Coming to you from inside the holidays…
Over the past few years, I played the same mental game with the holidays that I used to play with motherhood, and with adulthood in general. I.e.: I started out by trying to force myself to do the holidays “right.” But no matter what I do, they just don’t feel all that right.
Because of social media I’ve discovered I’m not alone in my discomfort.
My Instagram is full of men and women confessing they just don’t feel that merry, or they hate having to get dressed and put on makeup and go somewhere and tell their children to behave. Bless everyone who has shared their own holiday struggles.
Those Instagram posters aren’t trying to fix their discomfort, or themselves. They are just observing that the holidays – the way we celebrate them in our present societal moment – aren’t fun for them.
I’m not good at feeling uncomfortable and just stopping there.
When I don’t like something, most of the time I want to fix the thing so I can escape feeling uncomfortable.
For the last few years, that’s how I’ve approached each holiday. I figured the solution lay within my power. I’ve tried to host (more control over what and when we eat!) and not host (less mess to clean!) I’ve tried leaving town and also just staying home.
I’ve tried taking more time off and spending less money. I thought one of these things would “work” and I would start to enjoy myself. But I didn’t.
This year, I ran out of ideas for how to “fix” the holidays and escape my discomfort. So I’m living with it instead.
Like those wonderful Instagram posters I mentioned, I have found power in recognizing that I don’t like the holidays that much.
This year, I stop short of rushing to fix it. I stop at recognizing.
Earlier this year a friend told me that she liked the book All the Rage (the best book I read this year). But her issue with it was that the author, Darcy Lockman, didn’t offer solutions. She simply identified the roots of the rage that erupts inside many new mothers in the U.S.
But Lockman didn’t spend enough time telling us what to do about it.
I felt so incredibly validated by All the Rage, that I would have felt a little disappointed if Lockman had decided, after writing a book’s worth of facts that validate the rage that accompanies being a mother to young children, to “wrap up” with a summary of how to escape ALL. THE. RAGE.
We have the rage. It’s not just a here-and-there thing. It’s not something each of us brought on ourselves individually, and it’s not something we have to “fix” individually.
We can stop at recognizing. I believe we will find power in that space between recognizing and rushing to fix.