Dec 2018 10

Like leaving your mattress out on the sidewalk for everyone to see, this time of year can expose what people are really like under what we want to project to the world.

You’ll see it all in the coming weeks. Stories of incredible kindness of people reaching out to keep someone going, and the stories of dudes with cable cutters stealing the charity bubbles out of the malls.

It’s kind of exciting actually. Like our own advent calendar revealing something about the state of the world every day.

Yes, reader. The holidays are here. And in honour of them, and the new moon (if you believe in that kind of thing), and mental health for anyone out there, let’s talk about it. Okay, I’ll go first.

Personally, I find it hard to deal at this time of year. My natural instinct is to crawl into the back of the closet where my mom hid the presents (yup, I knew where presents were hidden) until January 2nd. I’m not sure why that is, but I fight it every year. And this year, with staying off the bottle, I think it’s going to be a tough fight.

My mother was someone that made Christmas look easy – on the outside, anyhow. I think it came at the expense of her own self-care, but when you’re seven years old and just thinking about how amazing Santa is – STRANGER DANGER FAIL, BTW – and you can only focus on how you really want that thing on Page 347 of the Wish Book, you don’t pick up on these things.

I’m working on a longer bio-fiction piece about this, but she had everything planned out meticulously from December 9th (when the tree always went up) until Epiphany on January 6th. I think that’s where my stress comes from at this time of year – remembering her anxiety in wanting to get everything ‘perfect’. I could feel it, and I know she taught me well because I became it some later years. I would get frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to make it perfect, and so I would just shut down.

So, reader, out there. Yes, all three of you. And to myself.

Remember – there’s no such thing as perfect at the holidays. Or ever. It’s like trying to capture a rainbow. Take time for yourself. Eat well. Rest as much as you can. Be in the moment as much as you can. Let shit go. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is your time, and your focus. Do we remember how to do that?

And when dealing with other people… Try to remember that people are dealing with a lot this season.

There are people who are experiencing real loss for the first time this year. Maybe a person is gone.

Some people are very lonely all year-round and this time magnifies it when the illusion of connectedness is all around us when you turn on the TV or in every billboard, store window, and on the side of buses.

Some people are dealing with little resources and feeling immense pressure to make everything perfect, like my mom no doubt did every year. There’s a reason she didn’t get new clothes for herself all year. We got toys, but there are some people just struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table. Give if you can.

And the world is in a strange state of flux. Expect news of the weird from all sides the next few weeks as we creak towards an uneasy and unpredictable 2019.

Personally, I’m gonna try to kill this shit with kindness this year. I’m not convinced there was a Jesus. But I know January 2nd is real. I believe in it. It will happen. And we can all get there in one piece. Yah, I have a mattress out on the curb that has seen some tough times, but I’m fine to show it off.

For anyone reading this going through a tough time, you’re not alone. Remember for the next few weeks that you can always call a friend or 1-833-456-4566 for the Crisis Services Canada Suicide Prevention Hotline.

There, I feel better. For today anyhow. One day closer.

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