When the Holidays are a Cluster Fuck of Feels

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What if, instead of Joy.Joy.Joy… Christmas is a giant cluster fuck of emotions and (mostly) unmet expectations?

And it feels like everyone on Facebook is posting pictures of their trees and their kids with smiling, shining faces and you feel like a complete fucking freak for all these conflicting emotions?…

What then?

Why are they all so goddamn happy when you’re fighting back tears?

…They might be lying.

…They might be confused and overwrought with feels too.

…They might actually really be that happy and blissed out about the Holidays.

None of it matters.

They’re having whatever Holidays they’re having. whatever.


I’m a cluster fuck of emotions and (mostly) unmet expectations.

The (mostly) unmet expectations aren’t all ones that really I want met anyway. Things like the building tension that exists in a home ruled by domestic violence? I don’t miss that weight on me at all. fuck that shit. fuck being afraid to be joyful. fuck being aware that at some point the day will go to shit because they’ll lose their shit and blame everyone else for it and then BAM! your kids are sad and confused and you have (again) failed to protect them from the storm. yeah, fuck that shit.

But… My body is used to it and I find myself tensing more and more as the day goes on in preparation for outbursts, attacks and battles that won’t happen. I fought like hell to find the strength to get out of that marriage. I’m still fighting like hell to heal from a childhood turned into adulthood filled with fumes so toxic they choked the health out of my once strong body.

More (mostly) unmet expectations are my own bullshit tonight. This year, I was so focused on checking in with everyone else about what they need for the Holidays that I (conveniently?) forgot to check in with myself. I needed tonight (Christmas Eve) to be about my wee small family: my daughter M and my partner D. They had other plans.

Because, for them, Christmas is tomorrow and they didn’t know tonight was part of Christmas for me is snuggling in tight and cozy on Christmas Eve. So one is introverting as needs be before the socializing tomorrow and one is wrapping gifts at the last minute as is the custom in their life.

None of this is their faults. Or mine really.

We’re all just here in this house loving each other as best as we (currently) know how.

Now, hours and maybe days too late,  I see that Christmas Eve feels more important to me than I was aware. Next year, hopefully – with conscious and intentional focus, I’ll be more equipped to honor that. How?

Who knows right now… but I’m thinking I’d have been better off heading to a church service, sitting in the back and having a good, quiet cry. OR prepping them that I need up-front family time and negotiating how best to accommodate all of our needs in this space. But tonight?

Tonight we’re doing the best we can to love and honor ourselves and each other.

No one is blaming anyone else – this is good and loving.

No one is diminishing their needs – this, too, is good and loving.

No one is denying this time of year is completed and hard – this, most of all, is good and loving.

Next year?

I hope I’m more connected with myself about my needs and more conscious about meeting them – while honoring theirs as well.

I hope that next year family who are estranged are able to be reconnected and recommitted – because the hole in my life where they once were feels particularly hollow tonight, our 2nd Christmas apart.

I hope, most of all, that next year we are all more present, aware and connected to our blessings, wounds, and hopes for the future while acknowledging that, sometimes, Christmas is really just a giant cluster fuck.


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