Every year I think it will be different. I don’t know why. Hope springs eternal?
There is too much of everything. Garish light, blaring music. Everything is overkill. The worst being the expectations, which are impossibly high. It’s no wonder depression and anxiety rates shoot up in December. “You should be HAPPY. ALL. THE. TIME,” is the very clear message.
When I was dealing with long-term depression, the holidays nearly did me in. Every single trigger was magnified. I was a failure as a mother, a daughter, a spouse — everything. Time screamed by like a mugger running away with my purse as I struggled to my feet wondering what just hit me. Even “good” years were hard; there is never enough time, never enough money, and it hurt. Physically hurt. Depression is a cold ache. If you are stupid enough to mention this, you are told you have no reason to feel this way, and to cheer up. Thanks. Because there’s no pain that can’t be made worse with guilt.
As the kids got older, it got worse. Now they had jobs and social events I could not control. So even if I wanted to declare the winter solstice a sacred “quiet day” as when they were little – where we would light candles, feed the birds, and listen to peaceful celtic music – I was out of luck. It was now non-stop noise and consumerism from Thanksgiving through New Years. We were expected to show up, put up, and be merry about it, damn it.
As an introvert, it is against my nature. As an adoptee, it is a reminder of my split existence. And as a Christmas baby, it’s just a drag.
Even as a child, it was not lost on me that Christians had adopted the pagan solstice holiday, changed its name, and declared, This is what we’re celebrating! Not the dirty holiday of origin, but this new, completely contrived day. It’s been cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, so we can now recognize it.
It was appropriated. Adopted. Chosen. As long as we pretend with a straight face that Santa is real and that Jesus was born on December 25th, it is true. Just like the amended birth certificates are a lie we so carefully keep. We’re doing it for the children. Not for ourselves, not for our selfish needs. We will continue to keep them from the truth and expect them to be grateful for the rest of their days. Because there is no adulthood for adoptees.
I have to wonder what Jesus thinks, as His so-called sheep scream, “Don’t you dare take Christ out of Christmas!” to those who innocently offer a “Happy Holidays” greeting. It’s war, you know. FOX news says so.
This year I will, as always, split my time (and myself) as many ways as possible, not live up to expectations, wonder where the time went, and look forward to January.
My sincere holiday wish for my adoptees-in-arms is truth, peace, and love. In that order.
Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread http://tinyurl.com/lbuxw8c