For my whole life I have loved Christmas. My mother loved Christmas and so, in spite of how messed up our family might have been at any given time, she was happier around the holidays, things were better. I have always found Christmas lights soothing and peaceful and giving gifts is one of my favorite things to do and also kind-of one of my superpowers. I’m pretty awesome at it. Honestly there’s not much about Christmas I haven’t loved. I would even intentionally go to the mall to look at the decorations and watch all the people. I even like the obnoxious and repetitive Christmas music that plays everywhere.
The last few years have been harder. As things with my parents got more tense, Christmas became more a source of stress but I still held on to the things I loved about it. I’ve added different traditions, tossed out a few things occasionally. I found ways. But here I am and it’s Christmas Eve and there’s not a lot I can do with this year, to be perfectly honest. I’m not going to see my family this Christmas. Really that’s for the best. This isn’t nearly as bad as if I was seeing them. But it’s a situation with no good answers. I watched A Muppet Christmas Carol tonight, which is the movie that we have watched as a family every single Christmas Eve for probably over 10 years. I pretty much know it by heart. In different times my mom and I used to sing the love song from the movie together. For the first time in possibly ever I found myself crying at that song. Not so much because of Scrooge’s lost love, just because of what I’ve lost, I suppose. A week and a half ago I came home to find that my mother had left my family Christmas stocking and stocking holder in a plastic bag at my house. Which I guess answered one question I had been kicking around – would they hang my stocking this year even with me gone? Obviously the answer is a resounding no and she wanted to make sure I knew it. My mother likes to send messages and now that I’ve cut off most of her forms of communication, I guess it was what she had left. It hurt, just like it was intended to.
The truth is that to some extent what hurts the most if I’m being honest is not knowing what, if anything, I will get back. I may never love Christmas again like I have, I honestly don’t know. This year is all transition and it seems impossible to say what may happen going forward. Hopefully some year (maybe even next year) I will have at least a little bit of money and can buy presents for people again. Probably the level of pain associated with everything right now will fade given time. But I can’t know what I’ll come out with. It’s possible in some far off future that I’ll end up with my family again for Christmas. I have no idea if that would be good or bad. Right now it seems like it could only be bad and painful but things change. If there’s one thing I have learned over and over again this year it is that things change. But even if I did end up with my family again some Christmas Eve, it’ll never be the same. I’m not the same and there’s no going back. Not that I would want to. But what does that mean for Christmas?
I’ve gained so much this year and I would never want to downplay a single bit of it. I’ve learned so much about myself, I’ve had the opportunity to attend school and I’ve had new people come into my life that at this point I literally don’t even know what I did without them. But gains come with losses. And tonight, and really most of this week, what I’m feeling most keenly is the losses. I walked away from my parents because I felt I had no choice… but it was still a loss. I still miss feeling like I had parents, like I was part of a family. I don’t know if or when that goes away. I’ve lost some friends over the last couple of years, some who I cut out intentionally and some who have just drifted for various reasons. I adapt, I’m actually pretty good at that, but I wish people didn’t leave, I wish I had handled some things better. There are people I miss. I don’t regret my choices about walking away from my faith this year, it was the truth of where I was at and it was what I needed to do but I don’t think you make a call like that and don’t end up with moments of missing things. Even if it’s just feeling like you knew where your place was, feeling like you knew what you were supposed to do or be. And it leaves me wondering about Christmas. Does that change too? Almost every single thing in my life has changed this year. This is such a dumb little thing but it’s always been one of my defining pieces. Am I going to lose it too? No way to tell at this point, I guess. Nothing to do but wait and see.
Sorry for such a sad entry but, you know. It’s a sad night.
Merry Christmas to all.