December 24, 2012

Coming Out Grinch

Coming Out Grinch
I’m sorry, everyone. I’m just not a Christmas person. It’s not like I haven’t tried. From an early age I attempted to throw myself at Christmas like a human javelin. My zeal to fit in by loving this holiday was rejected again and again by my true nature, and possibly also the holiday itself. When I was seven, the entire trimmed Christmas tree fell on top of me while I was watching Saturday morning cartoons—I was stuck underneath for twenty minutes. I threw myself at Christmas and Christmas threw itself back at me.

Even as a kid, the build up made me uncomfortable because I knew I couldn’t connect with it. Other kids would get so excited. My parents did an amazing job making everything awesome, but something inside just didn’t feel authentic. I felt like an imposter donning my gay apparel, which, for a lesbian, is pretty unusual.

As I grew older there were other awkward Yuletide mishaps and even deeper shifts in beliefs and perspective that made it ever more difficult to fool myself into thinking I loved Christmas. Probably the exact moment of my realization came when I was sitting by myself, and a holiday-themed Gap commercial came on television. As I listened to the horrifying jingle I knew, “I’m supposed to like this, but I do not. Oh my God, I’m a Grinch.”

Like being gay, this was something I always knew about myself, but attempted to avoid acknowledging until I could fully deal with the ramifications. The same-sex loving version of this, being vastly easier to deal with, happened about six years earlier. (For the record: 7th grade English class. The exact transcript of my thoughts: “I guess she doesn’t feel weird having another girl brush her hair. Oh, I’m gay. Ugh, I’m not going to get to date anyone until college. I hope we don’t have homework.”) Acknowledging my grinch-ness made me sad to feel different from so many people, so for a while I kept it to myself.

The most difficult part about being a Grinch was the charade. Trying year after year to convince my loving friends and family that I enjoyed something I find, at best, nauseating. Then I started to talk to people about it. I found out that there are actually a lot more of us Grinches out there than I had assumed. I blame my public school health class, which said absolutely nothing about this topic. It felt good to talk to people who were Grinches like me, and a few others who at least had some Grinchy thoughts from time to time.

I sat my family down and I told them. They were supportive and slightly confused. Some of them wanted to know if it was something they did. No, I’m just not a Christmas person. A few of them wanted to know why I was making this announcement at Easter. Well, I sure as shit wasn’t going to risk letting it ruin Thanksgiving. Most of them just wanted to know where I hid the remainder of my Easter candy.

Now that they know I’m not a huge fan, all the pressure is off. I think the fact that I cannot identify a specific issue with the holiday is proof that I really was born this way. I didn’t choose to dislike Christmas anymore than I chose my eye color, or my hair color, or my unconditional love for Thanksgiving. Trust me, it would be easier if I could rock around the Christmas tree or my halls enjoyed a good decking. But I can’t and they don’t.

The thing is, I love hating Christmas. I enjoy it and look forward to it every year. Hating Christmas is my jam. I don’t do it in a way that brings down people who love it. I’m a Grinch, not a Scrooge. My family is super spirited and amazing. It’s great to spend time with them on Christmas just like it’s great to spend time with them any other day of the year. I just don’t sit that close to the Christmas tree anymore. TC Mark

Laura Jayne Martin

Laura Jayne Martin is a writer living in New York City. Her work has been featured in/on McSweeney’s Internet …