Tag Archives: holiday

The Christmas Card

Thank you to everyone who signed up for a 2015 Avitable Christmas card this past year. It has become my new tradition to send out a card with a handwritten message to every person who requests one, and it has become my goal to surpass each year’s numbers exponentially.

Last year, I sent out 420 cards to people throughout 11 different countries. This year, I almost doubled that number, sending out cards to 718 people in 15 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and of course, the United States, where residents in 44 states signed up for a card. Wow!

I haven’t really been celebrating the holidays, and now I realize that might be due partially to the fact that I spent three solid weeks writing messages on each card and stuffing and sealing envelopes. It was a project, but one that I absolutely love, and I hope to keep doing it every year, even if we break a thousand cards, which seems very possible. Next year’s goal will be 25 countries, and all 50 states!

What was the card I sent out? Well, it was a really simple concept I had – what if a couple took nice Christmas photos and ordered cards, and then broke up before Christmas? Would you still send them out, but just make some minor alterations? And this was the answer:

The final version of the 2015 Avitable Christmas card

The original text on the card said “Adam, Alex and Phoebe wish you best wishes for this wonderful holiday season. May you experience nothing but love, happiness, and joy for the future.”

The revised text said “Adam wishes you somebody who won’t break your heart for this awful and depressing holiday season. May you experience nothing but somebody who won’t crush you under her heel right before the holidays even though you said you’d change but she doesn’t think you can stop eating bacon for every meal.”

The photo was completely staged, and the “devil woman” and “stupid dog who broke my heart too” were just my roommate Alex and a fake dog from Google Images, respectively. Thank you to Alex for letting me use her as a prop, and I apologize to anyone who felt bad for me. For those of you who thought that maybe I was using an old picture of me and my ex-wife, or that this was real, I would never do that to a real person. It’s petty and awful, and I’m not that type of person. But now I know a lot more about your character, you evil, evil fucker.

Behind the scenes on the 2015 Avitable Christmas card
original photo

I wrote a variety of messages on the back of the cards, including asking my girlfriend to write whatever she wanted, and then I would apologize in the post-script after the signature as if she were my assistant. Here were the top three messages, though there were many different variations:

3. May your holidays be as awesome as you are, filled with love and happiness, and free from shitty relatives.

2. Have a happy holidays! You know, if you want. It’s up to you. I can’t control you. Whatever.

1. May this season’s blessings touch you with the power of a million uncles.

Thank you again to everyone who requested a card. Thank you even more to everyone who sent one back! And thank you in advance to everyone who has decided to get me a gift for my birthday on January 26th, in only 24 days!

This is a series which will be my attempt to write something every single day of 2016 here on Avitable.com. Will I be able to do it? You’ll only know if you subscribe using the form below!

Enter your email address:

The 2015 Avitable Christmas Card Exchange Extragavanza Holidaypalooza Event Thingy

Last year,  I sent out Christmas cards to 420 people in ten different countries and forty-one different states, all with hand-written messages of love and boners.

This year, let’s double that number! If you’ve never gotten a Christmas card from me, here are six of them sent over the last 11 years, getting increasingly more awesome the less married I was, obviously:

“But Avitable,” you ask as you stroke my beard, “will this card make my husband/wife/chid/grandmother/priest/schizophrenic aunt angry or offended?”

Nope! Just as in the past years, this year’s card will be family appropriate for all families!* All you have to do is fill out the form below and submit your name and address, and you’re done! 

“But Avitable,” you ask, still stroking my beard, “what do I do if I want to send you something amazing? Like a gift of bacon or chocolate or even a nice Christmas card?”

That’s easy! Here’s my address:

Adam Heath Avitable
Avitable Camp for Wayward Women
407 Silver Oak Lane
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Please to be filling out the form below. If for some reason, you can’t figure it out, you can click here.

And finally! Please share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and any other network – let’s make this into the biggest card exchange in Avitable history!

 

*Okay, probably 99.7% of families. 98% at the very least.

I would rather be Superman than Clark Kent

“You don’t seem like a real person.”

Sometimes truth is spouted by unlikely sources. In this case, the fountain of wisdom in question was a beautiful, moon-faced child of twenty, wearing little more than a garter belt and black lace thong, talking to me as I hoisted a drink to my fellow dregs of society patronizing the local lieu de perdition.

“I don’t think you’re real.”

The second time it happened, it came from a Boston comedian who had been crashing at my house for a week while he performed locally. Nothing extraordinary happened while he was here, yet my normal daily activitities merited this comment.

Am I real?

I know I’m an odd mixture of introvert and extravert. I revel in the happenings of the world, but only if I’m contributing to them or observing them. I have no interest in merely participating.

I don’t want to receive gifts. Let me, though, give gifts to you and leave before you open them.

I don’t want to make small talk. I just want to entertain you and exit on a finale.

I avoid traditions. They exist to comfort people who need them.

Why do I need to always do something unexpected? If you think I’ll be pleasant, I’ll be sarcastic. If you’re worried that I’ll be ribald, I’ll be chaste.

I don’t need you to solve my problems, but I’d love to be the one who can solve yours.

I relish the truth and the chance to be vulnerable, but don’t waste your sympathy or concern.

I’d rather be Superman than Clark Kent.

What does it mean to be real? I’m honest and open, often shamelessly so. I support and love those around me, even to an extent that might be harmful for me. I’m present in the lives of many. So why did their statements hit home so well?

I don’t put on a front or a facade, and I’m not insincere.

But it did resonate.

Maybe I try to be everywhere, so I’m never actually anywhere.

And during Christmas, more than any time of year, I feel this urge to disappear. Everyone already has warmth and hope and presents. Nobody needs me. Maybe they want me there, but they don’t need me. If I’m not needed – whether I’m someone who can listen, or support, or entertain, or do literally anything other than just exist, why should I be there?

Maybe this rang so true because unless I’m creating something that’s being mentioned or appreciated or shared or liked or enjoyed, I feel ephemeral. Those are the only times when I truly feel real, so it shouldn’t surprise me that I might not seem real to others.

What makes you feel real? 

Down The Gorilla Hole – Why Not Write Something Depressing on Christmas Eve?

I haven’t been able to write – to really, painfully, ripping off a scab write – in a while.

There’s plenty to say. I always have something to say. Getting it out in the way that I want has been the obstacle. How many ways can I talk about things being hard or difficult or frustrating before it becomes rote? And, compared to the rest of the world, do my problems measure up in any way? What is my hardship compared to what you or you or you are going through?

I’ll try, though.

Business has been slow. Like, agonizingly watching paint dry slow. Every order that comes in keeps the lights on, but nothing more. If I was working in an office, this might be bearable, but I’m going stir crazy at home. I work at home, stay at home to avoid going out and spending more money, sleep at home and it’s all home home home home home. There are moments when I want to burn this fucking house to the ground just so I don’t have to spend another second here.

Friends have disappointed me. There are people in my life who mean a lot to me, to whom I have given so much, emotionally and otherwise, and it’s a painful slap in the face discovering that it’s not reciprocal. I was even told that my friendship with one person couldn’t continue because of her newly embraced religious devotion. Sometimes people wonder why I rebel so much against blind ritual, tradition, and following the dogma of an organization that purports to be religious – maybe it’s because I get to be the guy that feels like shit because his friendship would be against the principles of a church. Not all friends have been disappointing – I don’t want it to sound like that – but it’s happened frequently enough that I’m disjointed and doubting myself.

The fact that we’re sinking neck-deep into the holiday season hasn’t helped, either. The holidays are a place for family and friends and tradition, and I actively avoid traditions, don’t always get along with much of my family, and can’t rely on some of my friends. After a two-hour appearance at a family party this evening, I’ll be skipping Christmas and just waiting on 2013 to hurry up and get here already.

Reflection

The biggest issue, though, and the reason that I’ve had so much difficulty writing, is the massive crippling disappointment I have in myself. In little over a month, I’ll be 36, and I’m not where I wanted to be by this age. I’ve started over. I’ve gone back to Go without collecting my $200.

I’ve plateaued on my weight loss for a while now. If I can dig down and find that motivation to exercise, I know that I will continue to lose weight, but right now, I’m not happy with how I look. It’s in my hands, but that doesn’t make it any less of a burden right now.

I’m single. I thought I’d be married and have kids. I didn’t realize that I’d fail at marriage, get divorced, and have to find someone new, who I could trust. I thought I found that person, but I was wrong. Her cruelty broke me and I started over yet again.

All of these goals I set for myself when I was younger have been for naught. Instead, I’m divorced, wading through the minefield that is dating, with no children and less security than I had at 30.

Where do I want to be? Who do I want to be? These are the questions that keep me from writing, because to examine them is to face the possibility that I can’t get there.

I know what I don’t want. I don’t want to have this financial albatross. I don’t want this large house filled with useless trinkets and gadgets. I don’t want to keep treading water. I don’t want to continue to wake up alone every morning.

I want to be back in Los Angeles.

I want to write professionally.

I want to have a family of my own.

And I’m terrified that I won’t get any of that.

Why I Didn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving This Year

I skipped Thanksgiving this year.

Sure, I gave thanks in my own way, but my Thursday was spent huddled on the couch, eating pizza and watching episodes of “The West Wing.”

Adam Avitable's Thanksgiving dinner

This hurt my mother’s feelings. I know this, and I deeply regret it, but I couldn’t do it. The idea of traveling even those forty-five miles to the family homestead to sit at a long table and eat turkey and mashed potatoes with the fifteen or so family members that would be present was a smothering one. A family of regular attendees to one of my comedy shows invited me to their home, but I couldn’t do it. My next-door neighbor welcomed me to his home to join his family for their feast, but even those twenty steps from my door to his was too much. I mumbled a thanks and told him I’d think about it, and I’m sure when the pizza guy showed up in my driveway, he knew my answer.

I don’t know how I’m going to make it to Christmas this year. It may be selfish to avoid family and friends and remain alone on the holidays, but when every fiber of my being is screaming and telling me to leave, to just fly somewhere for a few days, to escape and hide until the holidays are over, I have to listen. If it’s being selfish to make sure that my sanity and emotional security remain intact, so be it.

My problems with the holidays, along with organized religion and political dogma and people who say “well, you just should” and the reason I question everything boils down to a distrust of tradition. I don’t like rituals or things that just happen because that’s how they’ve always been done. Many people find comfort in the mindless ritualized nature of much of our society, but I don’t.

We had created our own traditions, ones that we were slowly building over the twelve years we were together. The ornament once a year, the presents getting opened a week early, the cookie baking – all traditions familiar to everyone, but they were done in our own way. And I murdered those traditions in one surprisingly quick and easy divorce.

What’s the point of building new traditions by myself? I won’t be single forever, and I derive absolutely zero pleasure from celebrating something alone. It’s not a matter of depression – I just don’t see the point in celebrating without someone around to celebrate with you.

Why participate in the old traditions? That’s not who I am anymore. I’ve been affected in several, measurable ways since I became single. I’m not the person that my family knows anymore. I don’t want to be that person, and I need to move on from it.

Maybe I’ll get there. This will only be my third Christmas and Thanksgiving since the end of the world, and with every holiday, I’ll figure out who I want to be on Christmas. Who I want to be with on Thanksgiving. And if it turns out to be “a guy sitting on a beach in Mexico by himself,” that’s a tradition I could probably get behind.