For Real Friday: How To Tell if Your Holiday is Under Attack

 

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We hear a lot about the “War on Christmas” this time of year, so I’ve created this handy questionnaire to help people determine if their holiday is under attack, ranked in order of severity.

Can you answer yes to any of the following statements?

  1. If other people near my residence discover me celebrating said holiday, it is statistically probable I will be tortured, maimed, and/or murdered
  2. I am forbidden to teach my children about my holiday
  3. My children must learn to celebrate (not acknowledge or learn about the existence of) holidays other than my own
  4. I could lose my job if my employer discovers I celebrate my holiday
  5. My religion explicitly forbids me from doing a thing or requires me to do a thing on my holiday, but to maintain economic, social, emotional, or physical well being, I must do/not do it anyway
  6. If I tell others that I celebrate my holiday, I will lose social standing
  7. I am forced to celebrate (not acknowledge the existence of)  a holiday that contradicts my religious belief or else I risk physical, emotional, economic, or social consequences
  8. I am forbidden to decorate spaces I control with my holiday’s decor

If you answered yes to any of the above statements, your holiday may be under attack.
Here’s what is NOT an attack on your holiday

  1. Other people can answer yes to more of the above questions than I can and that makes me uncomfortable
  2. Other people, businesses, or agencies do not also celebrate my holiday or force others to pretend to celebrate it to make my month more festive.
  3. Other people do not celebrate it correctly or understand the real meaning of my holiday
  4. Other people do not celebrate my holiday enthusiastically enough
  5. Other people acknowledge or even celebrate other holidays
  6. Other people don’t specifically wish me my specific happy holiday
  7. Other people do not decorate for my specific holiday in spaces that I do not control
  8. Other people decorate for their own holidays instead in spaces that I do not control
  9. Other people do not play my holiday music is spaces that I do not control
  10. Schools and retailers do not acknowledge or celebrate my holiday on days that are NOT your holiday (i.e no Christmas plays or parties on December 16th)
  11. My employer asks that I am respectful to holidays other than my own  while in their space or representing something my employer

Please do not say your holiday or religious belief is under attack if your biggest problem is that other people are not making life festive enough for you. It’s incredibly entitled, not to mention it draws attention away from people of all religious affiliations who have are actually putting their lives, health, economic, emotional, or social status in danger to acknowledge their holidays. Instead, do some good. Every time you hear a holiday greeting that offends you, donate your time or money to a religious organization of your choice that uses its resources to help the victims of actual religious persecution. You’ll make the world a better place, and if that’s not in keeping with the holiday spirit, whatever holiday you celebrate, I don’t know what is.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Instead of doing For Real Friday this week, I’m doing Thankful Thursday because…Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for my family, my friends, great books, and for being fortunate enough to live in the moment.

Living in the moment is hard when you’re stressed or broke or busy. But I’ve been making a conscious effort. And I recognize my privilege here. My husband and I are mostly in a place where life is pretty stable. I’m able to stay home with my daughter and write, but we’re not comfortable enough for that to be a long term plan, so I’ve been finishing up my EDs in school library media this semester. After a semester of interning five days a week, balancing school work, editing Venus and Adonis/Aphrodite, studying for the GACE, attending conferences, and just being overall very busy, something really nice happened last Friday.

I had a minute to breathe. I’d taken and passed the GACE the day before. I’d finished up all the intern hours I had to do and was just going back in for a few hours to wrap up some loose ends, I’d finished another pass on Aphrodite, and Bella was about to be off for an entire week (I’m really involved at her school). So I woke up, got everything ready, and then went to wake up Bella.

She didn’t want to get out of bed. It’d been a hard week for her, we’d just been so busy! And for this one day, I wasn’t in a rush. So instead of dragging her out of bed and stressing us both out as I rushed her along her morning routine, I returned to the kitchen, put our breakfast on trays, and snuggle beside her for a breakfast in bed.

“It’s just hard to get out of bed sometimes,” Bella lamented.

“I know,” I sympathized. Sometimes, it really is. So we snuggled, and ate, and she told me all about her dreams, and I told her all about our plans for Thanksgiving break (a lot of staying home and doing nothing, but also maybe the zoo) and we just had this perfect moment of relaxing and not being stressed and just enjoying each other. Then breakfast was over, she got ready for school, and somehow we weren’t even late. It’s like time froze for that one magical moment and I could just feel her tiny little body tucked against mine as she stared into my eyes and told me absolutely everything that came to mind. She’s going to outgrow moments like that. She mostly already had. Most mornings she’d be pushing me away from her and grumbling that she has to brush her teeth RIGHT NOW so she doesn’t miss playground time.  So I’m thankful, SO thankful, that I was in a position to take advantage of that one precious moment before it was gone. And I hope I’m lucky enough to catch the next one.

Honoring the Fallen

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In honor of Memorial Day, I’m not posting my usual Mythology Monday until tomorrow. Today is a day to reflect on the lives lost in service of the military. As a child of Veterans, a grandchild of Veterans, a niece of Veterans and a friend of both Vets and Active duty service members, and someone who grew up right outside of Fort Benning, I have nothing but the highest respect for those in the military and nothing but the deepest sympathy for the families and loved ones who have lost a service member in combat. Take time this weekend and think of them. Whatever your opinions on the military or their missions, I think we can all respect the gravity of someone dying for their country.
That being said, this trend of shaming people for using this holiday weekend to have fun needs to stop. I’m sure you’ve seen the memes showing women or children sobbing over their lost loved ones and so helpfully pointing out that today isn’t about a party it’s about honoring fallen soldiers. I’m not going to post the pictures of the sobbing wives and children here because I like to consider myself a somewhat decent person. And while I’m sure the people who created the memes had their heart in the right place, can we stop for a second and remember the people in these pictures are actual people? As in they may also see these memes, pictures of them in the throws of grief most of us are lucky enough to only have to imagine being used to incite a national guilt trip. I mean really, let’s think about this. In an effort to honor these particular fallen soldiers, someone snapped a photo of their grieving loved ones and used it to shame people for…what? eating Barbecue? The point of Memorial Day isn’t now and has never been to sit around wailing and making someone else tragedy all about us. Ostensibly, the idea behind the cook outs and beach trips and the general celebratory feel of the three day weekend is to take a moment from our busy lives to appreciate everything we have and to recognize that our freedom and our lifestyle came with a price. One that was willingly paid so we could continue to be happy and safe.

So yes, take a moment and remember the troops but don’t feel guilty or shame others for enjoying the moment, because moments like that are what they fought for. And for the love of god, leave the people who need to take the day to grieve on a deeper more personal level because for them it’s not just about the abstract notion of honoring fallen soldiers but that one soldier who meant the world to them, alone. Don’t use them to prove your point. It’s disrespectful and its the worst kind of slactivism. If you truly feel that spending the weekend partying is disrespectful, do something else. Send care packets to the active troops, write your local politician about the shameful care of Veterans and ask them what they plan to do about it, those widows and children in those pictures, they may need a helping hand. Take the money you’re saving by not going to a barbecue and donate it to the children of fallen soldiers relief fund. Share your contribution on Facebook! That’s a lot more useful than sharing that meme. By the way, a lot of the organized Memorial Day parties put all or most of the sales of barbecue and what not toward that. If the city sponsored one in your area isn’t, ask why. Chances are, if you ask publicly enough, that will change very quickly.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a great day planned with my family. In memory, of course.