I don’t know if I can do this.
Walking down the wet street in the dark, stumbling with my latte on the way to work, my one payday treat, it suddenly starts to snow, on Christmas Eve, the slow fluttery pieces from the sky landing gently on my face. I can’t stop it. I start crying, right there, in the middle of the sidewalk at 7:14am.
I stop it before it can really start, before the heaving I feel can bubble past my outdoor defences, the walls I’m rapidly building up against everyone for safety. I want to collapse and sob right there, surrounded by all the trappings Christmas Eve should give-the sparkling lights, the softly falling snow, people and packages moving swiftly past me. I envision this in my mind, lying in the wet, my ankles bent under me as the city wakes and wanders by me.
Instead, I let a tear, one tear only slouch down my cheek before I wipe it off. I owe myself that much.
I’m very angry today.
I love Christmas. It was my mother’s favorite holiday, closely followed by Halloween, and her love for it, for the sparkle and the glitter, transferred somehow to me. Not that I’ve ever had Christmas as I imagine I should, made lame by grief or people who can’t be bothered to feel joy. Being joyful alone is almost worse than being joyless really.
I can’t even find the joy this year. I find myself staring, hostile at Christmas displays, unwilling to locate Frosty the Snowman on TV or even take the girls for a walk to look at the lights. I want to bury my head in the sand and not see any of it, removing it only when January 2 or so comes and I can wake up nursing a hangover and dreaming of next Christmas when certainly, it must be better.
And I’m pissed. I’m fucking pissed that life, that someone leaving me, telling me I’m no longer enough or changed or whatever the fucking reason is, I’m angry that my Christmas has been buried underneath all of this shit and I can’t even raise my head enough to see through it. That I feel worthless enough to not care.
I want to care. I want to breathe in the beauty that this season usually affords, the strength it gives me in touching the beauty that is people being good and kind. I want to not cry when a customer is joyful and wishes me health and happiness, a woman I’ll never meet, emphatically telling me she wishes me only the best for the new year, meaning it. I want it to matter.
But it doesn’t. There’s an empty hole where this season should be for me this year, stripped bare much as the rest of the facade of my life has been. I feel empty and hollow. Even wrapping presents, something I normally adore, was a chore that made me incredibly sad. All these things I’ll need to be for my children alone now, really alone. All these things no one will do for me.
All this alone, the finality of it. It’s bad enough being alone in a relationship. It’s even worse being alone outside of it, and facing a life with kids, one where odds are, no one else will want to join. The idea of Christmas forever being, from here on out, something only I can build up and make lovely.
Why can no one ever do this for me? Why am I so unworthy? Why do I always have to make it for everyone else?
The hurts of a lifetime, magnified by the empty boxes and heart under my tree.
I’ll walk home later, in the softly falling snow, and cry again. Stunned by beauty, saddened by a life that kicks me just enough that everytime I get back up I wonder, really, is it worth it this time? Everytime I think I have it right, bam. Down again.
I’ll cry because I will get back up. Because I will hold my head up and believe I’m worth more than being treated like a mistake someone made. Because I’m the only woman in my daughter’s lives. Because I’m the only one willing to give them the Christmas they deserve, the joy and magic.
But I’ll cry because it’s lost to me, and I want it back.