Opinion | Christmas out of picture. By Rosana Corral-Marquez

December finally cools off, making winter feel like winter for once and not like a twilight of Florida retirees, a stone in the shoe, a petroglyph, anything far from the Christmas season. I return with Noa from the river and I am happy to have watched the panel of dark clouds, to have made little bubbles with my soles in the bed of leaves, to have scolded the dog for drinking from the puddles. When I get home I already know I don’t want changes in my life, I just cross my fingers that things look like the things I’ve always had around, I sign out of a bout of boredom and repetition, I’m more zen as the future fades presents mutant and surly. Soon it will be Christmas and I feel more prepared to resist it because it will finally look like generic Christmas, with its queues, its loudspeakers and its laborious digestions, with ritual obedience to the mandate to be good and be happy.

For many people, however, the fact that Christmas resembles Christmas is precisely what splits them in two until January 7th. How many times have I heard in consultation that “hopefully the earth swallows me until the Kings pass by”. They are often women who grieve for those who are no longer there or revolt when they receive someone they do not want at their table. Women who will also draw a smile on their faces and receive their troops drying their hands on a kitchen towel, decked out or still wrapped in the aroma they bring from the kitchen. They will pose among metallic glitters, they will studiously incline their faces next to theirs, they will give harmony. annie ernauxwho gives voice to the delicious documentary The Super 8 Years (assembled by her son from family films), talks about the halo of frustration and violence behind the happy encounters recorded by her husband, who needed to tell himself that everything was in its place, even the furniture. On the tape, domestic scenes interchangeable with ours parade, the same 70s outfit and the same grimaces in front of the lens. The film shows the children of the Nobel Prize winner playing under the calm tutelage of adults, they are silent images but her voice reveals the deep story, the one that does not shine, the one that only becomes transparent in the memory of those who have lived it but not in the photo album.

The pharmaceutical industry knows it well: this is the month that makes money with anxiolytics and antidepressants. The suicide count, which does not translate into euros but into misfortune, points to December with a finger because deaths by suicide in men (who are the ones who kill themselves, in a 3:1 ratio with respect to women) agglutinate. The latest statistic Suicide Observatory in Spain He speaks of a new historical figure in 2021, with 11 suicides a day. The curve has not stopped rising since the beginning of the century (18% increase) and it has escalated especially since 2012 and with the pandemic. The dramatic part of the curve is the one that involves young people, recently incorporated into the count (those under 15 had never exceeded 14 deaths and last year there were 22). In the last stage of life it is more difficult to make sense, to imagine the future, in the first one too?

I hear kids complain about how much the mandate to be happy “now that you can” breaks them. That does not sneak into any advertisement or on the networks, it is the veiled reality of being under thirty. I listen to him helplessly because the idolatry of youth has become canonical and neglects what it means to not have learned to calm down yet, to connect with who one is, to accept one’s own limits. They must win tournaments of happiness, power and adventure without having taken a course. Intensity is promoted without prospectus or warnings (“Intense emotions pose a risk to your health”, I should say, as in cigarette packs). It is ugly to talk about the unhappiness that comes with being a person under construction and pulled by the needs of others, improper desires, various impostures. It is ugly to make immaturity ugly but the supreme enjoyment is required of it. A legion of adolescents today only see before them an anemic sum of super-demanding school days and exams, fleeting encounters with their peers in which fear and complexes subdue them, they don’t even know how to name what happens to them when it happens to them and the emptiness is what remains in your emotional treadmill the most. Tom Hanksin a recent interview, gave a headline: 60 is the new 35, there are many of us who think so. I understand what you are talking about, I would love to be close to her moment. I aspire that one day the expectations of others will not touch me but I must grow older to do so, pursue only the things that really move me, appreciate the real colors of life because I no longer have so much time to do it. That is unaffordable for a boy or girl who smiles at the camera in their selfies christmas

I remove the mud from her paws and feed the dog. Beautiful insignificance. Albert takes Monday with a bang and waits for me sunk on the sofa, he is soon caught between Noa and the goo that goes up and down and doesn’t quite get free. Yesterday he took her out to the park and they found a little pink ball. When she says it, I am happy. A pink ball Life is reduced to those knots, I tell myself, those moments of equation solved without much detour. I like that I caress his back and that I don’t know if her interest in him is really affection or longing for him to let her mop up the yogurt. He wants me not to go, to leave my blog for another time. In the moments that nobody looks is where transcendence sneaks in, I warn. I renew the dog’s drinker and I propose to harpoon what I have felt, the echo of the simple, you have lowered the dog, yes, no, look if she has water in her bowl, a little pink ball. What’s behind the mask game. Stay with me. There’s no more Bisolgrip left, would you go down to the pharmacy? Suddenly I know that the most epic of the day, the great battle, contains a simple command and a resignation that hurts little. Take care of the man who loves me. Caring and loving, being a bit of a nurse, a bit of a mother, a bit of a lover. Blow him a kiss from the door frame because I’m going for an antigen test and I don’t dare to get close. Leave all this written down, if anything, but never in an album or in a family video around the tree. Here’s to those unseen moments.

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Opinion | Christmas out of picture. By Rosana Corral-Marquez