holiday survival guide

Written by Haley Jakobson

1. you are not what you were
2. you are not what you were except for the pieces of scrap metal that built an iron throne for your heart to sit on
3. i don’t like pie but most people do so tell your mother to go fuck herself if she eyes you for that second slice
4. go for that fifteenth slice you miracle of breath and wonder
5. the pie isn’t what will kill you, it’s all the emotional disaster we’re force fed like that scene in Matilda
6. you can be sad on insert holiday here
7. you can ache for the person who made insert holiday here the most beautiful, with a bouche de noel and caviar and her laughter ringing like christmas bells, even though most of us were jewish
8. you can decide it’s not insert holiday here without her and still want to tie a bows around your dog’s collar
9. you don’t have to forget your entire adult self when you pass your high school, and when your father jokes if you’d like to visit you can hold your entire teenage heart break in an icy “no.”
10. mom, your christmas present is that i’m unblocking you on instagram, and no number 4 is not about you thank you for never treating my body like something you could shape and mold into your vision of perfection
11. for all the girls whose mothers dare to insult the unbelievable that is your flesh wrapped round your precious bones, remember that someone told her youth was something to chase and she thinks that your body is her marathon
12. you look fucking perfect i wish the audacity was torn from the dictionary i hope you’re still eating your pie
13. i miss my grandmother so much, i thought at sixteen i spent my loneliest new years eve on her couch, i was so foolish in thinking the mark of years passing should be at some stupid party with a four loko in hand instead of my head upon her shoulder
14. i hope your holiday booty call didn’t get married or vote for trump

15. if you are not home for the holidays remember that you’ve made a stunning house inside your rib cage, you built it with your hands, loneliness is just hope’s emo friend and she deserves the warm bed of your soul to sleep on
16. if you are home and hate your family remember that you’ve made a stunning house inside your ribcage, and you don’t have to open the door. 
17. i wish i’d learned to drive
18. mom, i don’t hate my family, i love you an exceptional amount and i’m glad you found the christmas ornaments.
19. but if you tell me to duck in front of the microwave one more time i’m going to put you inside
20. relax, i wouldn’t turn it on, my mother is very small, and i’m mostly kidding
21. i am a big fan of socks, but you might not be, but try and remember that someone cares for you enough to protect the things that keep you standing in a world sometimes so wretched it loves to bring us down
22. go ahead, have more pie!
23. when you look in your childhood mirror, it’s not meant to be a method of time travel to compare your stretch marks to a teenage smoothness
24. let them instead mark the stretch of time that lead you into womanhood, for the bounty that is your breathing body, the way love has spread you wider, the way you’ve cracked your heart open
25. or let them be proof you survived the treachery of teenage-hood, good god paint me with more battle scars i made that battlefield into my summer house
26. i’m sorry if your family doesn’t love who you love. i don’t know why we live except for hope and love and sometimes people are only half alive
27. if anyone nods politely at your art degree with pity in their eyes, they probably are bad at sex and you can pity them back
26. if you don’t celebrate any holiday at all, then celebrate yourself. you, human miracle, are a star on top of the goddamn tree of you. stand steady and tall, and remember that you make life easier for us to breathe, and what a gift that is.