Holidays are the worst. Sometimes, they suck because we are missing someone. Someone may be overseas, or they have passed away, or they live in another city. Sometimes, holidays suck because your family doesn’t get along or you don’t have a family to spend them with.
For me, holidays suck because they remind me of the fact that people are human, and that I have to, yet again, deal with that fact. I won’t go into the gory details (I’m currently without enough wine for that endeavour) but I will tell you the short story: of all 4 of my parents, two step parents and two biological, I have a good relationship with 0 of them. The end. I don’t speak to them nor see them. It’s a vast mess, full of complicated trust issues, a fair amount of emotional damage, and a lot of anger. And the holidays just tend to exacerbate all those feelings; my normally sweet, pretty optimistic self goes through a phase of what I lovingly refer to as “the suck.”
I can usually tell when “the suck” is coming on, because I feel restless in the worst way. Not in a bored, Thursday afternoon, I have too much time on my hands, kind of way. No, this restlessness is more aggressive, hungrier, meaner. When normal Steffanie gets restless, it’s usually for 2 different reasons:
1. She is in a book rut and needs a brilliant, new story, STAT. Preferably a memoir or a witty YA novel.
2. She’s been way too sedentary and needs to detach her butt from the couch, and go hang out with people. Or go buy books.
When Steffanie-in-suck-mode is restless, it’s usually because her brain is trying to eat itself and make itself miserable by bringing all of the suck of her life to the forefront. This usually occurs around holidays, with occasional random outbursts between said holidays. It is unrelenting.
The restlessness is often accompanied by a overwhelming sense of fatigue and a bad attitude, of which I do not hide very well, even though I really try. When asked how I’m doing, my brain word vomits.
“Yes, I’m fine. I’m just having a breakdown, and I don’t know how to communicate it, because my brain is literally trying to make me miserable by bringing all the suck upon me, because thats what happens when people who bring you into this world, who promise not to leave you, do just that, they leave and life expects you to continue to live with that, and its not fair and sometimes its too much, okay, thanks, no I am not fine.”
And my mouth says this:
“I’m fine. Just tired, I guess.”
The first response is not usually the response most people want to hear so I usually try to avoid the awkwardness that comes after a way too honest answer, i.e, by avoiding people altogether. I run to the friendly Chinese place down the street, I crack open the dry red, and I read Never Let Me Go (best book ever, but not the most uplifting). I cry, a lot, and I usually snap at my husband for not staying home from work because DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THE CITY CAN WAIT BECAUSE I AM GOING CRAZY and I go to bed feeling pretty sucky. At some point I try to convince my dog to sleep with me but even he knows that “the suck” is its own beast, and can’t be helped with his presence, so he ignores me, like the cold blooded being that he is.
Now, before you call your psych major friends, I get that this post is making some of you uncomfortable and maybe a teensy bit worried. I hope it’s making at least one of you laugh, and if it does, let me buy you some coffee. I feel like we would get along well, you psycho. Truth is, I don’t usually write about this stuff, because it sucks and sometimes it hurts and sometimes I hate how it makes me feel. But I’m doing it because in a tiny way I feel like this is maybe making my brain feel a bit more like itself. My heart is a little less raw, and my breath is a little less tight. I feel at home with these tiny words on the page, in their neat little rows.
Writing is healing to me, and while I do not condone chinese buffets or becoming a hermit at home for “the suck”, I do condone writing it out. Or dancing it out. Or screaming, running, painting, breathing it out. Also wine, and a good friend, and a good book.
To all you lovelies who endure the holidays with a little heartache, I’m here for you and I feel you.