Yes, Christmas is the word that can suddenly switch my day from ticking along smoothly to suddenly becoming one of “those days.”
Yes, “Christmas” and yes, just the word “Christmas.”
Christmas starts to pop up in discussions (or so I have noticed) in about September, and then it becomes a major theme on November 1st. The other thing that pops up (for me) is the thought “I hate Christmas” every time I hear the word.
I have been a self-proclaimed grinch for most of my adult life.
I have a friend, you can think of her as Cindy-Lou Who, who always looks at me incredulously whenever I say I hate Christmas. “How can you hate Christmas? It is a day when you don’t have to work, you get to spend time with friends and family, eating food, and the decorations are so wonderful at this dark time of year! There is nothing to hate!”
I usually just look at her sceptically and think to myself, “you just don’t get it.”
I then do what I do best: bury my thoughts, get on with it, and suffer through Christmas.
I also do something else; I tire myself out, and each year I compile more evidence that Christmas does indeed suck.
As I make it through another Christmas, I say to myself: “I don’t think I can do this again…”
But guess what? Christmas keeps coming back. I have not managed to convince the multitudes that perhaps we should banish Christmas once and for all.
Wait a minute…this is starting to remind me of something if I could just put my finger on it.
Christmas reminds me of my divorce.
Six years ago, I was thrust into my new reality as a part-time single parent. Being a single-parent was something I had never wanted to be, and saying that I was depressed to find myself in this life situation would be an understatement.
I felt like a pawn with no control over my life.
My life was happening to me against my will; it did not reflect what I truly wanted or believed.
The pain of thinking you have no control over your life, that despite having tried to follow all the rules, you are stuck being someone and doing things that go against everything that you hold to be true.
I cannot describe my pain to do it justice, but I can tell you what that pain did to me.
It changed me. It changed me because I could not live with that level of pain in my life. I had to change.
I had to change.
And so I did.
I changed both myself and the way I thought.
I first began to change my life, so I was no longer a part-time single-parent but a full-time co-parent.
Then I realized that I had to stop calling and thinking of myself as a part-time single parent as I noticed that as soon as my thoughts started to go along this path, my pain began to resurface.
As I have changed myself, some other changes have happened, including the way my family and I celebrates the Christmas holidays. Christmas has changed.
It’s about time my thoughts around Christmas change accordingly.