December 14. We’re almost halfway through December, 11 days till Christmas and 7 days till the shortest day of the year. I am not sure of how I should feel. But today is not the groovy day of yesterday. I think I will classify it as one of my S.A.D. days. The biggest challge for me is to not take it personally and put my best foot forward. That best is not to put my BAD and SAD on anyone else. That means not taking it out on myself either. I did say it is the BIGGEST challenge, didn’t I?
How shall I tackle the challenge? I cry alot about the difficulties but really it’s difficulties that leads me forward. I do not want to be stuck in sad and bad. I will try to be as joyful as possible. I hate to rain on this universal celebration of Jesus in the manger and the ho ho ho of Santa Claus. But I do feel bereft. And how shall I proceed? My first step is to sweep out my cynicism and bitterness. Change my attitude. I once felt the holiness of Christmas and Easter and Lent. I do not know if I believe in the God out there or of Jesus. But I have felt the loving spirit. I want to feel it again.
It is ok to be silly.
It is ok to believe in Santa.
It is ok to have fun.
It is ok to still love and miss Sheba.
Moving on, I have cleared my dining room table. It does make me feel better. I vow to keep it this way by clearing it every night. I am uncomfortable with some cleared psychological spaces. I can sit with those for awhile until I know how to fill them. Sometimes empty spaces, physical or psychological feel unsafe and unfulfilled. There’s a need to stuff them up. I’m resisting the urge. It’s not an easy task any time, but especially difficult in this season where much is made of the joyful season.
December 15. It’s 11:21 am. The sun is streaming through the sunroom windows. What a beautiful winter day. The temperature is -16℃ outside. Checking the greenhouse, it is -7.5℃. In 3 months I can start planting in there. I think I better give my moods a kick in the ass. I have no time to be maudlin. It’s almost time for me to start a few seedlings if I want some early tomatoes. Peppers and egg plants need lots of time to grow and mature. Their fruits were coming into abundance just when the season was coming to an end.
I’ve come to believe that I do have a choice as to how I feel. There’s a limit. There’s no other way to feel in the face of tragedy except bad. In that case, I would accept and laid down with it and wait for the wave to slow and ease up. But in the every day hair pulling, thorns in the sides kind of irritations, I have the power and ability to respond in a healthy responsible way. There is no gain in losing and blowing my gaskets all to hell – except high blood pressure and other bad side effects. I choose higher ground and joy, the path of my ancestor, Lao Tzu. I hope I can remember that in the heat of anger and in the depth of my blues. Let us pray.
Dec. 4. Good evening. It’s another day. My happy feelings have disappeared, leaving me feeling like a hoax, a liar and a failure. However, I am here, showing up rain or shine, in good times and bad. I heard somewhere that feelings are not real but they sure can feel bad. I shall see if I can tap dance them away.
My weakness is that though I know better, I tread where I shouldn’t. I am a truth seeker. Being such it is hard to dance around the edges, hoping for the best and not wanting to know. Now that I know more, I am not feeling better for it. But so what? I’ll live and tomorrow will be a better day. There’s always consequences to any action we take.
It’s December. It’s the darkest month of the year. Christmas is 3 weeks away. People are shopping and decorating. I envy them their joy. Christmas has not worked for me for quite a few years now. I miss and grieve for the joy and reverence I once had. Moments like this, I miss Sheba the most. She was always next to me with her soft animal body.
I’m feeling a tad better now that I’ve cried onto the page. Feelings are deceptive sometimes. Maybe it is just my SAD (Season Affective Disorder) talking. Or maybe it is just the weather. We were having -30℃ weather a few days ago. Then today we had a balmy -3℃. If I can blame the weather or a disorder, I’ll take it. It’s better than blaming myself.
Life is just a little weird and wonky nowadays. I shouldn’t take everything so seriously. I should lighten up, relax and be a little wonky myself. I would probably feel better.
It is the day before Christmas and not a preparation have I made. Perhaps this year I have stripped off all vistage of the holy season. I am bare naked, without pretense. Aren’t we all this year? Is it such a terrible state to be in? I feel that now that I am bare bone, I can start to cloth/build myself in truths instead of lies and hoaxes. I hope you don’t think I’m being blasphemous. I am not anti God. I am not anti anything. I am back in the desert searching for myself. I have left it for too long.
So now it is Christmas Day and it is almost over. How can you tell I have short attention span? It’s been really short these days. My mind is going every which way. I feel this inner restlessness and agitation. It is not the best time for deep philosophical diggings like what is the meaning of Christmas or do I believe in God. Maybe those answers will reveal themselves in quieter times. For now let’s just chill, which is just what we did last night. We went for a moonlight ski after supper and a glass of chokecherry wine. It was a beautiful night. The streets were quiet and lit up. Everyone was home. We could see them through the windows. I heard It Came Upon a Midnight Clear playing in my head.
It was the best thing that we did. We had the park almost to ourselves except for a father and his kids tobogganing on the hill. It was beautiful and serene in the dark of the evening. We had enough lighting from the street lights, the houses around and the headlights on our toques. It was good to rest those serious troublesome thoughts of mine. I was busy concentrating on the physical act of staying upright on two sticks. I am getting better and more confident. I will never become a fast or an olympic skier. But I am learning to have fun. I will leave my deep thoughts and writing for another day.
The prompt today for Susannah Conway’s December Reflections is: on my wish list. It caused me pause for reflection. Have I ever wished for anything? None that I can remember for eons and eons. Oh yes, There was a time when I was young with hormones and desires. I think I yearned for romance but not with a house, picket fence and kids. It wasn’t that I didn’t want them. They just hadn’t enter my mind. Neither did I think about how to get the romance. I just wished and sighed. It took some time for me to realize that nothing comes out of just wishing and a-hoping.
As I’ve said before, I wasn’t born into the Christmas and Santa Claus story. I’ve never had a wishlist. I don’t have one now. It would be a good exercise for me to make a list of what I really, really want. It would be really, really tough. It was easier when I was a child. I wanted to ride a bicycle. I wanted to learn how to swim. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t then. Maybe it was because we were new immigrants and didn’t have enough money. But in high school my dad bought me a blue 1954 Ford. It had an automatic transmission. I was not a good driver. I kept flooding it. A bicycle would have given me more joy.
I guess I did put those 2 items on my adult wishlist. I’ve learned to ride a bike and how to swim. I am not excellent at them but now have a few bikes and bathing suits. Having a list isn’t all that important. Knowing myself is. I’m not interested in acquiring things as much as I want to acquire skills. Cross country skiing wasn’t on top of any list. They’ve been in my closet for 30 some years. I wasn’t really itching to bring them out. The guy brought them out into open. I said I would give them a try.
The snow fell and fell and the Covid-19 numbers climbed and climbed. Sunday’s Covid stats was pretty scary – 4 deaths and 415 new cases. Today’s – 1 death and 274 new cases. It’s best to stay out of the gym and into the park. Staying upright on those 2 sticks gave me a sense of purpose. Falling down is no humiliation. Getting up is a triumph. I feel like Rocky/Sylvester Stallone on skis. I’m not gliding smoothly along – yet. It is something to work toward. Having goals/wishlist is most desirable in maintaining mental health.
I’m happy to return to this space to tap out a few words, ideas and maybe some inspiration. It’s very grounding to put thoughts to words and to see them march across the screen. Nothing can happen in a vacuum. Action is needed. You need to rub 2 stones to create a spark which can light a fire.
This morning I was folding laundry and noticed the Calvin Klein label on the guy’s undershirt. It reminds me of Christmas shopping my sister and I did with my mother years ago. How sweet the memory of when things were more carefree and my mother was younger and stronger. In those days, I still believe in some of the Christmas story. I believed in the warmth, kindness, giving and generosity of the season, if not the birth in the manger. I still believe in those sentiments but I’ve lost the warmth that came with it all. Humbug! is what I feel.
I am not really happy with the way I am. I feel hard and brittle like peanut brittle instead of marshmallows. Illusions once lost are gone forever. They are not what I really want. The God up in the sky no longer works. So why should Christmas still be the same. I didn’t start out in life with the Christ story. It was adopted when we immigrated to Canada. I have never been quite comfortable with it. Now is a logical time to give up all my pretense and come out of the closet. There, I’ve done it! I’ve said it. And what I really want for Christmas is good physical and mental health. They can come as they are. No need for a ribbon or bow.
Gifts don’t come free. I’ve been working on both. I’m still frequenting the gym using good hygience and social distancing practices. Our classes are small. I trust the staff and other members. I figure the exercise and socializing in small groups beneficial to my mental health. It feels exhilarating to work up a sweat. It carries me through part of the day. I hope the Covid numbers will come down. Otherwise, the gyms might get closed down. In that event, I still have my daily walks. Having walked daily, rain, snow or shine for 14 years with Sheba, it stays with me. Sheba would be proud of me. She’s probably walking with me in spirit.
It is almost the end of another day. I’ve kept up with doing at least one difficult thing a day. It helps lift my mood and gives me more energy. It’s cloudy all day today. No sun at all. The highest temperature in the greenhouse was 0 Celsius. While I’m waiting for the sun and spring, I’ve been researching on how to grow ginger and tumeric. It’s pretty interesting and exciting. There’s numerous videos on YouTube on how to grow both using roots from grocery stores. I might pot some up as soon as I get some ginger and tumeric. Why wait for spring? I can do it now.
So I sit me down to write with my cuppa strawberry flavoured tea and little blocks of dark, dark chocolate. I’m not sure how correct my tapping will be. I am not feeling totally correct. Don’t hold me to my words. Tomorrow I might disown them. I am not coming from the dark of the night place but ’tis the season’. All this jolly, jolly Christmas stuff sometimes upends me. All the expectations and preparations. All the hopes and dreams. And all the fairy tales.
I was not born into all that. I immigrated into the culture. I adopted the customs though I was never quite at home with them all. In a sense I have never been quite at home in my life. I was always looking out into others’ homes and Christmas trees, envious of all the glitter and laughter. After a long while, I did feel comfortable with it all – Christmases and Easters. I had made them into my own seasons of worship and gratitude. Christmas was my holy time. Easter was my season in the desert.
Now, they are both gone. I feel no reverence or holy. But I do feel a loss. I feel sad for it. I will try to slowly migrate back towards the feelings that once had meaning. It is not easy in these times. There is too much nit picking and political correctness about everything nowadays. The song Baby, It’s Cold Out There is considered inappropriate and banned. Even Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer is thought of as a song about bullying. I will have to shelf everything and think about it later. Tomorrow is another day. I wonder how many are feeling like me.
December 10, 2018 4:48 pm
I’m here with my cuppa and no chocolate. I have not given much thought to anything overnight. I’ve put my brain on a freeze. No analyzing of this or that. It is much better to just sip, stitch, no bitching and be as merry as I can. Life is short. The night is long. The time is for me to pass. I rather use it and my energy in creating something beautiful rather than sour grapes and bitter lemons. It’s the season to be kind to myself and others, focus on my own path and not be distracted by the sidelines. To my own self be true. I will not be like Eve. I will not flee from my Garden of Eden.
December 25, Christmas Day. Sunlight streaming in. I’m cozy as can be – tap, tapping away on this cold day. It’s only -26 Celsius now, up 2 degrees since 7 am. I’m looking a little tired, bags underneath my eyes and my hair is not up to par. Well, it’s not quite combed. I’m out of practice doing selfies. It looks like the cyclamen is growing out of my ear. I’ve left things slide. My hair could use a cream rinse to put in some shine. I need lots more moisturizer to rid those bags. And you should see the diningroom table.
It goes to show some things never change. It can be a comforting or provocative thought. You can count on consistency or dependability. You are not surprised or blown away constantly. On another train of thought, I see that I am who I am. If someone doesn’t like me, it doesn’t matter what I do, they will not like me. It’s really none of my business. I really love these witty truisms. It’s obviously true. It says nothing new or interesting. It’s time to walk away. I will save myself a whole lot of energy and time giving up trying to be someone else for someone else. It’s a lightbulb moment if I ever saw one.
Now I’m at day’s end, just before bedtime. I’m taking a few moments to gather my thoughts on this holiday period. I’m secretly pleased. Now you know, too. I’ve had a very good Christmas. I’ve taken a step towards new rituals for the Season. I’m not saying it’s the correct and only way. It’s different for me. Mostly I just stopped doing the ‘usual’ – running around looking for the perfect gift, putting up a tree and decorations, baking, etc. It did make me feel uncomfortable at times. But isn’t that always with doing something new?
It’s not for everyone. Not everyone wants to simplify Christmas. Some people really enjoy all that goes with the season. I respect their chosen ways. And I am not saying that I will repeat the same action next year. Things are ever changing, me and my feelings included. The old way of doing things don’t work for us any more. I have to be willing to let go of them and be open to try something new. Grow with the times, the bells chime.
I’m sitting here, feeling blank, not knowing where to start. I wonder how I got here. Where do I begin? At the beginning, of course. But where is that? This morning I went to my exercise class even though I didn’t feel like it. There are so many things that I don’t feel like doing – like putting up a Christmas tree or any other ornaments. And I haven’t. The only thing I have is a poinsetta that was given to us. Oh yes, the cyclamen with its red blooms looks very festive, if I may say so. It was a fine model for a painting. It sat very still for me. Then there’s the neighbours across the street. Their picture window is strung with Christmas lights. I get to see and enjoy them. I am not lacking in Christmas cheer even though I’m a bit of a Mrs. Humbug.
Last night two images popped into my head as I laid in bed. It was the moments before sleep overtook me. The first image was when I was a child in China. It was New Year’s Eve. I was in bed. Downstairs my mother, grandmother and ‘aunties’ are making and cooking pastry. I could see them tending the fire, feeding in more straw and twigs. The second image was of when we were in Ghana. Again I was in bed in the loft of the lodge. The ocean waves are washing in and out. The lighthouse light flashing across the window opening. I am feeling safe, warm and content in all these places as I am drifting off to sleep.
Our present times are uncertain and difficult. So much confusion and violence. But when have they not been? It seem so much more now that we are in the energy age. Bad news travel at a blink of an eye and a snap of your fingers. I am easily influenced. I soak up the negative like a sponge. Even though sometimes I can’t help but feel hopeless and despondent, I still have a little spark in me. That little spark keeps me going like the Eveready battery. Despite myself and even though I’m a bit of a Scrooge, I’m like that Little Drummer Boy. I’ll keep playing my drum.
I am myself again, ruminating and ranting. I find myself still dwelling over things I’ve said or shouldn’t have said. I see myself wringing and twisting my hands in my mind. Oh, I’m rude! I’ve hurt their feelings! Why couldn’t I have kept my mouth shut? But I’m talking back to this voice in my head. It doesn’t really matter! It’s only my obsessive over-inflated ego thinking what I say have any importance to anyone, especially to three learned professors. Just stop it!
I stopped the voice in my head. The thoughts echo and ricochet off the edges of my mind. I sat back in my chair and sipped my decaf. It tasted pretty good with coconut milk. I travelled back to yesterday. The room was noisy with music and people chatter, the sounds of what Christmas luncheons are made of. Our salads arrived, then the pork tenderloin. They are making draws for door prizes. My name is called. I won 2 tickets to Persephone Theatre. Someone said that the play Treasure Island is very good. It is being held over.
I’m trying to drown out life’s miseries. They tend to come out and multiply with weddings, funerals and Christmases. I’m feeling very bah humbug this year. This feeling has been increasing each year. Now I’ve reached that crescendo – BAH HUMBUG! I’m exhausted listening to all the complaints of consumerism, blah, blah, blah. Complaints! Complaints! Complaints! And yet with all these complaint the practices are continued year after year. This year I’m stopping all that. I’ve stopped going to church because of all the bad stuff about religion. Now I’ve gone all the way. Now I’m truly brave.
Not that I’m feeling totally comfortable with my new bravery. I see certain looks on people’s faces after I’ve come out – those shifty eyes and uncertain careful voices. People betray alot with body language and facial expressions. I imagine I do, too. I can’t see myself but sometimes I catch my own reflection in others’ reaction. I could be happier if I was dumb and dumber. Ah, you can’t have everything in this world.
If you’ve caught a whisper of sarcasm and bitterness in my words, you got it. I am feeling that. It is my own sarcasm and bitterness, not directed at anyone else. There’s no harm in acknowledging my own feelings. The harm comes from holding them in and squishing them in my own body. There is nothing wrong with not celebrating Christmas. It is not a Chinese tradition though we’ve adopted it over the years. It’s truly a Charlie Brown kind of Christmas and not authenitically ours. I’ve felt like an imposter all these years.
If Christmas is about peace, goodwill and love towards all, I’m all for it. It should be celebrated every day. But do we need all the trappings? If you love ‘all that is Christmas’, it is okay with me, too. I have no objections to how others’ celebrate. I respect that. But the controversies and arguments about Christmas have killed some of that joy for me. That is not to say that I am a total joyless heathen. There is a tiny spark of hope for joy in me. I will bring out my own Bodhi tree. Sheba and I found it in the park last year. I had to fight her for it. There’s history here. It was already dead and no chopping down necessary. We didn’t pay any money for it either. Measuring up is not in our vocabulary.
A full stomach and sunshine makes me satisfied and sleepy. Somebody else is that way, too. Sheba is curled up peacefully on her bed. I should not speak too soon. You know how that can jinx a situation. Shhhh!
Yesterday I came upon someone’s post about Clickasnap, a photo sharing site that allows free hosting of your photos and opportunity of sharing and earning some money. It all sounds great as I have had to upgrade my free WordPress plan to a paid personal one because I ran out of storage space. Clickasnap sounded like the perfect soloution. But on second thought after reading about it, it sounded complicated to my non-techy brain. It would take me a long time to figure it out.
I will perhaps keep it in mind to investigate at my leisure. Since my plan gives me priority support, I might ask the Happiness Engineers about it. That would be time consuming, too. I really want to concentrate on my writing. My free plan lasted 5 years before I ran out of space. If I am not such a clutterbug, had organized my photos and not duplicated many of them, I am sure my storage space would be fine. It pays to be more organized. I will not fret about it. $5/month will help keep me in line. I will be watching my GBs closely and editing and labelling photos.
The furry monster has woken and has ears on back of her head. She hears people on the street from the back of the house. She can hear me peel a banana in another room. She barks alot and loudly. We have another hour to go before her supper. We’ll see how patient and consistent we are today. I have the kettle on for another cup of tea. Somehow that always help. It’s better than lighting up another cigarette like the olden days.
We are making good progress. Sheba knows the drill now. She is whimpering softly but she is obediently doing her ‘down.’ She is very cute and causes me to smile with her little whimper. It is hard to resist her but I do. I know she is not that hungry. Only 3 more minutes before chow time. She gives another little whimper.
So it goes. 3:00 pm. She forgets herself and rushes at the bowl. I almost forgot, too but admonishes her. She sits back and waits till I’m finished pouring her kibbles and gives her ‘okay’. See how easily things can slide back if you are not paying attention?
It is the first of December. I have been thinking about Christmas. I have done away with the gifting part of it. How will I celebrate it? How can I make it meaningful and joyous? And exactly what is its true meaning? We talk so much about it. We talk a lot about simplifying but often it ends up more complicated. I wonder, too, how my ungifting Christmas will affect my family. I like to think that it is just about me, but it does affect others. It’s that pebble casting ripples through the universe. Christmas is not where I want that effect to work. I do not want to be the Scrooge who ruins everyone’s Christmas. But to be authentic, you have to be brave and do what you say you want. I’m doing it.