Today was one of those days filled with families with challenging emotional problems. I listened and asked questions and tried to help them but I had a sense that mastery was out of my grasp today. Although I enjoy the challenges that emotional issues and family issues present, I think that these issues come out of the woodwork at the holidays and can be particularly stressful for everyone.
I suspect the soon-to-be close quarters with a gaggle of relatives is part of the stress for some who have less than honest relationships with their families but I also think that the holiday season itself focuses us all on what we are ‘supposed’ to be: happy and normal. And you know what? None of us is either of those things all of the time. In fact, sometimes the contrast between the holiday lights and joyous songs and the reality of our lives is stark.
I know it is a cliche but as much as I enjoy the fun of cooking special treats and getting the ‘perfect’ gift for someone, I am usually a bit melancholy this time of year. This year is different. Although not exactly happy, I feel more alive and real. I am not feeling as out of sync with the world or perhaps I should say I am more in sync with myself and ok about it. I know that I love my kids and that I love my work and if I am not dancing a jig at Christmastime, that’s ok.
Tonight the kids and I got the teachers gifts assembled. Every year we make candy to give to our favorite teachers and this year we made nut brittle and peppermint white chocolate bark. Delicious and beautiful when assembled. I was glad to have the task done ahead of time for once and that alone gave me a little lift.
The other thing that is giving me a little lift is writing. I was ‘quiet’ for a long time there as I figured out a bunch of stuff in my life that has allowed me to be real again. I cannot write when I am not in sync with myself, when I feel I am faking it or forcing myself to be someone or something I am not and for the last year or so I have been trying hard to figure out who I am in different parts of my life now I have found a comfortable place to be myself again and lo and behold I can write. Easily. Without a sense of it being a chore or duty. With honesty again. Lucky for me I had been able to write all year for the Detroit News so I could fool myself into thinking that I was still a ‘writer’ when really all I was doing was reporting. Nothing personal or risky. Nothing real. Now that I feel at peace with who I am and how I am living my life, personal writing is back.
Being at peace and in sync with who you are and daring to show that real you to the world (and your family!), now THAT is my definition of a Merry Christmas!