The Bitter and the Sweet (Holidays)

I woke up determined not to be sad.

Historically, the holidays are a drab. Thanksgiving-birthday-Christmas is the pattern, and since the fractures in my family became full-fledged cracks, getting us all together in one room over the holidays is always more obligatory than desirous. There are no festivities: Thanksgiving meals are outside of the home, hopefully, with peers and family friends so buffers exist to minimize the awkwardness. For Christmas, we have long given up on the cheer and the joy. It just became too much for one parent to uphold, and it is asking too much of me to always be the glue.

It will be better in my family, I tell myself. We'll make it so and protect the joy.

I woke up determined not to be sad, and truly by the grace of God, my joy was palpable the day I turned 31. I was happy deep into my bones. I wrote a vague piece about it earlier that same day, but as I reread it I can see how fearful I was of turning down the well-worn melancholy road. I was guarding so hard against past echoes: Christmas 1995, Thanksgiving 2008, and every painful holiday in between.

Here we are again: Atlanta 2016. Let's lean into the bittersweetness and keep walking towards 2017.

FreethoughtShawn LiComment