Quick Thoughts: A Beyonce Christmas (ish)

About a month ago, I got an email from my brother’s girlfriend D that was simply titled “Beyonce Birthday Celebration.” Now, if there are any perfect words when put together in the English language (besides “free wine”), it’s those particular ones. The email was an invitation to her pre-birthday celebration, a private class for 15 of us at a Chelsea studio that promised us drinks and dancing to celebrate her big day. D’s actual birthday is on Christmas day, and my family has been lucky enough to have her with us for the past few holidays, so I knew I’d get to celebrate her birthday regardless, but her including me in the pre-birthday celebration was a surprise, and a very welcome one. The party last night was amazing: champagne breaks every 30 minutes or so, toasts to the birthday girl each time, and a kick-ass workout with some amazingly hilarious people, complete with dance moves that I will for SURE be using the next time I’m out. After all, what’s the point of practicing body rolls for 20 minutes if you can’t show it off?

Since D’s come into our lives, she’s integrated seamlessly into my family. This Thanksgiving was the first time in four years she hasn’t been with us, and we felt her absence, her bubbly smile and perpetual cheer. My family is incredibly close, quick to trust and love, but we can be a lot to handle, so I always think how fortunate we are that it’s expanded with people that can handle our crazy, between D and my Twinster’s fiance. Last year around the holidays, I was newly single and very confused, trying to reconcile that instead of it being the first Christmas we spent together, it was the first of an unknown amount of Christmases I would be spending alone. For a long time, I thought this season would be even harder to handle, still single, the only one left. And yet, despite all the insanity of the past year, despite the ups and downs, the highs and lowest of lows, I’m going into this holiday season so much happier than I ever thought I’d be. I’ve moved away from thinking of myself as “The Lone Remaining Single Sibling,” and instead started appreciating that I get to spend holidays with two brothers and two sisters now, knowing there will be a day that I’ll have someone there with me too.

I don’t really know how well our pop ‘n lock skills will translate from “Lose My Breath” to “Jingle Bells” next week, but I have a feeling D and I will be putting on a show this holiday. Maybe in our matching Christmas pajamas, maybe just in sweatpants. And I’m sure at some point we’ll be teaching T the sweet moves, sipping on the ever-present Christmas cocktails, while my brother and brother-in-law-almost will most certainly be laughing and egging us along. Maybe it’s the confidence Queen Bey preaches in everything that’s somehow infiltrated my being, but last night felt like a perfect kick-off to Christmas week and for D’s birthday week, where I don’t feel like I’m alone, or that I’m the lone single girl. Instead, I’m a girl with an amazing extended family and some sweet-ass dance moves, someone with something worth sharing should the right person ever come along.

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Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.

I believe in a lot of stupid things. I like reading my horoscope in the morning, wishing on eyelashes and at 11:11 (or pretty much any time with the same number). I’ve absolutely been on both sides of the karmic spectrum and I’ve mentioned my feelings about my lucky jewelry here in previous posts. I know most of it is bullshit, perpetuated by people desperately grasping for control and meaning in situations they can’t predict, but I can’t help feeling some small comfort in the bullshit phenoms when things get confusing or weird.

Aside from the fact that I’ll never be Beyonce, the hardest truth I face on a daily basis is that sometimes things happen and that’s just the way it is; things make sense until they don’t. I can control things like what I have for lunch, how far I’ll run after a late night at the office, what time I leave the bar so I’m not exhausted for work the next day, how much Netflix I watch at a time wait nope not that one, but the point is I can control the little things. But I can’t control my schedule if a boss is sending “URGENT” last-minute meeting requests every day, I can’t control the fickle subway schedule that has been ruining my morning commute all week and I can’t control my weekend plans when I’m waiting for someone else to confirm yes I want to see you, or no, this is over. Clinging to an idea that you have some power in life is like holding a ticking time bomb, trying to stave off the mess that can explode when the tiny corner of this world you can control bleeds into everything else you can’t.

People love to tell you when you’re feeling sad that everything happens for a reason. Some attribute it to destiny and fate, some mumble on about God’s Great Plan for us, and others subscribe to the fact that hindsight is 20/20, since it’s much easier to see the light at the end of a tunnel once you’re bathed in the sunshine, looking back at the black hole as though it was easy to walk through. I’ll say that to myself at times because it means I might have my hand on the right part of the bomb, red wire, blue wire, to stop the chain reaction and hand me the reigns to my small bit of this world I understand. But sometimes things just happen. They happen and you can’t explain why, and you can’t explain how, and you can’t explain anything because something happened that you can’t understand, hovering the knife over the wrong wire, daring you to explain why something that doesn’t make sense becomes reality. Maybe the point isn’t to see the light at the end of the tunnel but to sit in the tunnel and enjoy the dark, holding onto the bomb and finding peace as the clock ticks down, down, down, understanding there will be a light eventually but running for it won’t make the bomb stop.

It’s not always easy, sitting in the tunnel and waiting for the sun. Even in the past few weeks, where I’m debating setting up a bed in the empty cube next to mine at the office, where I can’t rationalize what changed in a few short hours that have turned into two very long weeks, I started fumbling for wires to make sense of the mess around me, trying to find my bearings to force the light around me so things feel right and feel okay. Last night I sat at home with little miss on the couch at 10 p.m., barely home 30 minutes and already getting ready for bed, and I let out a huge sigh, exhausted by my own thoughts and tired of holding a bomb with both hands. I don’t think it will ever be my favorite thing, the fact that not only will I never be Beyonce but I can’t make sense of anything almost all the time, but I may learn to love the bomb that I can’t diffuse and I can’t let go. I’ll still wish on an occasional eyelash if it falls into my hand, still smile when I see the clock at 1:11, 2:22 and so on, but one of these days maybe I’ll tell myself everything happens because it happens, and smile with the knowledge that that’s okay.