Made you look! Hahahaha! Okay, I hate to disappoint, but this post is not going to be about, well, male genitalia. You know, the pleasing little squishy pouches that look like misshapen figs hanging below… NEVERMIND!! You get the drift.
No, this post is slightly off topic in that it’s not about the body as much as it’s a quick exploration of how I began to love Christmas. When I was younger, I pretty-much despised Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I loved aspects of Christmas, you know, the gift-giving and getting, the savory foods, and my favorite- the piles of SUGARY bliss in its various manifestations! But, in my family, there was just a ton of dysfunction, tension, abuse, and, well, lots of divorces.
Between both parents, with whom I lived in alternating turns, I went through six divorces and numerous other “dissolutions of unions”. Ya, along with all of that, there was rage, sorrow, mistrust, abuse, histrionics, deceit, etc. So, we were all at each other like wolves. All of the time. And, we were supposedly Christian. You can well imagine how much of a mess it was and how confusing it was.
Being such a highly sensitive person, my childhood was, basically, pure torture. I simply couldn’t handle the dysfunction around me, nor could I take what I concluded (at around age 10) was the utter “two-faced-ness” of the season. For example, on December 24th, like every other day of the year, my older brothers would be smacking me around and basically acting like idiots, and then magically, on December 25th, they would be all-smiles and handing me gifts. Wha??! The same went for my various parents. One day, they would be fighting and screaming like banshees and then POOF! Christmas Day would roll around and everyone suddenly straightened up.
I honestly grew to despise the season and so, when I left home at 16 1/2 years of age, I was incredibly relieved to put family and Christmas behind me, forever. I went to live with a friend’s parents for a while and while they celebrated Christmas, they respected my disdain of it and didn’t shove their holiday down anyone’s throat. They left me alone to glower and grit my teeth for the month of December.
Back then, I was the Christmas Curmudgeon. I was the know-it-all philosopher who could quote large passages from Friedrich Nietzsche‘s atheistic works and took every opportunity to laud it over any Christmas revelers with whom I interacted. I was just angry, and well, bigger and smarter than any person in the room, so who was going to argue with me? I seethed. I raged. I hated. In my mind, the season of Christmas was nothing more than a commercialized, deceitful, ridiculous holiday of pure hypocrisy and rubbish. But, then, I decided to change.
When I began working on myself emotionally (with the aid of lots of therapy plus near-constant, feverish writing in my journals), and when I began dealing with my unhappiness instead of blaming others for the quality of my life, I realized something: my perceptions and feelings, while certainly understandable, were only harming me. At Christmastime, I always felt like cold crap on a sidewalk, and it was a CHOICE. I didn’t have to despise Christmas and I didn’t have to let my family’s hypocrisy and sickness envelope me or pour out of me. I didn’t have to infect my relationships with misplaced emotions. I could choose otherwise.
As I worked to heal much of the emotional damage from my early years, I began to feel better about almost everything. My life and circumstances slowly improved and I started enjoying the lights, the trees, the cold weather, and the Christmas CDs (that I had secretly been collecting) and about which I used to grouse and complain. Then, after meeting my husband, who adored Christmas and creating new memories with him, I began to love the season.
So, yes, I love Christmas. I do. All of it. The songs, the spirit, the food, the energy, and heck, even the materialism. It’s all part of the gig and it’s all good. I’m proud of myself for taking ownership of my emotions, pushing past my discomfort to seek healing, and choosing to appreciate instead of holding fast to how I was damaged. I’m proud that I didn’t continue allowing my dysfunctional, painful childhood to keep me from enjoying the magic and majesty of Christmas.
May this season, regardless of your beliefs, bring you deeper peace, love, and joy, my friends. I celebrate with each of you. And, know that in the new year, we’ll grow to love our bodies even more and that we’ll do it together. Big, warm hugs to you, my friends! And, Merry Christmas!