One year I threw the Christmas tree in the front yard.
I bet you think I’m kidding!
Nope… I was 23 years old, my mom had just died it was my first Christmas without my best friend, make it all better, warrior Mama.
I was DESTROYED.
Christmas was “our time”. We were the decorating committee of the house, we baked together, we created elaborate wrapping stations in the guest room and we shopped until we dropped!
It was because of her that I fell hopelessly in love with the Holidays.
So there I was, my first Christmas without her. I’m in a deep, grief driven depression, spending day after day listening to the “Out of Africa” soundtrack on repeat, never leaving the house.
My Dad decided that having a Christmas tree to decorate would “cheer me up”.
I watched in silence as he brought the tree into the house, propped it up angst the wall of the living room and headed into the garage to retrieve the memory filled boxes of all things Christmas past.
Then something came over me. I picked up that 7ft Christmas tree, opened the front door and hurled it like a barbarian as hard as I could into the front yard.
It felt AMAZING!
You should have seen my Dad’s face. One part horror, one part, YES this is exactly how I feel too!
Not only was I grieving her death I was grieving the death of the way things were, like Christmas… Forever!
The next thing that happened suprised me the most. I made a decision to do something different. I hopped on a plane, headed to Mexico so that my heart could bleed in private.
The point of me sharing this story with you is because I KNOW the Holidays can suck sometimes.
Some of you reading this are navigating the holidays alone. Maybe your relationship status isn’t what you expected it to be this year or it may be that, like me, you have lost loved ones and the holidays are an all to raw reminder that they are gone. For others the holidays have always been a time of high stress, family tension and pretending.
Listen, I know not all of us can chuck the tree in the yard and escape to sunny, warm Mexico. But there is something simple you CAN DO.
Here is my Holiday RX for you:
Wrap your arms around yourself and whisper,
“I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU.
Feel beyond the story.
Is there is a story that says “He/ she has moved on and is celebrating the perfect Instagram holiday with someone else?…”
Are you suffering from the “I know exactly how this holiday is going to go, my mothers going to be a hot mess, my dad is going to pretend she’s not being a lunatic (reverse rolls if needed, Dad’s a hot mess, Mom is pretending) and I will be criticized for being ME AGAIN pre Holiday nightmare?”.
Maybe you have fallen into the “I shall be the perfect Mom who creates the perfect Christmas for everyone bc I do it best so get the Fu*k out of my way syndrome?” Oh and this one usually comes with a big bonus serving of, martyrdom, exhaustion, irritation, low if no patience and a total lack of feeling grounded and or present”.
Or are you trying to the keep up with the cool perfectly curated crew in felt hats and coveralls making sure you are seen (better yet featured, tagged, posted, reposted”) at all the best Makers and Mercado events?
Trust me, under that all those stories lay big important feelings just waiting to be experienced. (Not thought about, not rationalized, not spiritualized, FELT.)
Play the Out of Africa soundtrack (or anything without words that helps you to feel) and let the tears, anger, disappointment and jealousy rip! Focus on what you are feeling in the body. NOT the story. Breath and cry and repeat until you feel emptied out.
FEELING is different then thinking.
Thinking = STUCK in the Story, repeating the story
Feeling = LIBERATION
Repeat Step #1.
My relationship with Christmas has healed over the years and still every holiday season I remember my mama and give myself the time and space to miss her mucho. I give myself permission to FEEL.
What I don’t do anymore is get lost in the “what if” story. That is a dead end an only leads to deep suffering.
This is me reaching out to you as your sister and friend. I am hugging you and not expecting you to get over it. Just loving you right where you are and offering a beautiful alternative to the broken record of the story.
I hope it helps.