Isn’t it odd how I can be so forthcoming about the good things in my life yet so private about the things that aren’t as pretty? Or is it as odd as it feels? Maybe not. After all, not everybody likes to splay out there emotions when they’re ugly. So I won’t go into specifics deeply but I will admit that my attitude of late has SUCKED and it’s all been related to this past “holiday season”. Christmas this year was the lousiest one i’ve ever had. In fact, any joy I had in looking forward to it was ripped away and I ended up spending the day completely alone and miserable. It even makes me seriously consider not ever wanting to celebrate it again or at the very least, doing in a completely non-traditional way. Perhaps I might should just find myself in a hotel room somewhere next Christmas eating hummus and watching football. Now if you know much about me, you probably know just how much I detest football and that i’m not a fan of hummus either. This chick don’t like them sort of peas. Period.
Christmastime has always been a time of year that I look forward to.. I decorate my home wildly, I enjoy giving to others, I love having my family around me and I even enjoy cooking (although it’s a LOT of work). It represents family and if you know ANYTHING about me, you know that is the thing I put foremost in my life. It also is the time of year that makes most people more open to others and just plain NICER to be around. That was not the case this year. I did try to decorate and if it hadn’t been for my friend Teresa, nothing would have gotten done. My husband nor my son wanted any part of helping. So much for it being a family tradition. I did get the family tree up with her help and it was beautiful with it’s white lights, an amazing crystal star at the top and displays all of the ornaments that i’ve collected over the years. But it’s not just about buying ornaments, each of them have symbolic meaning in some way. They all represent my family or friends.. perhaps a memory of somewhere i’ve been. It’s like taking a piece of every person I love and placing it all in one spot and then allowing the light of their spirit to glow in the room. It always felt magical. Until this year.
The complete disinterest from my family really hurt me. The feelings that are typically represented to me in putting up that tree were just disregarded and thrown off as insignificant. Perhaps it was petty on my part but I needed for them to participate.. to help me build that tree, to make new memories and to come together as a family. It was already tough enough for my oldest son to be so far away and unable to be here with us. It was on my mind that for yet another year, I was going to miss having Christmas with my family back in Louisiana. I just NEEDED the family I have here to step up and share this time that represented joy, love and unity. It didn’t happen. All that happened was fighting. I cried. I got angry. Then I just stepped back, into a shell and wanted nothing to do with anyone. I sat in the living room away from everyone else and just surfed the internet. I was miserable and felt more alone than I had ever felt in my life. I now hated Christmas because it represented the complete opposite of everything I had always believed it to be. The only magic there was in Christmas was a dark magic. I had finally recognized that it wasn’t worth fighting to feel good about the holidays any more if I had to do it alone. There wasn’t much good about that for sure.
I finally came out of the living room after sitting in there for days alone. I still didn’t feel like doing anything and I continued to sulk. I haven’t even had the gumption to take down the trees in my house or the rest of the decorations. I know my attitude stunk but truthfully, I didn’t give a damn. Christmas Day had come and gone. No time with family, no exchanging of presents, no Christmas dinner. I had thawed out a turkey that was bought at Thanksgiving and Bob cooked it in the oven and with the leftover Red Velvet Cake that I had made a couple days before, that was it. I ate a turkey sandwich that day and for the next several days after. No worries about gaining any extra weight from a sandwich but trust me when I tell you.. I ate my feelings by way of everything else. I wasn’t hungry at first but when I started feeding my disappointment, I couldn’t eat enough. Cake, fudge, peanut butter balls, biscotti, gallons of iced white mocha lattes. I ate myself right into feeling even more sorry for myself because I knew it was just going to make me gain weight. Yeah.. I know. That part is on me and I own it. Nobody else forced me to eat.
I’ve slowly begun to talk to the manticles and the kidlet but I still haven’t really forgiven either one of them for being so horrid during Christmas. They both KNEW how much it meant to me and it didn’t matter enough to do anything about it. Now you might ask why would I care? Why wouldn’t I just go on and do my own thing and be merry anyway? WELL.. that is hard when you feel like the very things that are GOOD about you (love for family, wanting to do right by them, the desire to spend time with them) are the things that aren’t appreciated. If I can’t be appreciated for the things that are good about me, what else is there? YEP.. I was feeling defeated. And quite alone.
Over a week has passed now and yesterday I was online, surfing and reading Facebook. Not much unusual about that except that I was participating in a thread about after Christmas clearance sales with a group of crafters from a Facebook page I belong to. Many were talking about how awesome their after Christmas sales were at Wal Mart and while I did go look at my local store the other day, I didn’t buy anything Christmas related. So while I was reading their posts about clearance sales, someone mentioned a store i’d never heard of and even placed a link on it to the store’s Facebook page. The store is called Dirt Cheap. Now even in a funk, I can get a small twinkle in my eye when I think about getting a bargain but I knew i’d never heard of the store. I was curious if there were any in the South Florida region where I live. NOPE. No such luck.
But I did find something. A bigger streak of luck and a better bargain than I could have imagined. Yanno, sometimes the things we need more than luck can come to us in a totally bizarre form.. this was one of those times. I happened to read a comment from one of the people that found a good buy at their store. The comment led me to her blog that she had linked. I read the story about how she had been blessed enough to get an artificial tree from a local thrift store and some other decorations from their store at 50% off BEFORE Christmas Day actually came and went. It was exciting to her because it was the only thing her son had asked for at Christmas was to have a tree. Talk about a kick in the gut.
Yes.. I had a right to be angry and upset and even hurt by my family’s behavior toward Christmas but I am a grown woman and to have a CHILD to show more graciousness and humility than I had was just eye opening. Tears rolled down my face as I saw the pictures she posted of her children and her husband putting up that tree and the awe in their eyes, joy on their faces and I felt as though I could almost feel the spirit of Christmas coming from her words and pictures. THERE it was.. the very thing I had wanted. Yes, a part of me is insanely jealous of their family unity but the better part of me was insanely grateful that those children had a better Christmas than they had expected. I might have had to wait for my Christmas a little longer and I may have had to see it in someone else’s faces but it certainly did remind me of where the Christmas spirit lives.. it lives inside of those that are willing to receive it. I may still have to escape next year and watch football and eat hummus to enjoy it but I refuse to let someone else take it from me ever again.