusted with ourselves.
I’ll just go to another Christmas party and forget all about how hungover and bloated and shitty I feel!
And then we remember Christmas is over. There are no more parties.
That’s fine I’ll just lose myself in work.
And then we remember that we’re off till January 3rd! Or that we’ve been recently laid off! Or that duh! WE HATE OUR JOBS.
And yes we could take this time to start brainstorming our next podcast idea or whatnot — but we could also take this time to rot away on the couch for a while. Or we could take this time to get really fit but also what’s the point? The New Year is coming and the New Year is more exciting to hopeful depressives than the great rapture is to delusional Christians.
Because this New Year is going to be OUR YEAR.
In the New Year, you’ve got a goal to become body-builder level fit, didn’t you tell me? Why not give yourself ~one week more~ of sinning?
Because let me tell you — they’ll be NO sinning in the New Year, sluts.
So the Dark In-Between is the time to sin.
Only we feel the sting of the sin on a visceral, gut-punching level because there are no more Christmas parties and there is no more reason to purchase those charming Toy Soldiers in the Dark In-Between.
The Christmas band-aide has been ripped off and we’re raw nerve.
And if you’re like me you go extra hard in the Dark In-Between because in the new year you won’t be doing any of this bad shit. You’ll be so busy becoming a certified yoga instructor and manifesting love and taking ice-cold showers and journaling and doing breathwork and starting a small business that there won’t be time for DARK DEBAUCHERY.
So stop shame spiraling. Because in the New Year they’ll be no darkness. Just bright spiritual retreats in the California desert and sobriety and happiness and success and meditation and self-help books. So lean into the dark while can you, little sister. For the lights are about to turn the fuck on and there’s a certain fabulous hedonism that can only survive in the darkness.
So suck your champagne out of straw and cry yourself to sleep because we’ve only got a few days left of weeping to reality TV blackout drunk.
(And of course read my book. She goes perfectly well with a side sin shame.)
My debut book GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP: THE BAD GIRL’S GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR SH*T TOGETHER is available NOW on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, AUDIBLE, and BAM! If you send me a screenshot of your order, I’ll send you swag!