Hey. My username is Sweatpants Princess, and I'd like to talk to you about Christmas.
I'm an aetheist with a Jewish family and history, so I feel a lot of pain and alienation around this time of year. It's very grating, easily crosses the border to offensive, is disgustingly overbearing, and all of that stacked on top of the normal pain of being an outsider can really hurt. It adds up, and sometimes is very triggering. Personally, "deck the halls" makes me actively nauseous from all of the crappy memories I get.
Crappy memories because I live in a very christian culture that calls itself secular, and actively insults me for being upset that everything I see represents people who have abused me, ignored me, refused me, laughed at me, and threatened me. Not to mention the rest of my family and household.
Every time there is a christmas special on tv for a kid's show, there is a kid who goes to bed crying because nobody on the tv is like him. Santa doesn't care about her family and neither do her classmates. Every time someone pressures christmas in a non-religious environment, it makes us remember every other time we have felt frustrated and alone and lost because it seems like the entire rest of the world is speaking a different language. And when we ask for recognition, clarification, understanding? We receive mocks, taunts, threats, and dismissal.
As I said somewhere in the GCD, I tolerate the site-wide Xmas events because they are done as worldbuilding, done to promote unique mythologies, and done in a truly nonreligious spirit. They're fun. They're looking to be fun and innovative and creative, not to push any culture but to create their own.
And, with the entire site forced to celebrate a not-so-expy of christmas, why are the christians not happy? Why is it not enough? Why do they always want more items and attention for their celebration when they already own the moon and stars? Why isn't it enough?
I have to be content with absolutely no items. Someday, there might be a Hannukkah shops update where I will finally have a menorah and dreidel, and I will have to be content with that handful of bones thrown to me, because I know from experience that everyone will say "here's some representation! biggrin " and I will not receive anything more. Because we are expected to be happy with small amounts of pity for representation; it is our lot, our punishment for thinking that gentiles can act like sensitive human beings.
When I go to the MP to look for presents or candle items, everything is labelled 'christmas'. It makes me take a second thought- after all, I don't celebrate christmas. Am I still allowed to use it? Is it not for me? These are instinctive thoughts that I try to squash because I know the MP mods didn't mean it like that. (It's especially egregious with the candles, because those aren't in any way related to Christmas. Not only are they secular, they're actually more Jewish, because the entire holiday of Hannukah revolves around lighting candles, hance the name "Festival of Light". Seriously.)
As it is, I have nothing at best and animosity from other users for my concerns at worst, because they don't know how to quit.
It's like racism. It's like arguments about ingrained white privilege. As soon as I remind them that not everybody is the same and we should maybe acknowledge that fact, they start getting incredibly defensive and pulling pseudoscience and passive-aggressive language out of their asses. They refuse to analyse their confusion and hurt and seek why it injures them, and they refuse to take perspective on why it injures others.
Right. That won't make me feel alienated.
For bleep's sakes, I have Aspberger's! I KNOW FIRSTHAND ABOUT DIFFICULTY IN PERSPECTIVE-TAKING! And let me just say, if I can handle this better than people who are assumed to be normal, there's something fishy going on here.
I'd just like to thank the Gaia mods and admins I see for not participating in any of these behaviours themselves, and for trying to make the events about the ENTIRE community instead of just the majority of it. And for remaining accessible to users who feel as if we have no voice.
-GCD Chanukah Fairy
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