I've always been a bit of a humbug around the holidays... the buildup and expectation that everything be perfect is draining and more than anything just means a lot more work for me! The past few years have been unbearably sad... with bright spots and lots of good memories (ask my mom why we don't drink tequila on Christmas Eve anymore hahaha!)... but it is a descent into a time of year that is for us steeped in pain.
I'm happy to say that this year was very, very different. We pulled off a great Christmas... a good balance of business and low key fun that allowed us all to relax and just enjoy the time together. My kids didn't get a ton of gifts... but they were really happy with what they got. Ivy made her own beautiful presents for everyone and our Asian themed Christmas dinner was so good I'm pretty sure i'll be working that off for the next few weeks. True to form, we started talking about what we're going to have next year before dinner was even finished!
If there is one piece of advice I can give to new members of this awful club it is this: There is no shame in finding that spark. It may take a long time. You will have to force yourself and you will have to pretend for awhile. It will not be easy. You will have to shed beliefs about yourself, about your world and be truly fearless in doing so. Some of the people you love may disapprove, they may be scared for you. They may fade away. That is OK. You keep going. You check in with yourself, you feel your pain but you also feel immense joy as the broken, empty places scream within you and you treat yourself with love and compassion. Do not wait to love yourself. You are perfect as you are, amidst your struggle and chaos.You must be very, very brave. You've done hard things... and you will do more. You must treat yourself as the sacred being you are and find a way to enjoy your life, just as it is, every single day. I can't tell you how long this will take but I can tell you that it will never end. You will never stop feeling helpless and frightened and anxious and sad... but you must learn to live within that space and love your life with all those dark feelings. They've made you who you are and they will soften. And one day, like a seedling sprouting from the ground and seeking light, you will begin to bloom.
Who knows what you will become?
I wanted to do this all by myself. Truthfully, I was terrified to REALLY love anyone. Loving someone means that I can lose them... that I very well may someday be tossed back into that vortex of pain. That is my greatest fear, going back to that place. But to deny myself this love... that would be like cutting off my oxygen. I had already decided, a long time ago, that I would live the rest of my life happy. Gaining that happiness means taking risks... I just have to meet the person worth taking that risk for.