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december. the first half is all anticipation. then my birthday rolls around in the middle of the month, followed by a week of wait before christmas, followed by a week of limbo before new year's. then the healing process begins.
christmas has never been a big-family occasion for me. me and my parents - rarely have the extended family been bothered with, and we've been find with that. nor has it been about religion, as i was not raised as a church-goer. it's never really been about presents, either, since lower-middle class kids get used to seeing little under the tree christmas morning early in life. whether or not i've gotten used to it, though, my parents haven't, and the holidays have always raised their stress levels to uncomfortable heights. more than once have i seen them explode at each other christmas eve or day, one or the other stalking out the door to wander the streets with a cigarette before inevitably coming back, cooled off, to work things out.
in 2002 i left home the day after christmas to see a friend in canada. by our second day together we'd fallen completely in love. i came home after new year's, and we cut it off before the pain of separation could get to us.
the bad memories are almost countless. the good ones are made all the more depressing by their absence. the present is worse still, as this should have been my first married christmas, happily snuggled in front of a small tree, our love the greatest and only gift present or desired.
but then comes new year's, and the memories return to the background, and the healing begins. next year will be better, i say, fully believing it; generally, the years themselves do get better, but without fail, the holidays come around once more. i can't help but wonder, as suicidal thoughts begin lurking earlier and earlier with each passing year, how many more i'll see.
Alright, it's that time of year, where everything is the same but feels new and different because we're living out our ordinary lives on the brink of the cliff that is the dying year. Christmas carols are 2007's death rattle, wrapping paper is its shroud. I choose to wallow in the sense of renewal. I can use it. I think this year will be better than the last, because I'm better than I was 365 days ago, damnit. There's still a million miles to go on whichever path I meander down, but I've made some important steps. Time to go get drunk with my foul mouthed, gutter minded grandma. Happy holidays, anyone who reads this. I love all of you. Not in the bad touch way. You know what I mean.