DesignStory ︎︎ 19 Dec 2016        

The Holiday Card I Really Want To Send

Every year since I graduated college, I’ve sent out self-designed holiday cards. They were never typical as “Happy Holidays!” never seemed to accurately express what I wanted to say or be enough. But this year, with the state this world is in, it definitely didn’t seem to be enough. So I sat down & wrote The Holiday Card I Really Want To Send.

 

My real wish for you this holiday is to Be Well.
Not to be confused with the sentiment of the infamous email sign off,
“I hope you’re well!”
Which is a way of saying “Well,
I’m assuming you’re fine,
so no need for me to put down social media
for an extra five to see if you are,
because what if you’re not,
and you need me,
and I don’t know what to do?”

My wish for you this holiday is to Get Well.
Similar to when you broke your leg and everyone drew on you with pink Sharpie, but not quite.
Because this wound can’t be healed with paper mache and a cute nurse.
Because most won’t even allow you to be diagnosed,
Because the bloodiest cut in this case is one where
most would bandage it with shame.

But that’s not a bandage, that’s bondage.

And we all know I could talk about sexual fantasies for ages
but that’s for another day
and restraints have no place in my mouth right now.

I wish for you to Get Well.
Because in this political climate,
And in this moment of America,
And in this dark spot of confusion and transition and strong words and feelings, no one is there yet.

And I’d much rather tell you that I’m not great either, but that’s okay.
And that I’m not made uncomfortable by your discomfort,
Or by your imperfect thoughts and your damaged words,
Or by your knee jerk reactions and the many, many times you will fuck it up.
But to fuck it up is to try,
and trying is bold and courageous
and all we can do right now.

I’d much rather jump in the pool of the trying together with you
Rather than stay in the house with the adults and the teenagers acting like adults and the cheese platters being polite.

I’d rather have handstand contests underwater with you,
start a splash war,
The kind of fight where the water got up my nose and I’m mad but you stopped when you saw I couldn’t breathe and hugged me.

I’d rather see how long we can hold our breath
and try to open our eyes to the chlorine even though it hurts and sucks,
but I see you in front of me.

I’d rather pick up the neon weights from the bottom of the deep end together,
But it doesn’t matter who got the most, or the highest numbers
Because I’d rather just be there with you,
Damp and trying,
Instead of inside, cooing and humming, in ironed outfits saying nothing for hours, because everyone has just washed their hair so they don’t want to get it wet.

They’d rather drink and chase pussy rather than let each other know that
In their softness, their wetness,
Their dirty hair and stretch marks,
Their running makeup and calloused feet,
Lies the blinding light of the gods
that could crack the skies open and move mountains,
or government buildings,
or communities in struggle,
if they let it.

If they knew that, they’d cannonball into the deep end off the diving board
And backstroke in the catastrophe of their uncertainty
Because they’d know that once they get to the other side,
they could tag us in.

Well I’m in.
And I’m in here with you.

And this holiday, I hope you can remember
How much love is left that is worth trying for.
And that YOU ARE ENOUGH.
And that I’m not scared for you to screw it up as many times as it takes for you to Get Well.

To be well,
eventually,
but not today.

This holiday, I wish for you to feel tethered and powerful and worthy,
To do handstands and splash around and throw side-eyes at all of the adults aiming to remain polished and dry and full of shit,

To play and to try and to be together is all I wish for you this year.

Because then maybe one day,
maybe not too far from now,
I’ll email you with the infamous sign off, “I hope you’re well.”

And you’ll be able to laugh and say, “Bitch,
that is a shitty email signature, but guess what,
I am.”
︎︎

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©2017 Jillian Adel