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Merry Anxiety Christmas. Also, I love you.

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

Let’s talk about “The Holidays.” Normally I have a lot of energy, like a lot, a lot; I am not generally an anxiety filled human. Everything about “The Holidays” triggers me into a anxious paralyzed mess and I would super-rather just skip the whole thing. I live in Minnesota, it is so cold and silllllly dark here, if you eat a late lunch you can watch the sunset from your office window. This environment partnered with holiday muchness is an Autumn recipe for disaster. To me the holidays are much like daylight savings; we all know it is some bullshit tradition that we just keep doing until someone decides it’s totally pointless and gives us collective permission to stop.

When I think about the holidays I think about money, or more like I think about how everyone is feeling that does not have enough of it. I think about over-consumption of all the things: material items, substances, food. I think about the amount of waste: wrapping paper, Christmas trees, packaging. I think about the emotional heaviness of family: the family you see regularly, the family you choose not to see and the family that you will never see again no matter hard you wish you could. It’s like in the middle of the literal and physical darkness we do a countrywide mandate to make it even more dismal and darker by being forced to live out holiday situations that provoke our hurts and poke our wounds.

Geesh. It’s the worst time of year. And Christmas music is the actual love child of nostalgic melancholy and the yuletide life unattainable; please please make it stop! And all the damn decoration put up and take down while living in a house of freaking pine needles everywhere, who has time for that. And the holiday overachievers...I see you over there with your 8 million homemade Christmas cookies, your all shopped-locally gifts, your perfectly decorated house and not only are you done Christmas shopping, but you have everything wrapped WITH cute ribbon, curated wrapping paper colors, and tags with the receiver's name is calligraphy. And I know, I know, you donated half your Christmas to the whatever charitable organization. Awesome. Good for you.

And then this happened. I told the above Christmas narrative to a friend and being the only kind of friend I have, the snarky variety, she said tongue in cheek, “But Autumn, you know that Jesus is the reason for the season.” I snort laughed. That’s right, I thought, all the holiday shit is suppose to be about the son of God. Damn, we really strayed far from the start line.

Here is the thing, I do not identify as a Christian because I believe there are many paths up the mountain and that “salvation” is not found only in/thru the Christ. However, I do need to point out that Jesus was the bomb! In fact, I adore Jesus a lot and believe he actually existed and he had divinely amazing and relevant things to say. One of the most important things he said is in every religion, EVERY ONE; The Golden Rule. If only you could do unto others as you would have them do unto you... then we would, in fact, be in heaven.

My Christmas emotional baggage is real, obviously, and my bah humbug feelings about the whole season are pitiable, but I am open to considering the magic that everyone propagates. I think the whole thing is about love? The kind that Jesus spoke about? The humans that gush about the holidays with sparkles in their eyes seem to nestle into the concept of the season of love, when hearts are softer, and time and connections are invested in those you treasure. I can try to subscribe to that, I guess. Apparently those that truly get the season understand the Christmas is truly in the heart and who is around the tree matters more than what is under it.

As I was reflecting on writing this, there were two quotes that really stung. The first is this one by Eric Severied, “Christmas is a necessity. There has to be one at least one day a year to remind us that we are here for someone else besides ourselves.” Damn! It was in that moment I realized my selfishness in turning off my potential holiday-heart-light for my kids, for my family - that's not love. I made it all about my feelings of loneliness, brokenness and then just looked for ways to sabotage the heck out of the whole dang holiday to justify my perception. That’s sad for me and everyone around me. And is the opposite of the point of the whole dang holiday. And this quote, “Christmas joy, is inner joy, of light and peace.” Damn {again!}. Inner Christmas joy? Light and peace this time of year? I have sooooooo much emotional work to do; I'll get to work on it. I am not sure how you are feeling about the holidays over there where you are, but cheers to a Merry Anxiety Christmas! Also, I love you. Thanks for journeying with me.


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