by Martha Maggio aka Crafty B/poopiemcgoo 🙂
I really hate holidays.
As a recovering food addict and post-surgery weight loss patient, I really deep-down hate holidays. Food-centric, contortions of celebration. Self-righteous self-indulgence. Every shred of meaning gets licked off the dish of holiness. Holidays hold no restraint or significance; they’re orgies, not feasts.
Birthdays, Valentine’s, Independence Day, Memorial & Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and mother-father Easter. Obvs, these are not all Christian holidays, but American Christ-lovers really go for these with more passion than Jesus on Good Friday.
Any excuse to shove more feast into festival. I really hate this.
My first memory of Easter was not the story of Palm Sunday, Good Friday and the sacrifice of Jesus. It was a shiny, cellophane-wrapped basket on the kitchen floor. Full of eggs, treats and unnatural grass–thin fringes of plasticky, toxic, bright-green vapors of fun. Diving face first into a fistful of fake grass is pretty heavenly for a toddler (melted plastic!! mmmm), but somehow fake and fun fall short in the true tale of ultimate Love.
I was raised in a culture of extravagance. Excess. Overabundance. Our cups runneth over. And over. America, IMO, over the last 50 years, has become Rome at its height. We don’t have vomitoriums, but we have bulimia. We have clinically-diagnosed eating disorders and rampant obesity. The top killer in the US is heart disease. I almost died of heart failure. I’ve been obese since the age of 5. I know, from a personal standpoint, we have a problem.
Man does not live by bread alone. In the Midwest, he lives by meat, potatoes, gravy, dessert and snacks. We are like Hobbits. Second breakfast, Elevenses and Tea/Dinner/Supper. I’m sick just thinking about it. And holidays are even heftier.
I can’t eat any more. Every time I eat, I get queasy, full very fast, and an immediate need for a bathroom break. It’s exhausting to eat these days. It’s so strange and sad and stressful. But. I’m adjusting. I’m learning to live without food. On a normal day. Then–enter the holidays. Every time you turn around. And I don’t know where to find my excitement as everyone else is looking forward to eating.
“Thanksgiving’s coming up! So excited for dinner!”
And I don’t know what to say any more, except “Yay!” and mirror that excitement. Because what I really feel is nervousness. Anxiety about knowing where the nearest bathroom is and having anti-naus meds on hand. Or finding a bed to lie down in after the meal(s). And not really enjoying all the amazing food as much as I possibly can, not like I used to, because I can only have a taste. Or risk darkening the door to the vomitorium.
I have much anger, hostility, resentment, angst regarding Christmas, too. It might be because my dad died around Christmas 25 years ago. Very sad year. But those feelings are starting to spill over into other big days like Memorial Day, Labor Day, any special occasion. Candy-coated holidays are the worst. Halloween, V-Day and Easter.
When my daughter was small, I was very upset about Halloween. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want my daughter to have candy. It was rather about fast and feast. Getting dressed up for food. I didn’t get it. I let my daughter have a piece of candy whenever she wanted. Any day. One piece. Not a whole bag on one day of the year. Moderation. That’s what I wanted her to learn, not gluttony. I learned gluttony.
My daughter has learned to moderate. Thankfully. She still, right at this very moment, has Halloween candy in her candy bag. (This last Halloween was one of her biggest hauls, too. A friend wanted to go door-to-door for the first time and I couldn’t say no. This was probably the last year for it, as she is 14 next year. Bye-bye, Baby.) I would’ve eaten all my candy Halloween night and went home with a tummy-ache.
My daughter is beautiful, smart, awesome-shaped and normal-sized. She has a great start on life. She doesn’t have to worry about the way she looks. She can focus on more important things. And she does. Like: changing the world, how to treat others, doing homework. She doesn’t have to worry about whether her pants fit. And she doesn’t.
I worried about whether my jeans fit, what meal was next, how to hide my sin and fill the holes in my heart with food. But this year, this is my Easter. This is my resurrection. I went through hell to get healthy and I’m finally here. I’ve emerged from that rotting tomb of disease. You won’t find me there this morning. I am out among the living today. Rejoicing in my physical, mental, spiritual salvation.
Jesus came to Jerusalem during Passover. That’s important. Passover is a festival to celebrate God protecting the firstborn from the plagues on Egypt. And Jesus came to sacrifice himself at this important Jewish holiday? Holy locusts. That blows my historical mind.
Jews smeared the blood of the lamb on the doorway to protect their children. Jesus (firstborn son of God and Joseph) shed his blood on the entrance to Heaven for the children of God. Same holiday. Same sacrifice. Except this time, Jesus paid the debt for all time for everyone. Jesus is the lamb. We are the children protected from death. That’s
Easter the Resurrection.
From death to life. From fast to feast. But this day, I will feast on feelings, rather than food. And get drunk on the risen Christ. I understand my cynicism and hatred are no better indulgences on this holy day either. I can fast from them today. No ham. No eggs. No candy-coated chocolate bunnies for me. No hatred, resentment or disdain for this day of God as well.
I mean, enjoy your treats, if you can. Don’t let me ruin it for you. But for me–just one slice of Heaven please. A Martha-sized portion of Christ, thank you.