T’is the season, and in typical fashion, it’s a bit of a fucking struggle.
I’m generally one who doesn’t at all mind the impending festivities, the forced family gatherings, and the overspending. I do rather love gifts, the giving and the receiving, and have learnt to accept the ‘quirks’ of my in-laws and their own management of Christmas.
Moreso when we have all hubby’s family around; it tends to run pretty smoothly when it’s just the usuals.
I use the season as an excuse to express my thanks to those I want to thank; via the giving of gifts. I am a pathological Gift Giver (and receiver, let’s be honest :)) and understand it can be quite overwhelming for some when I give a gift to say thanks. Christmas is the perfect cover for me. I love it.
I am one of those people that walks around shopping centres at this time of year with a big smile on my face, and being polite to anyone and everyone. Basically, I am my normal self, just at this time of year, what with all the frazzledness and stress, it just more disproportionate. I am no longer considered ‘nice’ and have moved into the realm of ‘freaky sociopath, because who the fuck is so happy and polite when shopping at this time of year? Freak!’
This year, though, I’m really, really struggling to smile, much less want to go shopping.
I’m not depressed, although I am well aware this is something that comes up for many, many people at this time of year.
This bit, the second bit, is part of why I’m struggling.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been under a bit of work stress, with a complex project, the last few weeks, complete with futile and frustrating behaviours on the part of others.
I don’t know if it’s lack of sleep, if it’s overwhelm with a heap of stuff that has happened for me this year, if I’m faced with having to make decisions and just, well, I just have to do it, or just the ‘stress’ of working and raising a family and being all the things to all the people.
Maybe it’s that, this year, my circumstances are quite different from what they were this time last year; my responsibilities have changed, as have Grumpy’s. They are good changes, very much so. Just very different.
Perhaps it’s the people I have removed from my life, and those that I have since embraced, the connections I have made with support services and charitable organisations that have altered my perspective a little, and broadened my understanding of a range of issues that affect our society.
Maybe it is a great mashup of all these things.
But I’m really, really struggling this year. In what could be considered a bizarre situation, I am so much more aware of all my white middle-classness, and I’m quite frankly rather embarrassed by it. I have a loathing of self that runs deep because I cannot change the things to the degree I want to.
I know I am one person that can donate something here, or share a post there, or write a blog post elsewhere, and that these things do something, even just a teensy thing. But to make a real impact; I am greatly aware of my inability to change the things that need changing.
On one hand, I am the change I want to see in the world – I smile at this time of year, I’m polite to others when the average age of those having tantrums in public has risen from 2.7 years to around 33.5 years, I compliment at least one person every day, and give hugs when I see someone who needs it.
On the other hand, all those things amount to bugger all in the grand scheme of things.
I don’t want to purchase gifts for people, because I don’t want to buy things for people who don’t need things. I find myself at an impasse here, because it is my way of showing love, thanks, and gratitude – so I don’t know what to do.
I know, I know, there are plenty of other things I can do, but those things don’t mean much to me. They are not how I say thank you, and I get no pleasure, no fulfillment from doing these other things.
I just feel lost.
I see adults having tantrums – in stores and online (in the comments; never, ever read the comments!) because the thing the ordered for their kid is no longer available, will be arriving not this week but in another 4 weeks, or is the wrong colour, or not delivered, or was a day late and, therefore, missed the day set aside for wrapping presents … because their kid has to have this thing, because it is the gaping hole in their life that can’t be filled with the overabundance of crap that they already have.
Kids who don’t actually need anything else; they have all the things they need in life, and more, including an over-indulging parent who has public tantrums. So that’s nice.
I can’t help but think of the kids who do, literally (in the literal sense of the word) need things like shelter and food and clothes and to not be abused or raped or sold as a sex slave this Christmas.
I have a great deal of anger at hearing (or reading) how people understand this, but it’s going on in other countries, and it’s Christmas here, and can’t we just focus on the spirit of the season (whilst ignoring those who actually need, and giving to those who don’t need, and whilst we’re at it, having tantrums about not being given what they want) and pretend none of it is happening.
Being totally oblivious to the fact that whilst we hear of these abhorrent things occurring ‘overseas’, they do happen in this country. They are happening right now.
Even if it is Christmas and people want to pretend it’s not happening because they have to make glitter for the reindeer footprints.
Does it even matter where it’s happening?
Maybe I’m just pissed off and resentful that I don’t have time to make glittery reindeer footprints.
Actually, now I think about it, I don’t have the inclination either, so I’m guessing that’s not why I have my Cranky Pants on.
I’m sorry if that’s brought the spirit of the season down a little. I didn’t mean to; just this year, the Struggle is here and it’s real.
Whilst I genuinely wish everyone a very happy and merry season, filled with love and laughs, great food and even greater times, I know that this is not going to be the case for everyone.
I genuinely wish I could make it so for everyone … alas, I cannot.
I can, however, be the one person, who does the small things, and continues to be the change I want to see in the world, regardless of the season.
Despite the difficulty for me at the moment, I continue to smile as I walk through shopping centres, dance on the train on the way to work, give people compliments, and provide support to those who need it whenever I can.
For no other reason, or season, than ‘because I can’.