This is for all the sad fucks out there during Christmas. And let's be real, if you're reading CLASH you're probably a sad fuck who sings Christmas carols into the bottom of a brown-bagged wine bottle and eats chicken from a can.

The holidays used to remind me of everything I no longer had, and what I wanted to discard. The scent of crisp pine needles and fresh wrapping paper bloomed in my mind along with memories of family fights and screaming fits. I can't actually remember what I did on my first Christmas alone - probably because it was much of nothing. The world of Christmas music, holiday cheer, lights, and festivities seemed designed for a world that I didn't belong in. 

I was the creature who skulked on the outside looking in, an honorary orphan of the soul, smearing my nose on windows and dazzling my dark-adjusted eyes on light as I watched rosy-cheeked children opening presents.

But I didn't want to be let inside. I wanted to suffer. I wanted to feel self-righteous in being an outcast. If they let a girl like me into their lighted world, I'd just be a black hole sitting underneath a tree skirt. I would stare at the feast laid out in front of me with starving eyes. And if I ate at all, I would eat, and eat, and never become full. I had designed myself for misery, not happiness. I couldn't be satisfied with the trappings of it.

"I don't want anything," I'd say, as I drank my personal bottle of sadwine and bared my back to a world celebrating. The holidays were for suckers, after all. It was all a scam. Those families were just pretending to be happy, after all, because once the presents were unwrapped the children would sink into boredom once more after the novelty had worn out. The wives would complain about the mess, and pull out their hair with anxiety. The men would pour themselves a bourbon and sink into the recliner to drink away their quiet depression. Life would resume its normal, agonizing, plod towards death.

The holidays were just the wrapping paper that we put around existential despair and ennui - a shiny trick to keep us from collapsing into abject misery because of the meaningless of existence.

And if we looked up from whatever shiny gadgets and eggnog that we consumed, we'd see that planets were collapsing around us all the time, dead stars cooling into dust and the universe getting colder by the moment.

Well, I was an idiot and I read too much Sartre and Ligotti, what can I say?

I had so thoroughly convinced myself that I didn't want joy, that I made my entire body cave around this new perception of the world as a useless, lifeless place. I didn't see the joy in holidays. I didn't see the inherent joy in using my hands to manipulate the environment, or creating relationships with others. I saw an endless, infinite battle against entropy. I was like Sylvia Plath - I hated even the thought of washing my hair, because I knew I'd just have to do it over and over again. 

I thought life was just combing your hair, taking showers, cleaning dishes, folding laundry, bad memories, writing books that never sold, and getting your heart broken over and over again. I didn't see anything to celebrate there, how could I? So of course Christmas seemed like a sad illusion! How could it not, if that was the perception I had of life?

But laying cracked and broken at the bottom of all hope, I began to see how fundamentally broken my idea of life was. And I started to rebuild myself. It was either that, or die. And despite all the ways Iā€™d convinced myself that life was a sham, there was a fundamental system built in me to cling to life as hard as I could. The only other option was death, and more death, and that would be coming soon enough.

So maybe, just maybe, if I still felt the internal drive to life, and could not bring myself to end it, I should find a way to enjoy it.

I saw that those motions - cleaning, cooking, sleeping, washing my hair - were the celebration of our will against eternity, our mastery over the environment. I washed my hair because I was alive. I was alive!  And I should celebrate that every single day. I was not a frozen crystal dangling on a tree. I was a human being, for god's sake, and that meant I was motion, sound, feeling, and will. And the contract I'd made with being a human being meant that I was going to wash my goddamn hair for the remainders of my day. Not as a punishment. As a privilege of enjoying temporal existence itself!

After I realized that, the holidays made sense to me. And I began to thaw to the idea that the people who enjoyed them weren't just playing a charade. They understood something intrinsic about life that I didn't. They understood that it was meant to be celebrated.

So here's my missive to you - miserable sadfucks. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Stop sinking down into your self-righteousness and using the claws of your ego to sink deeper into despair. If you're reading this article, you're still alive. Despite all your nihilistic tendencies, your self-destructiveness, your sadness, your alcohol-soaked breath - you are alive. The holidays are not about Baby Jesus or presents or the coming of the New Pagan Queen or whatever the hell you believe in. They are about the coursing warmblooded trajectory of life itself. You don't have to go out and buy a tree, or wrap presents, but take a moment to stop and remember this:

You. Are. Alive. Not as punishment. Not as indictment,. Not because you are destined to float alone through the cosmos, but because from the beginning of existence, we've all fought the wolves and the fire to give you this little piece of life.




Autumn Christian is a fiction writer from Texas who currently lives in California. She is the author of The Crooked God Machine, We Are Wormwood, Ecstatic Inferno, AND GIRL LIKE A BOMB. SHE has written for several video-games, including Battle Nations and State of Decay 2.  When not writing, she is usually practicing her side kicks and running with dogs, or posting strange and existential Instagram selfies. She blogs at and you can find her on Twitter & IG @teachrobotslove