So, hi! Here’s the thing; I feel like I should be apologizing, since I haven’t blogged, or written at all, since my dramatic farewell post on April 8th of this year. What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time. I didn’t blog, even though I tried prompts to help me write, I tried freewriting, I even signed up for National Novel Writing Month, but I couldn’t get myself to write a thing. Ah, well, it’s a hard time of year for me. Sixteen years ago this moth my dad died. This year, instead of getting easier, you know, to let go, it’s weird. I think I can sense him, like, around me, and sometimes I hear whispers that I’m sure are him. It doesn’t scare me or anything, it’s just a little freakish.
Enough of that, though! If you are not familiar with Holidailies and December, it’s the month where each blogger who signs up endeavors to write one post each day of the month. Radical, right? 🙂 I’m encouraging you right now, if you want to join this crazy holiday fun, I don’t think it’s too late! But, even if you don’t want to commit, it’s great to read others’ posts.
I’m trying something new for this month. I ordered a writing game from Bas Bleu, an entertaining web store, and it’s called Writer’s Prompt Sticks: Memoirs–Life Stories. I bought for NaNo, actually, because I thought it might assist me with my temporary (?) block. I was meant to be writing a memoir, just a slice of my life, not much really. But it seems I’m super at reading books about writing, and talking with others, and listening to podcasts about writing, just not so hot at the writing itself.
Anyway, each stick has two prompts on it, and I’m meant to pick one and write for eight minutes. I already know I’m shortening the time for the sake of this challenge, because when I do write, I write like Taz, and I don’t want you to end up with 8k words you just skim or close the page on.
Here we go. Setting up my timer now. The two blog prompts to choose from are:
1) Write about a time when you had a spiritual awakening.
2) Write about a time when you were in a religious or spiritual situation and you felt nothing or it felt ludicrous.
They just get right down to it, huh? I think I’ll combine the two because the first prompt won’t take me very long. 1) I was raised Roman Catholic and I went to church every Sunday as a kid, you know, it meant something to me when I made my confirmation at 13, my brother Jimmy being Godfather. But I was very naive, and gullible (are they the same?), expecting the Church to be everything to me, to make up for every single thing I ever felt I was lacking. Feelings are fickle things, not to be trusted most of the time, because they can change on a dime and are severely disloyal. One minute they pretend to be your best friend, and the next thing you know you’re hiding your heads under the cover because you’re too scared to let yourself think, let alone feel.
Then in the summer before I turned 19, this was 1980, an exceptionally good year–except for this one thing. I had just finished my freshman year at college and was home before my sophomore year, hanging out with my best friend, Cathy Bruske. We were in a park near home, and we started talking to some guys on motorcycles. We felt that daring rush only familiar to late teens: anything could and would happen, and we were open to it all. The guys were sweet, and semi-cute, so we ended up following them back to one’s place.
The exact details of what all happened, I don’t really remember. I know I was drinking a could beers with them and Cathy, and somebody had pot, I might have smoked. I can’t really figure out why something so traumatic is such a blur to me, but there you have it–and maybe it’s a blessing, meant to protect my psyche from something I don’t wish to revisit.
One of the guys invited me into his bedroom. I don’t want to go into what all happened because I don’t know who may or may not be reading this. I guess I was sexually assaulted. I guess it’s iffy, a few counselors tell me it wasn’t an assault, at least not sexual, because there wasn’t any actual intercourse. You know what I say to that, to them, the naysayers? BULLSHIT. Maybe you hadda be there, but this is one time I trusted my feelings.
Somehow in that haze I got split up from Cathy, and I don’t know how in the hell I found my way back to our home in Detroit. Just lucky, I guess. I don’t know how, I felt torn apart and lost, and ended up at our parish church. This is the church I had grown up in, went to all those masses in, recited the Apostle’s Creed. I don’t know if they still do, but back then the priests lived right next to the church, in a rectory. It must have been the wee hours of the morning and I can’t imagine what my parents were thinking, but instead of going home, I went to church, parked, and walked up to the rectory door. I knocked, and rang the door bell, and banged with my fist and yelled, but no one came. I’m sure, if you’re with me as my wiser self, you can think of many reasons why that door wasn’t answered–logical, helpful reasons. But all I could feel at the time was that my church and God had turned their backs on me, that I was ruined. I didn’t cry, and still haven’t shed a tear about what happened all those years ago. It took me a long time to tell anyone, because of shame, and–well, the believability factor. There you have it. My answer to prompt #2.
That’s about all I have to say for today. Oh, that and I’m one of The Deplorables. Except I’m educated, I’m not racist nor xenophobic, and I’m certainly not a misogynist. But you can decide now whether or not that’ll keep you from reading any of my posts.
I give up. I was actually trying to write a post every day this month for the Holidailies December challenge. You don’t have to have a theme, but I did, and my theme was – wait for it – holidays. 😉
Then, the day before yesterday, I got sick. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not just a cold. Sometimes I think it’s bronchitis (I’ve had that before) and sometimes I think it’s something worse. And my doctor is on vacation until next Wednesday. Fortunately, this morning his office phoned in an antibiotic for me, so we’ll see if that works.
But I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck and then some.
I can’t finish.
So sorry for the ones who were following me through the challenge. I just can’t do it.
How often have you heard those words, or even said them to yourself over holiday foods during this season? Don’t despair, it’s never too late to learn new habits or try something new. Here are five ways to fight holiday weight gain starting now:
1. Absorb: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. A glass of water before a meal is a good idea, too.
2. Activity: Exercise is always a good idea. I recently got a Wii console for an early Christmas gift, and Zumba to exercise to. I don’t always do it, but it’s on my list of New Year’s resolutions, to exercise to Zumba at least four times a week.
3. Avoid: Don’t eat for emotional reasons. When you reach for that ice cream, ask yourself if you’re sad, bored, angry, or even joyful.
4. Await: Slowly count to 10 before you cheat. Then, if you still want it, eat it, You’ll know you made a conscious choice.
5. Always: Always eat breakfast. It helps start your day right by making you feel full to begin with, and it really is the most important meal.
Boxing Day traditionally falls on the first weekday after Christmas day. It’s a British holiday, but some others celebrate it I am sure. The custom is linked to an older English tradition. Since the servants would have to wait on their employers on Christmas Day, they were given the next day to go and visit with their own families and celebrate together. The employer would give the servant a box to take home that had gifts in it, or bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.
Today is also the beginning of Kwanzaa, created in 1966 as the first holiday specifically for African-Americans. So Joyous Kwanzaa as well!
Try to see the world around you with the eyes of a child. In the words of Aldous Huxley: “For every man, the world is as fresh as it was the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who has the eyes to see them.”
Love and good cheer.
“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
This Christmas, don’t forget to:
1. laugh: humor can help any situation, and it seems at holidays it is absolutely essential. So when you notice your uncle is once again drinking too much as he always does, try laughing about it instead of getting angry. See what that does.
2. smile: I think I’ve said this before, but if so it bears repeating. It takes less muscles to smile than to frown, and it’s been said that one can actually smile her way to being happy. So if you’re not really feeling the Christmas cheer this year (hey, that rhymed!) try smiling your way there.
3. be grateful: Your aunt gave you another atrocious Christmas sweater which you wouldn’t even wear once a year? So, be grateful. It’s really nice that she thought of you. (And there are starving people in China. 😉 )
4. breathe: Take a minute to take a deep breath. So often when we are in high stress situations, and even though Christmas is fun, it’s still considered pretty stressful . . . we forget to breathe. Breathe.
5. meditate: This is where we remember to take things one day, or one minute at a time, and remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Take yourself off to a little corner and whip out a thought for the day book, or say the serenity prayer. Call your sponsor.
And have the Merriest Christmas!!
I went to a meeting this morning. I was so grateful there was an Al-Anon meeting on Christmas Eve morning that I could attend. The topic around the meeting was taking care of ourselves, but I heard a smattering of frustration and fear on the topic of holidays in general, my own included. I talked about how I was trying to remember the Three C’s: I didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it . . . and the Three M’s to avoid for myself: manipulation, martyrdom, and mothering.
It all comes down to the wisdom of knowing the difference between things I can change and things I can’t. It should be such a simple thing. All I can change is myself or things about myself. Period. Can’t change circumstances or other people.
Circumstances will be different for me this Christmas Eve with my family. I can’t control the outcome. I can’t control whether or not people have a good time, or are upset about something. I can control my own responses and reactions. That’s about it. There’s not a lot I can do otherwise.
When I think of the word detachment it helps. If I’m too enmeshed with someone or something, I can’t possibly back off enough to even BREATHE, let alone know the difference.
Have a great day today. Whatever you do, take care of yourself. Even if you just need to go to a quiet corner and meditate, do that.
Here’s something not everyone knows about me. As much as I love the holidays, it’s still hard for me to be around other people for too long, even family. I never know what to talk about. I’m on disability, so I can’t talk about work. I do read the news, so I can talk about that to some degree, but I don’t argue well. 😉 So when it comes to arguing a point, I always lose. I don’t mean argument as in a fight or something; just differing views, I’m not good at defending my own. Never have been.
So I get a little nervous as Christmas Eve and Day approach. When I see family, what can we talk about? I’ve heard advice in the past: “news, weather, and sports.” Well, okay, that can work to a certain extent.
What I find most helpful, when I’m stuck, is to ask about the other person. What’s been happening with them? People love to talk about themselves (well, most people 😛 ). One question can lead to other questions and before you know it, you’re having a whole dialogue and it’s all okay.
But here’s something I need to remember this year, and maybe you do, too. I’m enough, just the way I am. In fact, I’m wonderful. There are unique qualities about me: my sense of humor, compassion, ability to empathize, that make me a good listener and a fine companion for the holidays.
What about you? What are your unique qualities that make you wonderful and fun to be around? I’m sure you can think of just one. Here’s a trick. Do like I just did. Write it out. Then say it out loud. Even if you don’t believe it yet. Because it’s true.
And hey, it’s all you. 😀