‘Alone and ‘Xmas’ or ‘Winter Holiday’ are the same words words for me. That is true for a lot of people. We had just moved to the UK and knew no one, and bought a pot and made mexican chili as we watched the streets empty, as people moved indoors, drove and saw others, and did whatever people do on Xmas. Day after day of silent streets. Each year we thought it would get better, until I gave up and drove around picking up hitchhikers in the snow on the day the taxi’s wouldn’t run.
We thought when we moved back to Canada, things would be different. Being in the same city with dozens of family who don’t invite you, or a spousal work event you are invited to reminds you only that this isn’t your holiday.
I think I am not the only one who feels this way. Yes, it is the time of Japanese oranges. It is the time of snow and winter, and night and solitude and isolation. It is a time when I get dressed up as a form of social resistance. But it is still cold.
So here it is for an eve and a night and a day and an eve and the computer and everyone seems away. They have gone to friends, gone to relatives, gone to vacations. Gone.
That just is what is.
People get depressed when they sit, or lie, during those hours and days leading up to this day knowing there are gatherings they don’t attend, parties uninvited to, family uncaring, or family dreaded. There are people for whom these dark days of the year are a battle when depression and apathy,when sometimes I lean my head against a window and feel the cold, wondering if the window were to shatter and your jugular was severed, would that be good or bad?
Xmas is the time people come back to college and find bodies who no one missed for ten days. It happened just down the road from me.
That just is what it is.
I fight my demons, looking at my future, wanting to write about my future, about ‘a future’ which I can try to have with Cheryl and Linda but that is for tomorrow. For those who come today, it is too much time, too much time alone. Too much computer time to stop those thoughts. Too much. See, if joy is center stage, then the broken, the lonely, the left aside should be up there too, even if in the corners.
Sometimes meeting relatives is worse than being excluded. Inane smiles the same for everyone, statements without meaning, eyes without caring: a mask. And everywhere people mouthed empty words, until I was empty. Xmas asks for self reflection, honesty, openness, so often the strongest mask of all goes up, a mask slightly more complex than the everyday mask. So that in the end, how could love, or any emotion but isolation occur?So yes, totally shut anyone from seeing or reaching you, is that success? 'One more round of drinks please.'
Email me, ask for a virtual postcard, talk about tea and what kind you like, talk about what manga you read, what you don’t, take a chance. Fighting is about taking risks, and I fight, this year like every other, the social and almost physical force that brands me: “See Elizabeth, this is a holiday for humans, not for you.” And “That is why you are alone, because no one cares.” I know people care, I hope those who read here know that I care. But damn, it sure is a hard force to fight against, isn’t it, the holiday blues.
So I’ve come for you, you were lost, and now we are found. You and I are found. Maybe still feeling alone, but two together feeling alone. Not as bad.
I want to be with friends, even if it is silently, even if it is in a world which does not value us so much. It is okay to be silent, it is okay to be a bit down. Tomorrow, body willing, I will write about that, once this day has passed. Once we have sailed away together through it, we can plan together how to meet, face to face (figure out the name of the boat). But no, this does not mean I am signing your marriage application to get into the country (I get some odd spam).
I hope for those who have family and joy and all the rest that you get the joy many do get from this time. I hope that for those like me, who after years of trying, know it is a day to be endured, or one in which your siblings try to make you 14 again, and it all seems like a film on repeat, then come away with us for a while.
13 hours ago