November and December are always very hard months for me. While everyone is in such high spirits, I am in the pits. Childhood memories intrude, and I start feeling like the miserable little boy I once was.
You see, I grew up in what I have come to call an Evil Matriarchy. Holidays were not a time for good cheer and fellowship, it was the time for children’s egos and hopes to be beaten down. It was an annual litany of how inadequate, ugly, fat, stupid we were. A rampant alcohol problem did not help the situation.
I was lucky enough to be a two-time loser: a child AND a boy. Kids were bad enough in their eyes, but being male was a definite crime. I grew up thinking there was something wrong with being a boy, and that women were somehow more perfect.
So, as a residual of this wonderful, nurturing environment, I came to hate holidays. By a strange twist of fate or divine joke, I married a woman who lives for the holidays. It’s like the universe was trying to restore balance. For the first few years it was tough, until she came to understand where I was coming from. I never blamed her for not understanding, as my family is tough to figure unless you survived it. So, we went along like Clark Griswold married to Ebeneezer Scrooge.
Things got better over the years, but I still have a hard time. My wife (God bless her!) does everything she can to make things easier. When our daughter was born seeing her joy has made things even better. Definitely a case of annual forward progress.
This year I decided on a new plan. I am going to enjoy the holidays NO MATTER WHAT. No dwelling on the past, no moping. I will dispel that part of me that still feels like the emotionally battered little boy who was never good enough. I will pretend to be a normal human being so hard and so much that I will make it true!
This plan worked well for Thanksgiving. I drowned myself in preparing a wonderful feast and, according to everyone I succeeded. I embraced and enjoyed their joy and made it my own. I am confident this same plan will work for Christmas.
So, have a happy holiday everyone, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the Saturnalia!
I know I plan to…