my non-holidays

So now that it’s 2009, the inevitable question happens… “So, did you have a good holidays?” It’s like when you’d go back to school after summer break, the time period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day always seems to be this block of suspended reality. Like the days keep rolling along, but everyone is so caught up in being with family and buying gifts and planning out the holiday party schedule that it just doesn’t seem to the normal grind.

Normally, I embrace the season and everything it brings with it. But this year, I took a break and decided not to celebrate. I just didn’t have it in me to be all social and I knew that I just didn’t have the energy to embrace the spirit of the holidays. I didn’t do Thanksgiving. I didn’t do Christmas. I didn’t buy a gift for anyone. I didn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve.

I guess the stress of the past few years finally came to a head with me. I mean, in the last three years, I’ve lost both my mom and dad to cancer and last Christmas, lost my gramma. In three years I’ve lost my three closest family members.

I’ve also had to deal with various money issues. I’m in debt farther than I’ve ever been before and it’s uncomfortable. I’m working my ass off but it barely seems to make a dent. I owe almost $10,000 on various funeral expenses and now I’ve got to come up with even more to fix the muffler and power steering pump on my car.

I’ve had some health scares this year. Even though I’ve lost nearly 60lbs since this time last year, I still have a long way to go. But the stress factor keeps having me relapse for the comfort foods. Cheeseburgers. Mashed Potatoes. You know what I’m talking about. I’ve also developed hypertension brought on by all the stress, so I try to limit my sodium, but salty stuff is another comfort food. I’ve never been a sugar person, so I don’t have issues with that. But put a bag of chips in front of me and it’s all I can do to remember to open the bag first. The doctor who treated the torn ligament in my hand told me to lower my stress levels and my blood pressure would be fine (I’m on the high end of normal). It was all I could do not to burst out laughing hysterically like a mad woman.

I’ve had to deal with several home upheavals, a cross-country move and an attempted sexual assault.

And I try to rationalize that, hey, it’s not just me. Everyone is under stress. But the reality is I’m not everyone. I’m so used to suppressing my worries and fears to make everyone else around me feel better that I feel guilty when I let the stress get to me. When I let the ball drop because I’m just too tired or depressed to deal with it today. I still have a lot of depression that I am dealing with from losing mom and gramma but when I try to bring it up, people are like “it’s been over a year since gramma died…aren’t you over it yet?” And I’m expected to be sunny, happy Michelle again. Like it’s just a light switch I need to hit or a circuit breaker that needs to be reset.

I’ve also discovered that a friend that I considered close posted some personal information I gave to them about what was happening in my life on a public message board for a site I used to write for. I tried to talk to the person about it when they came to visit but this person was having issues of their own, and as I always do, I backed off because I wanted to put their well being ahead of me wanting to clear the air.  It hurt though. Really really hurt. Even though I blog, when I tell a friend something personal, I expect it will stay between the two of us. I don’t expect to find it on a message board where everyone in the world can read it forever. Especially in the way they wrote it. And I’m confused because I always considered this person a close warm-hearted friend who has really been there for me this past year, so I don’t understand why they had to make my private information so public. But it’s definitely affected my ability to talk openly with them because I’m not sure what I can trust this person to keep to private anymore. I’ve kind of adopted the stance of if it’s something I don’t want the general public knowing, I just don’t tell them. And I miss that it’s made us less close.

And all this compiled with the fact that I’ve spent most of the year trying to figure out what I want out of my life and where do I now fit in now that I’m no longer a caregiver to my gramma…honestly, I’ve felt really lost this year. I don’t know really where I fit in anymore.

So I made the selfish decision to not celebrate the holidays. I sent out a few e-cards to my closest peeps but otherwise, I just benched myself for the seasonal playoffs.

But 2009 is a new year and so I feel a bit more motivated by the promise of a new day. This year, I resolve to take back my life. I resolve to try to keep in better touch with my friends, because I know I’ve been horrible about that with all the depression just making me want to be a hermit all the time. I resolve to keep better track of time and not let it slip through my fingers as it did in 2008. I resolve to stop feeling guilty because I can’t make everyone around me happy all the time. I resolve to figure out what I want out of life and work to get it. I resolve to get healthy again, both physically and emotionally. I resolve to travel more.

I resolve not to let myself get stressed by all of my resolutions.

And hopefully by the end of this year, I’ll feel like taking myself off that bench and jumping back into the holiday fray. Hell, I may even celebrate my birthday this year, too (another thing I put on the backburner in 2008).

So… how were your holidays?

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Comments: 5

  1. Evil Twin January 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    What ^she^ said. I know a thing or two about depression and “hermit”-age 🙂 , so call me if you need a friendly ear with our unique ™ brand of off-beat humor!

  2. Jules January 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Michelle I wish I had known you were having such a hard time with the holidays. Jim and I are always here for you. Anytime! Everyone goes through a time like this. You will find the answers and the route to them. Please let us know if we can help in any way. We are always just a call away or a 4 hour flight!

  3. Cindy January 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Michelle I know this year things will be better. Life moves on and we must all reach deep down inside ourselves to find the spark that will keep us shining. You are always a bright star and so what if you took time to be a bit dim…. you will find the brightness again soon. This I know about you….everyone needs some down time.. everyone should understand that. We do and we are always here for you.

  4. zengrrl January 7, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Jeff – I am so grateful to have you and Cindy as my friends. You have no idea how much I feel blessed to have you both in my life. Thank you for accepting me into yours. 🙂

  5. Jeff Wetherington January 6, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear how difficult and challenging the year has been for you. I wish you all the best in the coming year and I know you have the strength and determination to follow through on your resolutions.

    I’m grateful to be your friend.