Christmas Commercialism

It’s that time of year again! Christmas music is all over the radio, retail stores are putting up their Christmas decorations, and everyone is building out their wish lists and shopping lists. Christmas is upon us.

It is also that time of year where everyone forgets the meaning of Christmas (which is shifty in itself, but that is for another blog post) and loses their souls to commercialism. Retailers bank hard this time of year because customers are stupid. We drive ourselves crazy and broke trying to buy people amazing gifts and hoping for a good return on our investment.

Why? Why does Christmas have to be about that? Why can’t we just celebrate good will toward our fellow man and peace on earth?

I think that there should be some gift giving. To the kids. Kids deserve to feel that excitement of Christmas morning. We as adults don’t need to break our bank buying each other gifts. That excitement is gone for us. We are aware of the money we spent and what the gift giver spent on us. So why even go through that? Let the kids enjoy Christmas. It’s really for them anyway.

I actually have a proposition or a wish for Christmas. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, we should fight back against retailers and not buy gifts! Rather, we can use some of that money to go to people who really need it. Families that are homeless or children that are cold and hungry because they are poor. Doing that would really capture the true meaning of Christmas. As for the religious aspect of Christmas, the ones who believe that Jesus was born that day, could really do as they believe Jesus wanted and show love to those who need it.

Either way, this might also help restore our humanity.

Facebook status: Did some profound thinking today. Despite how Christmas was started, the spirit of Christmas is about good will toward man and peace on Earth. We have certainly strayed from that. I think we have become commercial monsters who believe the spirit of Christmas is gift giving. I propose that we start a revolution. We don’t need to go on a gift buying frenzy to show we care about someone. I do believe that children deserve to enjoy the magic of Christmas though. They should receive gifts. But as adults, let’s cut the bullshit out. It will make a lot more room for love and real good will. For those who believe in Jesus, was that not what he was about? If you really want to buy gifts, you should, for families who need it. A warm coat to a poor child means a lot more than a PS4 would to a privileged kid. So whether you believe in a secular or religious Christmas, the message is always the same. Love. Let’s get back to that. -Valdet Selimaj

Mommy Dearest

One of the most important people in my life is my mother. I love her to no end and think the world of her. I think she is a strong woman who did a lot for us kids when our father passed away. She was a single mother of 4 teenagers. We were not an easy group of teens, but she survived us and we her.

During those teenage years is when I came out (well, I was forced out) of the closet to my mother that I am gay. As a Catholic Albanian woman, that was not easy to hear for her. She was very angry with me, and that first year of being out she didn’t want me anywhere near her family. Although, my cousins already knew I was gay long before I came out. They didn’t really care since it wasn’t news to them. My mom’s brothers however, not as cool about it at first. To be totally honest though, they have never really mattered to me, so their opinions of me matter even less. They seem to be much cooler about it now. Either way, I couldn’t care less.

What I do care about is my mother and what she thinks. Regardless of how tough I am and don’t care what anyone thinks about me,  as a son I still seek the approval of my mother. On some level we are all guilty of that. It’s part of the parent/child relationship. I think that sometimes parents forget what it was like to be someone’s child and how deep a mother can cut you.

For a few years my relationship with mother was tumultuous to say the least. It wasn’t until I got older that we started to have a strong relationship. The only problem with that is I think it may have been established on a false foundation. We do not talk about me being gay. Occasionally she will say to me to marry a nice woman. But that’s really it. However, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t bring it up to my other siblings. She once told me sister that she didn’t know what she did in her life to have a gay son. That was such a heartbreaking thing to hear. I didn’t want to fight her so I just sucked it up and quietly forgave her for it. She was raised a certain way and is not one for change.

My mother was born in Kline, Kosovo and grew up in Belgrade, Serbia (former Yugoslavia). She comes from a Catholic background as well. Both do not agree with homosexuality at all. So that way of thinking is all she knew and it’s become her way of thinking.

My mother’s sister also has a gay son. She is much more accepting of homosexuality though. My aunt even attended my cousin’s wedding to his husband. My mother has openly voiced her disgust at my aunt’s support of my cousin being gay. She also told me to wait until she dies if I am going to marry a man. When my mother goes off about my cousin, I feel like she is really projecting her anger at me being gay to him since he is not her son.

When I hear her say the things that she does, it really upsets me. I try to not let it get to me because I know she is who she is. I will never be able to change her. I just have to accept her for who she is. I don’t like dancing around the issue with her, but it’s just not something we will ever be able to sit down and discuss.

I believe that years of just trying to disregard her beliefs has finally surfaced. I was at her house last week and she flipped out about my hair. It wasn’t that she just doesn’t like it, but she went on a tangent. I know that I am a reactive person too. I get it from her. But she went so over the top with it that I just grabbed my keys and left. I haven’t spoken to her since. At first, I was just upset because she had to be so judgmental over my hair. That anger opened up the can of worms to everything else that has upset me with her.

I think that I am a great kid for a parent to have. I am 30 years old. I live on my own, work two jobs, put myself through college, visit as often as I can, take my mom shopping or just hang out with her. I don’t do drugs, I rarely go out or drink. I also face the same life challenges as everyone else.  So I happen to be sexually attracted to men. Does that really negate everything else about me?

That doesn’t mean I view myself in a different way. I love the person that I am. I think I am kind, funny, a great friend, and a positive person. I am out and proud to be gay. I have become the person that I was meant to be.

I do not believe that my mother loves me any less. That is not even an issue. I know how much she loves me. I just wish that she could accept me for the person I was born to be. In a world where I don’t care about anyone else’s opinion, my mom is still my mommy and her opinion does count.

It is an aspect of my life that I unfortunately will have to deal with. Maybe one day she will change her mind.

What is your story? Anything you want to share? Any advice?