“There are many things I love about christmas and yet, I never understood why I could ALSO feel so alone at times on Christmas Day. It didn’t make sense, but it would happen to me, year after year.
I have a loving, fun family and 7 brilliant nieces and nephews, so we are a large group, and there is usually entertainment or laughter happening somewhere. But Christmas Day loneliness and a sense of inner isolation used to haunt me, every year. I could be fine and enjoying myself for hours, then all of a sudden, bam, it would hit me.” Lee Harris (you can read the rest of the post, which opened a big discussion last year, here).
Later in life, it became muddled with the feeling of drinking alcohol in the middle of the day (now, I don’t) or even missing childhood Christmases and those who were no longer there to spend them with and yet, even with a family of my own and a different way of life to the old one that pivoted around material things or over-indulgence, the feeling persisted. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being with loved ones and the glow of love around the hearth…but…it can feel so cathartic to admit to this feeling and, as Lee found, discover you are far from the only one experiencing it. No, its not depression; I always knew that it was nothing to do with that but it was a profound sense of feeling disjointed with the Christmas culture and thus, I suppose, a little bit alienated.
For me, I have also identified it as part of being very highly sensitive and empathic to a fault, which means I pick up on all the disparate feelings of people all around me, neighbours and further afield, but also my own from all those other years, even from other lifetimes….with Christmas Day acting like a calendar anchor to pinpoint them all on the same focal point, across time. Then, as I’ve become more conscious over the years, I’ve felt the out-of-syncness of so much behaviour programing and so many ingrained habits with which I don’t resonate and so its as though the magic of the day very quickly wears off to be replaced with a sort of energetic sludge which, by Boxing Day, feels intensely disturbing to me if I allow it to (mostly, these days, in physical sense which can feel like a hang-over even through I don’t drink or over-indulge with different foods to normal). Thanks to the conversation that Lee opened, I now know that I’m not alone in experiencing this, which makes a huge differences.
It doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to tomorrow…but it does mean I go into it with my expectations set at a realistic level, I focus on the familial love (and send the wish of that feeling being readily available to all people everywhere) whilst taking care of myself even more than ever, which I recommend to anyone else who is similarly sensitive. In the last few years, it feels as though I have reclaimed Christmas on better terms; partly by approaching it as something new and as a celebration of light, love and gratitude; and by not being so ingrained in traditions and pleasing or meeting the expectations of others. By allowing it to be something spontaneous each time it happens, with no sacrosanct rules to be maintained, no “where” or particular “way” that I have to be, I have given my energy field room to breathe and to evolve, year on year, so that the occasion no longer feels like trying to squeeze into a box I have already outgrown.
It is an interesting concept Helen, I think there’s so much pressure and hype leading up to Christmas that it’s only natural that other feelings come through. I enjoy being able to take the dog for a walk through quiet streets after all the bustle of the day. Wishing you a peaceful and hopeful Christmas.
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The same wishes to you Andrea, I hope you enjoy a peaceful time over this end-of-year period. Yes, walking our dog over these few days becomes a real highlight, then coming home to get on with creative projects by the fire… and its wonderful when it all goes quiet in our road. Here’s to planting the seeds of creativity for the New Year!
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This year, I’m finding it really interesting to look beyond the cultural deconstruction of Christmas and explore what it is ,beyond the capitalism and cultural practices , that makes us yearn for Christmas . … what truth does it hold for humans’ need for magic, spirit , and transcendence? It’s within the fulfillment of that need where I want to dwell. And perhaps , that is the longing that stirs loneliness . ..
Merry Christmas to you , in the brightest of spirit , that sparkle of light in a far off star. I want you to know that you and what share in this blog have meant so much to me this past year or two, letting me know there are other wanderers in spirit on this bright earth!
And Merry Chrismas to you too Cathy, I am so grateful for your continued patronage of my writing with your dedicated reading, even when some of my posts are too long and convaluted for most! Seeing you read and respond so regularly has honestly inspired me to keep going through the leaner times when I’ve wondered why I continue to share so much so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being there…and I love comparing notes with you, I do feel like we are companions on the journey! Like you, I long to deconstruct Christmas some more…still a challenge to acheive while we are a two-generational family with different expectations (I won’t pretend today has been plain-sailing) but we hope to get there in the next few years as we snip away all the surplus branches to discover what feels like “our” core version of this far more ancient celebration of the sun’s annual pivot-point.
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I’m going to be writing a short fiction piece (on my blog) called “12 Epiphanies”–all about a young 20-something who deconstructs Christmas to find out what’s beneath it all… I’m looking forward to it! There really is something deep within this celebration that tells us a lot about humans and human needs for something more than the mundane! Looking forward to continuing to read your posts through the new year. They give me so much to ponder throughout the day.
That sounds like such a juicy project you have there! Yes, I have to say, our christmas has been “different” (in a “nothing quite fits anymore” kind of way) and I find myself longing to shake it up more deliberately so we dont have to continue with this strange pastiche of what used to be…watch this space 🙂