I learned sometime later that the post had been printed for distribution by a poverty group in Alberta and by an organization in Australia which serves aborigines.
I hate the holidays. So does anyone I know who lives in poverty, including the children, who are torn by the tension produced from the excitement of their peers, advertisers' unrelenting hype, and trying to accept their circumstances and be supportive family members.
As a single woman living in poverty in a rural community, what I dislike the most are the assumptions:
- that everyone celebrates something at this time of year,
- that everyone wants to receive gifts, regardless of whether they celebrate something at this time of year,
- that everyone should give gifts, regardless of whether they celebrate something at this time of year,
- that everyone should do something to celebrate, regardless of whether they celebrate something at this time of year,
- that everyone can get around regardless of the transit system going on holiday at this time of year.
What makes it really hard is the deadening. It's as though small communities like mine, over the course of the holiday frenzy, have sucked themselves dry and stopped breathing. All stores and offices close for at least three days and some for two weeks, the sounds of human industry fall silent. It's like everyone, the community itself (including Internet communities), dies or goes away. And so those left behind, the ones who don't or can't play the holiday game, feel the stamp of 'outsider' that much more starkly.
There were both positive and negative responses to this and a subsequent post. The condescension and harshness of some of the negative posts (the majority) surprised me, especially given the nature of the listserv. But then, perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised at all.
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