Tag Archives: grateful

Holidays.

Things change as you get older. For me, the holidays used to be filled with… magic. A lightness, an excitement – enthusiasm. There were stories of baby Jesus and Santa, whispers of presents, and tours through neighborhoods of brightly lit houses. For days and weeks there was a wonderful anticipation and, from that perspective, everyone felt it and longed for what was coming. All of it culminated in a day or two of sheer bliss, wrapping paper strewn everywhere, time to play with cousins, treats always at hand, and ending the day exhausted but falling asleep with a smile on my face.

I’m incredibly grateful for that experience. I know that’s not how everyone grew up. I  wish it was because everyone deserves to share in that goodness.

It’s different now. There isn’t really a ‘holiday season’ anymore. I’m sure others would disagree but that’s how it feels to me. The only thing prior to Christmas is trying to figure out what to buy for others (and then actually remember and find the time to buy the gifts). Then I leave home to return to a place I used to call home. Then that day or two that used to be bliss is still filled with family, but it’s not the same.  The love is still very much real and treats are still always at hand, but I tire quickly of being surrounded by people and dread the drive back. Now, I can see the cynicism on people’s faces and feel the underlying tension. The cousin I used to look up to now actually doesn’t like me, so we avoid each other. Now, instead of playing with toys, we sit and chat or play a game of cards, trying to ignore the questions about if I’m with anyone yet or not. Now, some cousins aren’t even there to celebrate because they live far away or are with their partner’s families.

It’s not that the holidays are bad now. Like I said, the love is still there, which is all that matters. I guess the point is that… the love isn’t perfect. Most of it is well intended of course, but it’s no where near perfect. And the day isn’t perfect. And the weather is never perfect. The presents aren’t perfect. The meals aren’t perfect (though the desserts usually are, I’ll be honest). And the people. Yes, the people definitely aren’t perfect.

What’s fascinating to me is the concept of family. You’re not supposed to get annoyed by them. When you only see your aunt a couple times a year, you’re not supposed to get tired of her. When you have this amazing, huge group of people who love you endlessly, you’re not supposed to miss the quiet of your one person apartment. And yet, so many of us feel all the things I don’t think we’re supposed to feel during the holidays. I mean, no one wants to feel anxiety or depression hitting them square in the chest during the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ But we do. And going back to the place we grew up to visit all of our cousins and uncles and grandparents and aunts is more difficult than we ever knew it would be when we were kids.

The magic and the children who felt it during the holidays is gone. And you know? I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s just a grown up thing. I can accept that.

It’s not that the holidays are bad now. Like I said, the love is still there. And that is all that matters.

-Melissa

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Positive.

Occasionally, I do my part in scrolling through Pinterest. And, by ‘occasionally,’ I clearly mean a lot. Probably too much. My favorite category is quotes. I like words. I adore the fact that only 26 letters can make so many words that can be arranged in an infinite number of ways and you can make them say whatever you want.

It’s funny how, even with all the possibilities, we can often find ourselves at a loss. But that’s beside the point.

The point is, in a lot of the quotes lately there seems to be this theme of ‘if you’re positive, life will be positive.’ Yeah, I know. Apparently all you have to do is think happy thoughts and then you’ll be happy.

Wish someone would have told me sooner!

The problem is that this only works for a little while. I mean, maybe for you it works all the time. But for the rest of us… It seems like a bit of wishful thinking with a lot left to be desired. When my mind gets on a train of negative thought, it is almost impossible to derail. The pressure to think positively either pisses me off or weighs me with a guilt I can’t readily escape from. Even when I can get myself to be a bit more positive, it almost just upsets me more because I feel fake.

And what about those that deal with severe depression? Do you really think that telling them to have more happy thoughts will make them happy? There’s no way!

Sure, thinking more positively can have a positive effect on us but to say that it will change our life is just a lie. I’m all for embracing true joy and being grateful for all you have but I also have to take everything else I to account. We were given the ability to have emotion. Being happy all the time can often be a masking of all of the emotion that we have deemed unpleasant.

I know I’m ranting, and for that, I apologize. I just… If I had depression and I kept seeing posts about how if I wanted to be happy, I would just do it, I think I would just feel worse.

And I just don’t want anyone to feel worse.

-Melissa

Sweet.

I have been having a lot of problems with my feet lately. We’re not going to get into it right now, but basically standing and walking have become extremely difficult at times and it’s rather unfortunate.

The class it is most annoying in is choir because we are expected to stand most, if not all, of the time, and my choir director is a real stickler. Despite that, I think they’ve realized I really can’t stand, especially after I came with a doctors note because I couldn’t walk to class.

The other day, we were recording and, when we record, we really don’t sit the entire time. There aren’t even chairs for us to do so. As I limped into the room, I worried and wondered over what I was going to do. I could stand the entire time but that meant I would, without a doubt, be in an extreme amount of pain later. I didn’t know what to do.

When I found my spot in the midst of everyone, the boy beside me had gotten a chair for me. No one had told him to. He had seen me come in and had gotten a chair.

The next day I came into choir, everyone was doing back rubs as we always do at the beginning of a rehearsal. Not able to stand and join in the line, I found my seat. The same boy who had gotten me a chair saw as I sat down and immediately broke from the line and came to sit behind me and massage my shoulders.

Tears welled in my eyes as I felt his presence behind me. I cannot express what it means to me that he showed me such kindness when there was no need.

That’s the thing: there was no need for him to do these things because I am fully capable of taking care of myself. I am extremely independent and I don’t need anyone to care for me. I can make it just fine on my own. I’m actually kind of good at it.

But he never asked if he could care for me. He just…did it.

You see, most of the time, I don’t let people care for me. Even when they try or they want to, I push them away. Maybe not in an obvious way or in a mean way, I just take care of myself and I don’t show that I need to be taken care of. Because I don’t.

But do I?

If I don’t need to be cared for, why do I tear up every time he goes out of his way to care for me in the sweet, simple ways he does?

I don’t know. I don’t know how to reconcile the fact that I don’t need people and yet I do. I don’t need to be cared for and yet I long for it, and yet I appreciate it more than I could possibly say. I just don’t know.

I do know I adore those that are sweet to me and I am incredibly grateful to them.

-Melissa