On Saturday some of my customers said "Happy Easter" to me -- most of them in a tone of voice that indicated they were offended that I hadn't said it to them first. (Ignorant bastards.) (Just kidding!) (Not really.)
I just sort of smiled grimly and nodded, because it would be decidedly unprofessional to say, "Fuck you, self-righteous customer with something to celebrate!"
I'm sorry, I'm just not feeling it this year.
Sunday started off all right. A bit of morning banter with my great aunt and her cranky Italian husband, who I love. A little pre-brunch prep. Inspecting the beautiful cherry pies that I had spent four hours making the night before. Hiding some eggs, to be hunted later on.
I had a cheese danish and a coffee (both forbidden luxuries) and some cantelope... and then went back to bed. That part was lovely. I was drowsy from the sugar-crash and had plenty of time before I needed to do anything else. It felt like a holiday. Peaceful. Relaxed. Later, as the house filled with people, my anxiety began to rise; but I was pretty much holding my own. And then.
And then my cousin's idiot boyfriend made a joke about dead babies.
I spent the next 30 minutes bawling my eyes out in my bedroom, getting makeup all over my freshly laundered pillowcases. The worst part about it was knowing that no one was going to come down the hall and sit beside me while I cried. And I couldn't go back out until I was calm again, because I barely knew the 20-some people who were in the house, and I wasn't about to try to explain to them why I was upset. The minutes ticked by, and I felt terrible for isolating, but I didn't know what else to do. Anyone I could talk to about it was busy with family events of their own.
Eventually I had my breathing under control, and could go out and get some food and make small talk as was expected of me, puffy eyed but attempting to smile.
I didn't say "Happy Easter" even once this year. I didn't go to church. I didn't ask anyone if they were doing something special for Sunday. I just plain didn't care.
And I've realized that it bothers me, that I don't care. I've always cared before. But I can't seem to muster a shred of reverence right now, no matter how abstract. I feel so jaded. So angry. So alone.
Supposedly that's who Jesus came for in the first place, though, right? People like me.
I wonder about our traditions sometimes. All the happy-clappy-sunshine, nothing-is-wrong-because-Jesus-is-risen-he-is-risen-indeed. Is that really the only way to remember? It's what I grew up with. Every church service I've been to on Easter Sunday is full of what feels to me like forced optimism. The underlying message being: Somebody died because of you, you horrible person. But it's okay now, because they're alive again. Lucky! That means you're off the hook -- so be happy, damn it!
I don't know, maybe that was just me?
I guess I feel betrayed. I feel like it was all such a sham. Those days when everyone got all excited; sang joyful songs and threw flowers in the air, hugged one another. It was over so quickly. Everything back again to the way it was before. Scary. Unpredictable. Painful.
So Jesus was here, great. But then he left. And now there's just this invisible force wandering around checking up on us, cause Jesus has other things to do.
Yeah; turns out, this is the bulk of the message that I gathered. Awesome. In reading all this over, I think I understand though. I liked Easter before because I felt like some kind of horrible yucky person who deserved bad things to happen to them, and here was this story my church gave me about how it's okay that I'm a bad person because Jesus will help me, thank goodness.
But guess what? I don't think I'm a horrible person anymore. I don't think bad things should happen to me anymore. And I don't think anyone is coming to save me.
Maybe someday I'll believe again that there's a God who cares for me the way a parent should. I want so badly to be somebody's child, deeply loved.