Unwrapping the Present
In my head a faint, yet deafening voice, haunts the halls of my Christmas memories like the Ghost of Christmas Past. This taunting voice of past suffering infiltrates my consciousness, especially during the holidays, when I feel most vulnerable.
Very rarely do the holidays (for me) resemble the quaint, feel good, cozy warmth of a Hallmark Movie. My holidays are, mostly, riddled with emotional shrapnel that allow yesterday’s disappointments to creep up, completely undetected, just like Santa’s sled. Not even my sober firewall can ward off the stealth landing of such a mysterious phenomenon. And just like that, through the chimney of my mind, in drops sadness, loss, and grief. That is when my old self prepares a hot cup-of-anxiety as it all steeps together in my consciousness. I ponder how I returned, yet again, to the dark, cold echos of Christmas Past.
As a little girl, holidays reminded me of how un-jolly, abnormal, and completely fake my family was during the most wonderful time of the year! This holiday cover-up was even worse than the fake snow-white paint on the overgrown uni-brow of the super photogenic Mall Santa. "Go ahead dear, tell Santa what you want for Christmas!" The illusion of we’re such a happy family definitely took its toll over the years.
Life was dysfunctional and had a sub-zero arctic chill similar to the temperature of the North Pole. It was painful to unwrap gifts that were purchased to say, “I am sorry for being a really crappy parent, not validating your pain, or saving you, my sweet little girl, from the horrors of childhood sexual abuse!” No amount of gift giving could replace the one thing that I valued more than life itself, to feel safe again.
Thankfully, I have been able to Unwrap the Present, which is the gift of being fully restored to sanity while actively embracing recovery. I have wonderful friends and the family I always wanted, even though it includes divorce and permanent separation from toxic family members. During the holiday season though, I still have days when it is all a bit too much to take in. It feels so liberating to have the choice to greet, yet another season of joy, with a winter wonderland attitude or declare "Bah Humbug!" I no longer have to be fake, dishonest with my feelings, or pretend to be happy unless I honestly feel the Spirit of Christmas.
What I find to be the biggest gift of the Present, is how my precious little girls will carry nothing but visions of Sugar Plums and Dancing Elves, like Will Farrell, into their holiday traditions and will leave most of the misery to Scrooge.
"These are the shadows of things that have been. They are what they are, but your love and willingness changes everything in the end." ~The Voice in Rebecca's Head Today (Dickens Re-written by me)