Thursday, December 25, 2008

Behind The Christmas Glitter

This is actually the first year for many that I've not just dreaded Christmas. Normally at this time of the year, my body is aching, stiff, sore and I'm wanting to hide or lash out at anyone I see (especially in the stores). But this year, its been different for some reason. Not that I'm doing anything different per se in my activities but maybe that part of me is beginning to heal. Normally depression has hit me so hard I'm struggling to keep my head above water and I remember a few very recent Christmas times that just about pulled me under. A couple of years ago, I almost lost it in a Kmart shopping lot on an unsuspecting shopper. That really woke me up a bit. Than I went into hiding, wanted to just end things. It was a tough year. So that's like I was saying, something has changed.

Granted, its not all fun and giggles. I get irritated when I see people spending countless hundreds (thousands) of dollars on gifts that are going to end up in yard sales or the garbage a few months later just to prove to someone they love them. I get irritated when like today I was trying to go to the store for something we needed and everyone was acting as if the world was ending tomorrow and you'd never be able to buy another thing. In the Target parking lot, one lady was coming out in her motorized wheelchair (there's a lot of those around here) and she was crossing the parking lot. I was waiting for her, and another lady figured she'd get the jump on me because she saw an open parking spot but she almost ran the wheelchair lady over. I almost got out of my vehicle and let her have it. I had to restrain myself. I do have a soft spot for people in wheel chairs because of being in one myself at one point.

I remember those times when people invited me over for Christmas and I felt so awkward. While I know they cared and they were offering their home and goodwill, it was some rough moments. Again though, I remember when no one invited me over and I sat at home missing everything in life and hating everything there was to hate. Those times were difficult and if you turned on a TV or a radio (pre-mp3 ipod days), all you heard was Christmas. If you just happened to catch your neighbors through the window, you could see they were off celebrating with family or someone was coming to their home bringing presents in the door. There was no escaping it.

From the time I was a little kid, there was one time of year that was special in our house. My mom made sure of it. It was Christmas. We never had much and we barely got any gifts. I could never understand for the longest time how Santa would bring many gifts to my friends, but not to us. Then when I learned who Santa really was, I found out how my mom saved their pennies up all year long to buy a few gifts for each of us. She made it special with her baking of holiday treats, with helping put together a Christmas program at church to decorating the house. I'll never forget that about her. There were of course the rough moments mixed in when we would exchange gifts as I got older. Sometimes the gift wasn't perfect enough for the person and you would see and hear the disappointment in them. That grew difficult to accept and to this day I still struggle receiving gifts and giving them. I worry so much if the person will like them or if I will disappoint them.

There is no easy way to deal with this time of year. Each person has their own perceptions of what Christmas should be and it is rooted in what it was when they were a kid. While it is supposed to be one of the most happiest times of the year, I know personally just how tormenting it can be. I've learned over the years that I do what I need to do for myself and push aside all the things that others feel I must do. As time has went, I have begun to create a Christmas time that works for me as I borrow from all my experiences and as I lean on to that which I truly feel like doing in a year. And yet I know, that whatever I do it will be enough for me to enjoy or tolerate Christmas in whatever way I so desire. I am not obligated to do Christmas just because it is that time of year. The only thing that matters is that I take care of myself and nurture the little boy inside of me.

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