I'm really disliking this time of year.

Maybe it's just a down day today, but waking up to Christmas songs on the radio made me feel really sad.

There are a multitude of reasons for it. One is the slight bitterness of not actually celebrating Christmas, and I happen to fall into one of the religions that gets missed out whenever people try to give an all-inclusive message of holiday cheer. Not in the, "Happy holidays no matter what you celebrate," kind of way; that actually does include me, but virtue of my celebrating something. But the well-wishes of people trying to go into specifics. "Merry Christmas, happy Hannukah, joyous Kwanzaa, and if you're an atheist, just have a great day!" This was a message sent by the owner of the company I work for, trying his best to include the biggies. Even down to wishing atheists a good time, which I have no problem with. But I couldn't deny a little twinge in my heart when I noticed that once again, nobody notices Yule.

In spite of at least Wicca being a recognized religion where I live, I guess it's still not mainstream enough for most people to give a crap about those who celebrate it.

And I know that sounds bitter and mean, but dammit, it's what I feel. I can't just handwave it by telling myself, "Oh, what they really mean is [thing]." Like I said, the happy holidays messages include me. The specific hliday messages, 9 times out of 10, specifically do not. And if someone was only mentioning one, I could mentally rearrange it and hear what I wanted to hear. But when someone mentions multiples by name... I know it's not a deliberate exclusion. I know they're not actively wishing ill will on me and mine. But it feels like being that lonely kid on the playground who isn't ignored so much as nobody even notices they're there to start with.

Even Yule is getting a bit iffy for me to feel happy about, and I know exactly why that is. One of the first Yules I celebrated, really celebrated was great. It was a rough year, I was poor, had no job and felt crappy. And then I had friends around, and I was reminded that even in the dark times there was light, and even when I didn't have much money and at the hardest times of year, I still had enough for a feast. It was incredibly uplifting.

Then one year... One of the guests was less than respectful. He'd been given the task of prcuring our Yule log, which was an ice cream log cake from the local Dairy Queen. It was a tradition we'd all started. We'd stick candles in the cake and burn the Yule log before having a delicious ice cream dessert.

This guest didn't bother. Not "couldn't afford it," which I could have understood and sympathized with. Just didn't feel like making the trip to the store and picking up the cake, and so just brought a cheap regular log cake instead. Didn't inform us or anything. Just showed up with it, and expected everyone to be cool with it.

We also had a tradition of each of us getting one gift for the other. Just one thing, and it didn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. Just something with thought. And this guest got a gift from each of us. The gift they brought? A "household" gift of a pair of oven mitts. That we didn't really need. And that we've never really used. That might have been an okay gift for one of us, sure, but as a single gift for the both of us? What, we each get to use one glove?

It seemed so thoughtless, the whole thing, and I tried to keep a bright face on and not show how much it got to me, to try to recapture the feeling of the awesome Yule and be appreciative for what I had. But when I saw those mitts, and when we moved on to the dessert, I just felt low. The rest of us, we tried so hard to get things set up well, to make the food and buy presents and provide a place to celebrate, and this one person just really didn't seem to give a crap.

So even now, years later, I still kind of feel that no matter what I do, no matter how much work I put into Yule, it's going to end up being a disappointment somehow.

But getting back to why Christmas depresses me... I'm alone. I don't say that to garner sympathy. Oh poor me, I'm so alone and nobody loves me. No, people love me. But those people aren't here. My mother's back in England, and even when she was here there was no guarantee she'd actually remember to spend the day with me. (I'm still not over the time she agreed to spend Christmas with me, one year I actually had it off work, and then got a new boyfriend and agreed to spend Christmas with him instead, actually forgetting about what she'd promised me.) My father's still doing long-haul trucking and isn't even based out of this city anymore, so he can't be here. Friends? Spending the day with their own families.

I signed up to work extra hours at work this Christmas. Why? Because even if I don't celebrate it as a religious holiday, Christmas alone still feels lonely, hollow, too quiet. Like whatever sound you make seems too loud and fake because you're just trying to cover up the fact that you're not where you want to be and hearing sounds you want to hear. Nobody's online. You basically just look at the clock and count down the minutes for the day to be over and then you can go to bed and look forward to waking up and hearing stories from everyone else about how awesome their Christmas was.

I'd rather work. At least at work I'd be doing something.

I don't like feeling this way.

I used to say that to me, Christmas was a day like any other, because it wasn't something I celebrated. Even when I was saying that, I felt the same way. Plus guilt because I thought I should be able to force myself to actually not care about being lonely on a day when so many other people are surrounded by loved ones, and I never could. Now I may sound like a bitter old fart, but at least I'm honest about it.

I've got 2 days off before Yule, plus Yule itself. I want to work hard at making this Yule an awesome one, so awesome that it'll shine over Christmas. I may not be able to tell stories like everyone else, but I want to be able to hold something that good in my heart and mind and remind myself that even if I don't have what everyone else has, I've got something just as good, and I'll be damned if I'll let it go.

Ah, there's that fire that was missing this morning.

September 2015

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