I am very thankful for all who have read my blog, have become friends – regardless of how often we make contact – I know I have your support, and I hope you know you have mine!
Many new readers have stopped by this year, and some of you have subscribed, and I appreciate that so much.
Depression sometimes absorbs so much time, so I don’t respond as often as I read your, and others’, blogs, but I appreciate the wealth of viewpoints and creativity here on WordPress, and other sites as well.
I have learned so much from so many bloggers, and I appreciate the different perspectives and topics you bring.
You never know how much a random thought, a poem, a fictional work, personal challenge posts, songs, other art, and especially humor, have helped me throughout the year, and will continue to.
Thank you all so much! Your interest means a great deal to me. Your comments are precious, and I hope you all find what you need and hope for in 2016!
It’s snow-sleeting as I write this. Winter has come to Western MA at last, but I take comfort in how long it took for the low temperatures and bad weather to get here.
My family had our Christmas gathering this past Sunday and it was an ‘off’ year. I have laryngitis so that curtailed the Christmas carols I had hoped to sing, but more than that, there wasn’t a sense of togetherness or connection. It basically sucked.
I’ve tried so long to recapture the friendship I had with my next oldest sister, but she’s as determined to keep her distance.
I’m exuberant by nature, and by design – it’s my personal lit candle in my darkness – and it has served me well socially. It’s not fake, I actually feel excited to be with family and friends in conviviality and joy.
I understand that sometimes life sucks, and sucks hard. I get that. I live that more often than I’d like – which is why I cherish the time spent with others in good cheer – especially those who know me best, who understand where I came from, and can benefit from kindness and love.
Maybe I can let others take me out of myself, and my sister isn’t good at that, or she feels like it’s pretending, but I’ve grown tired of trying to be friends.
As a friend’s bumper sticker reads: “Life’s too short to drink bad wine.”
Nat King Cole croons The Christmas Song, and I remember that it’s my sister-in-law’s favorite holiday song. Many years ago we went caroling: she, my brother (her husband), my next oldest sister, and our younger brother, as well as some family friends, and I remember our fun, our exuberance, and just us as young adults.
Eventually, our lives expanded out like the big bang – each of us in our various orbits, claiming our bit of space, our independence from one another.
What role our family trauma played, I’m unsure, but untreated trauma does not resolve of its own. It can be medicated, white-knuckled, tossed outward, or left festering inside, but it has to be handled.
There are healthy ways of dealing with trauma and not so healthy ways. So much creativity has been born from pain, and those who’ve had that outlet are sometimes healed, but not always.
I doubt my brother would want me to feel sad for him. It’s not pity he needs, and it’s not pity I’m giving. I lived with my parents too. I was there too. I was affected too.
He doesn’t want advice from his littlest sister, even though I had to deal with my trauma or die – even though I sought professional help, and practiced the tools I was given – even though I trained to help other trauma survivors – even though sometimes it’s still next to unbearable remaining alive.
The best way out is through, for me. Just let the feelings be, but visit the skills I’ve learned before I’m in crisis. I forget that. I think I’m healed – that I’m all done feeling pain – or that I’ll always cope well from now on.
Pride kicks in too – the belief that I’m knowledgeable, and therefore untouchable. The other side is despair. Why remain alive if I keep going through this, or if I can’t make life better?
I can hold my brother in my heart – as well as my whole family – and I re-affirm that he is whole and complete. He is competent, capable, and has enough humility to seek what he needs. He knows I care, he knows I’m available, and he knows I understand as perhaps few others can.
He’s made it through, all these years later, and I remember that what’s not dealt with keeps manifesting itself until it’s faced – whenever, or however, that trauma shows up.
I’ve re-connected with most of my siblings after raising my son and having my space again. My S.O. has been an understanding, caring, and deeply loving partner, and I know how rare that is, and I still want to run away now and then. My old nemeses, fear, self-hate, and depression, muscle their way in, but if I’m fortified enough, they’re easier to battle.
This time of year is filled with the ghosts of trauma past, their presence appearing unconsciously, making it seem as though now is the problem, or that I have made no emotional progress.
I cannot save my brother, or anyone who doesn’t want to be saved, but I continue to love and care anyway. The violence witnessed, and perpetrated on us, got into our psyches, but it was also programmed into our DNA before we were born, from the violence done to our parents, and on down our line, but we can use our will, we can learn self-love, and we can practice self-care, changing not only ourselves, but the DNA we pass on to our children, and that they will pass on to theirs.
Christmas is about hope in terrible circumstances. Whether it’s just a story, or has some historical truth, the message, to me, is perseverance, self-love, and love, and hope, for humanity.
Love, kindness, and care are what matters, and the carols my family and friends used to sing were, and still are, a gift of light in a dark season – for ourselves as well as others.
I wish all whatever you need, and for more joy, comfort, peace, and love – whatever you celebrate, or not!