Santa's Neglected Elf

December 22, 2008

Dear Kirk,

My husband and I are getting ready for another Christmas. We’ve been together 5 years and we’ve never had a good Christmas. He always gets depressed during the holidays thinking about his first lover, who died  in 1987 when I was in middle school. I feel like he hasn’t let go of  him. I grew up in a house where Christmas was a happy time. I want my husband to wear a Santa suit and get into the spirit of it all.

Dear Santa's Neglected Elf:

I’m sure your hubby would look hot in that Santa suit, but Christmas is a complicated time of year. The sunlight has disappeared and people are chemically depressed. It’s a good time to take an amino acid supplement to help your brain. Drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day to balance out all the holiday sugar. An 85 year-old friend taught me about vinegar. It works.

You and I are part of a younger generation who barely missed the ravages of the AIDS epidemic. We’ll never know what it was like to have a mysterious plague come in and wipe out loved ones. It was a holocaust. There are times I get overwhelmed by my partner’s nostalgia and memories. But I’d much prefer that he keep these loved ones alive in his heart – he’s a deeper and kinder man because of the epidemic.

It actually makes sense to be reflective during the holidays. There’s a somber quality to most winter traditions, whether it’s the Christian story of a poor pregnant woman being turned away from inns or the Pagans yearning for the return of the sun. As much as you can, allow your husband this time to remember his partner and friends. Is there a way you could build that into some new traditions you make together?

In my household, the roles are reversed. I lost my father around this time of year when I was 18 years old and have some religious scars from growing up in Virginia. I’ve never been much for Christmas. All month, I walk around wanting to kill people with their Christmas sweaters and their office parties. My partner, who buried many friends, adores Christmas. After seven years with no holiday decorations, I suggested we get a tree. He was delighted. We decorated it with ornaments he’d saved over the years, many of which he inherited from dead friends. Then we went through our junk drawers and hung a lot of knick-knacks on the tree. I added some glittery balls from the drugstore that have no history whatsoever.

A yule tree can hold sadness. We have animal bones and pictures of the dead on our tree. We also have a disco ball, Tibetan prayer flags and a naked Barbie doll.  Allow your partner his darkness and allow yourself to feel joy. Mix it up.

Something that helped my partner and me was to spend a Christmas in Oaxaca, Mexico. Mexican culture, because of its pagan roots, has a level of comfort around remembering ancestors during celebrations. We marched in the town’s posada. People made altars out of radishes and corn. There was a creative spirit that hadn’t been ruined by plastic snowflakes and compulsive gift-giving. It was fun and reverent at the same time.

I wonder if your older husband’s sadness is unnerving for you. It can be scary to see your daddy troubled by emotional or physical pain. We fantasize that our men are tougher than we are. They became men by taking care of their comrades. We become men, in turn, by loving the ones who remain.

Kirk Read can be contacted at kirk@daddyhunt.com and welcomes letters seeking advice for this blog.

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Comments

I always hated Christmas because my mother made it a miserable time for all of us. About 10 years ago, I realize that while I had not lived at home for 22 years, she was still impacting my life. I began embracing the holiday for what it is meant to be, a happy time filled with love for each other. Yeah, sometimes I have a real tree and sometime I blow up my purple inflatable tree (I love Target for crap like this), but I try to do something to get into a happy place.

Perhaps jumping into Christmas with both feet and decorating your home might help, even at the last minute. If you go to Under One Roof on Castro Street and buy some decorations, but let him know that the profits go to 28 AIDS charities in the bay area, he might find that a great way to honor the memory of his former partner while being happy during these times.

These are times to be happy and remember the joy that other's have shared with us.

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

This will be my fourth Christmas without the love of my life, my partner of 21 years. The first one without him was nearly unbearable, but the next two each got a little better. This year I am still without a special man to love. I thought I'd actually have a honey to be with this year, but he freaked out on me unexpectedly, and I realized I had to get out of there asap. But time does help. By now it is easier for me to remember the good times rather than the sad times, and I can miss him and think about him without getting overly depressed. I should and will love him and think of him for the rest of my life, but to still be in mourning for someone after over 20 years to me seems just not right. Reminds me of the lyric "A fool may lose tomorrow reaching back to yesterday." (I'm not saying the writer's husband is a fool.) It's just so much more happiness-inducing if you can, yes, remember loved ones who are now gone, but realize how full of love your life is now, and to be thankful for that. How lucky that couple is to have each other! I am still looking for a man who might make me happy again. Life without a partner can be very lonely, indeed, but I am always hopeful that the guy for me is waiting just around the corner. To paraphrase Harvey, "You've gotta give yourself hope!"

As Kirk said, this is a complicated time of year and it brings up a lot of complicated issues. I don't think I can find the words to address it in a way that shows the compassion I feel while also offering my personal opinion and/or insight. So I'll go right to the bottom line. Guys, if you are in a relationship, you owe it to your loved one....your LIVING loved one...to come to terms with the losses (or other negative experiences) of the past and not let them keep you and your loved one from enjoying your life today. Each person has his own way - what works for him. Find your way and deal with the issues, or seek some help in learning to deal with it. But don't ruin holidays for your current love by being depressed over what's past. Relationships are fragile and have ended for less than issues like this. You have a responsibility to your partner and you owe it to yourself to release the sorrows and embrace what today can be if you let it.

Ah, the death of a lover is very hard. But the death of your life is just as bad. Can you go on is the question. I say in all cases YES...Never give up finding a new love. I know I haven't.

Myself and this Season ...

Since discovering the truth of myself twenty years ago, I've noticed that nearly every one of the literally thousands of gay men whom I've met personally and at Gay Pride events of all kinds is looking for interpersonal connection of some sort--a new immediate or extended family. Unfortunately while opening doors of opportunity, the Internet also invites a myriad of misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and sometimes even misrepresentations. In wanting love, it is so easy to confuse what we want and what actually is, but in the long run it is the latter which will remain with us and challenge us toward different ways of perceiving and being within the continuing unfolding of our lives. My parents wanted me to be what they had imagined me to be and unfortunately many potential boyfriends have done the same, but ultimately I always find that I can be nothing except my genuine true self. Communicating that to another is sometimes a most frustrating endeavor and all too often I fail (which is why I haven't heard from any of my family in over ten years and presently have no boyfriend either).

Even when I fail, however, the face in the mirror is the one which greets me each morning and invites me to try one more time to make something good of this gift of life within me. I know that I am much more than I would have ever been, had I not known and struggled with each face and name along the winding way of my past. I am thankful for the sense of aspiration that yet lives within me, to make the future even better than the past, if I can. Through all of this, however, I must continue to stand openly and publicly for the truth of who I am--just as all of those who have inspired me did within their own lives. It is in their remembrance that I often find the strength and conviction to continue being me, even when no one else understands. My inspirers were also frequently not understood within their own lives, but like Harvey Milk and countless others, we must continue to live for something greater than ourselves if our lives are to avoid becoming small and petty.

So it is that I continue to strive for love and wisdom in all that I think, say, do, and am. In celebrating the holidays, therefore, I strive to bring the richness of the past and the most beautiful possibilities of the future to a time of empowering focus within the present. This is what I wish for all of my friends and extended family within the website community of daddyhunt: the richness of your pasts and the most beautiful possibilities of your futures made clear within an empowering present moment. A very happy and joyous holiday season to all of you. Big warm hugs, MountainPuppy

Looking at the majority of gay profiles, I think that most guys deep down hate them selves. And are scared to make a worthwhile connection. No other reason I can see why guys would indulge in such self-destructive behavior. Imagine just being used as a receptacle for someone's body fluids. Damn! All they are being is a petrie dish for some. How sick can that be!!!

Guys you have to stop living in the past. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. Live in the moment. Embrace everyday as though it’s the last day. Try to live life to the fullest.

To have a meaningful relationship two people have to connect. That connect in the long run has to be mental and physical. The physical is the attraction and the thing that keeps people physically satisfied and from wondering. The mental is the glue that holds it all together. I can masturbate or buy toys to keep the physical under control. Nothing keeps the mental under control except nonsexual friends until you meet and hook up with that special friend.

I lost my lover to an untimely death eight years ago. I miss him to this day and I still grieve. He was a rare one in a million. He was smart, cute, sexy and loved me. He was a former Air Force sergeant and he was so sexy in bed to me. Of course I miss him. However, I have moved on. I find that most people are all about the physical and have no concern for the menal aspects of love. They pay lip service to it, but don't understand it.

You still want your lover of 5 years to make Christmas happy for you. You need to ask yourself how you can drag your lover into the spirit of Christmas. Perhaps what the two of you could use is some counseling to encourage him to open up to you. On the other hand, if the realtionship works for the two of you except at christmas then maybe you need to take charge of Christmas and you plan how the two of you will spend Christmas. It sound like your want the motions of enjoying Christmas and he needs the spirit of Christmas. If he just goes through the motions and does not get the spirit, then you will find that you are not happy. He needs somebody to help him connect with his feeling and to share them with you if you are strong enough to help him. I know that this post is old, but probably his attitude has not changed if he has not gotten help from you or others. Good luck.

Santa's baby elf in this blog may have a case of "Daddy's Lapsitting Syndrome" and missing that warm lap to sit on for the holiday. Maybe he is wondering if he was lucky enough to be on Santa Daddy's naughty list. If he is on the good list he will be taken to the Opera in irritating Mormon undergarments to increase ability to be a good elf.