a new, old-school alma christmas

My roommates left for Maine and will be there for the next week to spend time with his family.  Which means I have the entire apartment to myself for the first time since I moved here in September.  Well, I’ve had nights of alone and half-days–but nothing consecutive.  This break also marks the longest amount of time I’ve had off–in a row–since Foggy’s cancer popped up.

I’m used to just working and taking time off here and there.  I’m used to working holidays for those who have families.  It never bothered me to hold down the fort.  Finally, this death thing was at least useful.

But, man–I’m exhausted.  I’ve needed this time off desperately to just decompress, finally get some decent unpacking done, and cook.  There will also be some strategizing about next year because–hello–I’m me.

I’m like blissfully happy to be alone.  I found myself dicing butternut squash earlier, humming Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  It was a who the hell am I moment because I hate that song.  Haha.  I bought way too much food and plan to cook like a banshee–old-school Alma style.  And even though it’s just me, it makes me incredibly happy.  I don’t even mind that it’s just me.  In fact, I’m GLAD it’s just me.

I wish I could say I had people to spend the holiday with, but I don’t.  I refuse to really feel bad about that.  I could spend time with people who I don’t like or don’t know enough to like–but you know–I actually like myself a lot better.  No amending the menu or contorting to make others happy.

The last few months has been a lot of adjusting and doing that.  A lot of feeling dishonored and disrespected.  And, as I learned in therapy, when people don’t give you what you need–you have to learn how to do that for yourself.  So, that’s what this weekend’s about.  Taking care of me.

The reality is this–for the rest of my life–the rah rah Christmas thing isn’t going to be mine.  That doesn’t mean I can’t listen to Christmas music.  It doesn’t mean I won’t cook.  It doesn’t mean I won’t put up lights and send up cards.  But it’s all filtered through this new lens.  What feels good now isn’t necessarily what people think of or accept as Christmas–but it’s mine and that’s fine.  A friend of mine had posted that Christmas alone was the worst thing ever–and I defiantly took issue with that.  Christmas with people who don’t deserve you or see you?  Much worse.  Christmas pretending you’re happy when you’re not?  Way more torturous.  Believe me–done it.  Never doing it again.

This year, I actually feel happier than I did when I was a kid.  Isn’t that strange?  But I do.  It’s that kind of thing that makes you cheese out so hard you catch yourself doing it and laugh.  I’m not feeling this way for anyone’s benefit, and the fact that I am not knee-deep in depression right now says so much about the hard work I’ve put into my own healing.  It gives me a lot of hope for all the healing I have left to do.

If you’re having a tough Christmas this year–don’t fight it.  Don’t force yourself to do things.  Honor the things you love and only that.  There’s really no room for anything else in this life.  And that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from losing my mother on Christmas Eve.  Don’t tolerate bullshit and pain in your life.  Honor your story and journey.  When you stop fighting so hard for your old normal, it suddenly hurts far less.

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