I remember years ago when I was in college, we were asked to write a paper for English class about our favorite childhood Christmas memory. I was horrified. What was I going to write about? How any time I was home and unable to leave the house for school or a friend’s house that my only goal was to not get a beating from my mother. My whole day was focused on being invisible so that I would be out of the line of fire. That is my childhood memory of Christmas. I was always grateful when people stopped by our house, because for a little while I was safe. She would never dare do what she did in front of others.
As I sit here today and reflect on my recent Christmas memories with my ex-husband, they were not much better. Funny what you get used to and think is normal. He would basically ruin the holidays with his obnoxious behavior showing complete disdain for the holiday, its traditions, and any type of kindness towards me. He would even complain about the gifts I gave him, which were generally books, cookies, and anything related to his tennis obsession. Bad Willow; how dare you do something as horrid as give him gifts.
I am not trying to bring anyone down with this today. It’s just a bit of truth sharing. The holidays are not always easy for everyone. Oh, I know how to fake it and put on a happy face, but deep down inside there is a sadness that lives within my heart space. How I always wished for one of those big happy families you see on television commercials or in the movies. But that is not reality for a lot of us. One of my favorite Christmas movies is “Home for the Holidays,” a “reality tale” of a dysfunctional family at Christmas time. I can so relate, and really appreciate the dark humor in it.
I have been struggling to find the “Christmas Spirit” this year. I have come so far in learning to love and honor myself. I guess I felt it was time to love myself enough to be honest about the “Christmas Struggle” that lives in many of us. And you know what….It’s Ok. There is no shame in the struggle. There is no shame in not feeling plugged into all the merriment that goes on this time of year. It’s OK if all you can do is hold your head up and slap on a smile to get through the day.
I think I am more acutely aware of it this year because I have no distractions. I am not in fear of getting a beating; I don’t have anyone around the house ruining the holiday. There is just peace in the house. What the frig am I supposed to do with that? I guess I will just have to learn to adjust to a “new normal” around the holidays. But you know what, I can do that and I can make them into what I want them to be, and that is a good thing.
May you find the love and peace in your heart you have always been looking for. If you are not sure where to find it, look in the mirror. It lives within your own heart, just there for the taking.