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Sunday, December 4, 2011

'Tis the Season (for Head Colds, Hurt Feelings, and Hurdles)

I refer to the holiday season as a mine field--I am not opposed to the hustle and bustle and festivities, I have just learned that for most of us, it is a time fraught with triggers, emotions, psychology, and history.  Nothing is ever as it seems.  A trip to the grocery store can result in being triggered by an end aisle display of peppermint bark that ends in long-forgotten memories of Christmas past and a long-dead aunt.  Many of us are not at our most healthy, grounded and focused at this time of year and as we trip through the mine field of December...stuff happens.

My already over-developed sense of humanitarianism goes on hyper drive this time of year.  Things like football games and expensive vacations seem glaringly obscene and packed with ignorant privilege while we walk past tags full of needy individuals' names at the shopping malls.  The whole idea that people only have basic needs in December sends me into gales of aggravated ranting. Balancing human generosity with the equally human tendencies toward selfishness, greed and avarice is a hurdle I struggle with every year. 

I find that we are frail and fragile in spirit this time of year, our feelings are easily hurt as we strive to bolster ourselves for the onslaught of memories, reminders, disappointments, fears, and all-to-real relationships.  Who do we send Christmas cards to?  Do we even send Christmas cards?  Are feelings still hurt over that relative who won't be our Facebook friend or the one who refused to acknowledge a wedding or baby gift?  We are forced to interact (and often give gifts) to those who are on the completely opposite side of the political spectrum or whose religious beliefs may be in direct opposition to our own.  While it may seem like the Holiday season is about good will, it is often about compromise, insecurity and overlooking differences--all part of the human experience too.

And yet, despite ill health (this is the season of cold & flu), tender spirit and the attack of triggers in the form of stuff, smells, and people--we all march on.  Like an army of nutcrackers, stoic and wooden, we push ourselves through the season.  We find delight in the little things, take refuge with the chosen family and friends who aren't so hard on our sense of self, search for glee and merriment and kindness in the nooks and crannies of the coldest months.  We do our best.  With varying degrees of success, we maneuver through the mine field of the holidays.

1 comment:

  1. I get so wrapped up in my own little world that I am guilty of some of these things! I worry about whether my gingerbread men are too soggy rather than trying to navigate the political minefield of my family, or thinking about the people on the streets that would be glad for a family home (politics or not)... maybe this year I'm going to contact some of the family members I've lost touch with and make sure I'm not the person that forgets about the neediest people at Christmas.