Redefining Christmas

I find it so interesting that even though I am going into the holidays with much more awareness and thankfulness than I have ever had, I still get sad. Even while I am experiencing the most magnificent days/weeks/months of my entire life, Christmastime makes me sad. Which of course makes me realize how ingrained my feelings are surrounding this time of year. The emotions I feel leading up to December 25th are more of a habit than an accurate response to reality. I’m learning more and more that sadness is just a feeling that springs up when I am giving too much attention to what is missing in the present. This can be a slippery slope because too much consistent attention to this lack, whatever it is, can very quickly take me down to despair. I am extremely grateful to not be feeling depression or despair. I am currently just sitting with what is and being okay with feeling sad. Another pattern that can take me down the rabbit hole is resisting the sadness which only brings it closer into our experience. I simply can’t say it enough, but resisting creates far, FAR more suffering in our world than that which we resist ever could. It seems harsh to say that I am the cause of my own suffering, but this is completely true. I can thoroughly, hold-heartedly love myself and still create hardship. So if it’s alright with those that are listening, I would like proceed with how I have been facing my struggles over these incredible past five months and that is by diving into my sadness and opening up.

My childhood was a relatively happy one. Even though I had an emotionally absent mother and entirely absent father, I was fortunate to have other loving family members in my life. I had uncles, aunts and cousins who were always providing for me and ensuring my needs were met. My grandma was a huge part of my life until I became about 12 years of age. She was my rock! I loved her very much. Thanks to her I was never without food or things to fill my life. My cousin Kimmy also had an enormous impact on me when I was very young. She provided love and excitement even if sometimes it meant getting into trouble. Truthfully, I never got into trouble back then, sorry love ❤ Kim brought me the emotional support and acceptance I needed while approaching adolescence. Very similar (I believe) to how an older sister would demonstrate to a sibling. In addition, living in the country provided me with so many advantages growing up. Yes, it was a lot of work, especially for someone so young, but it was always worth it. Here is where I began working and caring for animals which ignited a passion I hold strong to still today. I was often very happy. I am so very grateful I was able to live in that environment for as long as I did. Unfortunately, my mom’s mental health got the best of her and we moved away from this sanctuary shortly after I turned twelve. But that is a story for another day. Right now the main thing that is coming up for me in regards to my present sadness is encompassed around family. On Christmas day all those years ago, I remember sitting in the middle of the floor passing out presents to everyone and thinking, the only thing that would make this moment perfect would be to have a father and siblings of my own. Yes, I loved and appreciated my family who was present. Often uncles and aunts, eagerly awaiting my reactions to the gifts they provided. I made sure to never disappoint. But unbeknownst to them, I would have happily traded every present I ever received for just a minute with my father. This was always my Christmas wish. It seems a bit sad and sappy thinking of a child asking Santa for her father. But I promise you, the energy behind it was excitement and awe, not sadness. The magic of Christmas. My mother tried to squander this magic by revealing to me, as early as I remember, that there was no such thing as Santa Claus. I didn’t care, I still dreamed! Having a dad was what I desired the absolute most and was always the missing piece from my life. My dad, his name is Tom, left before I was born and I have never met him. I have one picture that was taken in 1977 that is fuzzy and oversaturated with that sort of orange tinge that photos from that era often had. Whenever I brought up Tom I was never given any answers. In time, I stopped asking. Which created over 30 years of focusing on not having that missing piece. Well, that is until a few years ago. After finally getting therapy and with the help of a previous friend of mine, we were able to finally track down Tom to North Carolina. I won’t bore you with the details, but instead give you the intriguing highlights. Tom is currently suffering from advanced alcoholism and refuses to talk to me. Tom also had two children (girls) who also refuse to talk to me. I can’t help but find it interesting though that they are both physicians (I almost went to medical school) and the youngest daughter is also named Jessica. I can’t make this stuff up! Fortunately, amongst many voicemails, Jessica heard my plea and decided to email me my family history about a year ago. Here is where I learned that they are estranged from their (our) father. He was a mean drunk growing up and they know nothing about his current life. Wow. This completely changed my perspective. In just a few days, I went from pining over the idea of my supreme father, to being extremely grateful I didn’t have to grow up with an abusive, alcoholic parent. That brief email set me free. Over the past year instead of focusing on what was missing from my childhood, I have successfully been able to bring the more favorable parts into the light. I still hope to meet Tom someday but I’m also okay if I don’t get the opportunity. As an extra bonus, Jessica more or less gave me permission to send her and her sister an email every year on December 31st. I understand they aren’t interested in a relationship right now, but I’ll never stop writing or hoping they will stop resisting and eventually open up.

Thank you for joining me on this unusual trip down memory lane. The main takeaway I am attempting to depict is that sadness is okay, just don’t focus on it too long. We could spend a lifetime in that space. Instead I would like to concentrate on the wonderful people that are currently showing up in my life and are supporting and trusting me through this incredible journey. I am ecstatic and overjoyed that a good friend of mine will be coming here to England to spend Christmas with me. I pick her up from the airport in 10 days!! Yay! I am and always will be overwhelmed and moved by you, just for being here. Thank you.

 

One thought on “Redefining Christmas

  1. I am continually learning from you my little cousin ❤️
    You are a pioneer and a trendsetter
    You give me something to strive for
    I am forever in admiration of you
    ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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