December Darkness: Do we have to be giddy for Christmas?

Lately, it has been kind of a layered darkness. I am doing physio on my fractured wrist and getting the use of my hand back is an uphill climb. For the first ten days the constant throbbing was interfering with my peace of mind. Then the flu hit. Everybody, apparently, has this flu so there is nothing particularly dreadful about it other than it is generally dreadful.

Christmas itself is always very difficult for me. A long holiday with my parents shut up in the house with us was like a prison. The fact that it was “normal” for adults to have a rainbow bar full of various types of booze did not help the situation. Learning the skill of being a frozen faced actress helped me. The rage was volcanic and just under the surface. Who would be screamed at and then thrown against a wall next? The cheerful Christmas music in the background ran as a counterpoint to the reality we all were experiencing.

My spunky grand daughter decorating the tree

So the pressure I put on myself to “get over it” wrestles with the triggered depression. This year combined with inhibiting hand pain and the trembling in the bathroom flu experience has left me at odds with my ideal self.

Every single Christmas commercial causes an outbreak in tears. God help me if somebody shows a kitten with a tiny hat on its fuzzy head. When I was phoning Green Shield today, I could barely get through reading my number. What I was hearing in my head is “This is all too much. What if they misunderstand me? Why is the number so mixed up and complicated? Why do I have to repeatedly untangle issues with institutions? Why am I such a wimp?”

the desire to glow

So I put the fireplace on the TV set and listen to the Cinnamon Bear radio show that was a bright spot in my childhood Christmases. As my little brother and I lay on the carpet in front of the towering console radio, it was an anticipated shared pleasure. The series ran every night from Thanksgiving until Christmas. My mother sat in a chair doing something… mending or sewing. And I cannot remember one time when my father raged during the program. I found the show on You Tube and sent it to my brother.

Cinnamon Bear

His reply, “Good times.”

And I know full well I have a lot of work to do on my hand to get its use back. The flu will eventually be defeated. And best of all, Christmas will be over.

Maybe then, I can stop forcing myself to live some lie of cheerfulness. It is a difficult time for me and may never get easier. Learning to be at peace with the struggle is what I am hoping for.

Christmas Contrast

Yesterday I went to the Mall to mingle. There are times when I just wish to “participate” in the socially constructed delusion of purpose. I still remain outside. Even in my dreams I stand outside of a scene in which I am reliving a past even.

So I encourage myself to walk as many steps as I can while checking in on my fit bit. I stop and visit with Rose at the Bay behind the jewellery counter. She has warm, soft and sweet energy. When I see her, I check to see if she is busy and then if she is free, I walk to her.
“Hi Rose,” I say with a big genuine smile on my face. “How are you?”

We talk and as we are exchanging words I think, “I just love you.”

In the submarine hallway of the dark winter shopping center, I stop at the kiosk packed full of young clerks in their black sales costumes. They are kind to one another and to customers. Even though there are four or five of them jammed into a small space there is no competitive striving for territory or sales.

I call them the “better in black” crew and always stop to throw out some trivial words and exchange smiles. They are working so hard to make a life for themselves. They take a bus home and are unlikely to own their own residences any time in the future. But they bend over helping confused people figure out their phones, their plans, their sense of not knowing how to proceed. It is a kindness in intention.

There are opportunities to see a father holding his kids’ hands; a young couple stopped in front of a window enjoying some new style programming experience. The tribes of teen girls have somehow lost their coats and parade in the eye catching attire that they believe gives them value. Groups of young males insult one another and walk in unpredictable lurching playful patterns. There are in jokes exchanged and sudden out breaks of laughter.

                          How to fit in

Crowds have shown up because there is a yearning for village in a place that sprawls out over the landscape. So many towns have a central street to walk upon once a week. Everyone comes to stroll. Everyone comes to see the new baby, or the new shoes or to hear about the child who is living somewhere else pursuing opportunities.

And now, we are apart. We live in enclaves without a central Malacon or Main Street. We spend hours a day looking at the blue/gray light of a screen. But at the mall at Christmas, people are buying presents to ship to those far away. And it brings us together.

We are a reflection.

I have happened upon people I once knew, I once worked with, I once served on a board with, I took a class with when I was in the mall and it provides a certain continuity in my life. It brings back my history and memories of who I once was. It brings the lie to the sense that I am an outsider and not connected.

Every action I have taken in life has in some way connected me to others in either a positive or a negative way. It is good to remember. Watching the village crowd into the mall is a way to remember that we all share an energy.