The Sad Crept In

I managed to hold it off until the day before Christmas Eve, but the sad sat down hard on my chest this morning. Driving  in to the office about 7:45, alone in my car, Paul Anka was on the radio singing “Rudolph,” all the Christmas lights were shining through the gloomy fog in Centennial Park, and the SkyView ferris wheel was lit up and spinning.

And suddenly it felt like everything joyful and festive and hopeful and good in me was sucked out and only an incredible emptiness was left. I was suddenly acutely aware of my aloneness.

What is it about Christmas that does this? I’m no more alone than I am any other time of year. And I’m not “alone.” The office is full of people today. I’ll be with my family tomorrow. (And for me, gratefully, unlike some, I love being with my family.) But when I could’ve left the office this morning after my 9:00 meeting was over, I didn’t want to. The idea seems cold and empty and dark and – alone.

I tried to alleviate the “alone” this year. I invited someone to come to Christmas Eve at my mom’s with me (and to various other Christmas events as well) – but… well… yeah… you know. And maybe that makes me feel more alone too, when you try to not be alone and those attempts are rejected.

I know there’s got to be more to this feeling that descends on me this time every year. And I’m so glad that it’s only happened a few days before Christmas this time. (For the last couple of years, it hit at Thanksgiving and didn’t let up until Christmas was over.) But even a couple of days of feeling like this sucks!

I read a great article yesterday that feels very true to what I’m feeling. (And I can’t remember where it was so I can link to it, dammit!) But basically it said that feeling anxious about being alone is evolutionary. As cavemen (and women), if you were alone, you weren’t safe.

That’s very much what my aloneness feels like; the emotion feels like vulnerability and insecurity and danger.

I always feel guilty when I feel like this around the holidays. I have so much and I am so blessed. I’m not a big evangelist or testifier, but I truly believe if God hadn’t interceded in my life, I could very well be homeless, whoring, or dead right now from my alcoholism. I have found an amazing church that fits my incredibly liberal beliefs socially and theologically – five blocks from my house. More importantly, that church has become a home and a family for me. I have an amazing family of birth and amazing friends. I have stumbled accidentally into a comfortable career that allows me to provide for myself. I could go on and on.

There are people who ARE homeless. Children who are hungry. I have a friend who’s sitting death watch over his mother right now. There are people who’ve been disowned by their families. There are people wrestling mightily with addictions. There are people in prison. There are people in sexual slavery. There are people in abusive relationships. I could go on and on.

I don’t feel like I deserve to feel sad, but still I do.

I guess one of the hardest things is that (at least most years) I don’t want to just wish away the holiday. When I’m sad or upset about some event at other times of the year, I just tell myself that it’ll be over soon. But I really like Christmas, particularly Christmas Eve at my mom’s where my immediate family eats ham sandwiches in front of the TV, then opens stockings, then move to the living room where we listen to Christmas music on the stereo while we exchange gifts one by one. So I guess I feel very conflicted about loving it and wanting it to be over (or maybe just wanting to not feel sad) at the same time.

I think if I could ferret out exactly why I feel like this, I could make it better. Meanwhile, I have a man pinging me on eHarmony. He sounds interesting. We have a lot in common. He has pretty eyes. But when I get ready to respond to his questions, I’m terrified and can’t bring myself to do it. So maybe I DO want to be alone.

Can you simultaneously want to be alone and want to not alone at the same time. I can’t decide which one is scarier.

I’m living in a limbo of fear and anxiety. Ho ho ho.

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5 responses to “The Sad Crept In”

  1. RunningHeartless says :

    I know exactly how you feel. The funny thing is this year I’m not alone, I’ve got family etc to celebrate with…but I still feel alone. Maybe that is because I’m the only one having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit (even my husband made a comment about how bad my depression must be right now, because he knows how much I love Christmas “you’d start decorating in August if you could” he said)
    If I may make a suggestion, have a “screw you all” year. If you know you are going to be alone next year, start making plans in January or July or something. Go do something fun and out there. I’m not saying to “skip Christmas” but instead of trying to find people to spend the holidays with and feeling even more alone when nothing comes together, make a plan to do something just for you. Book a cruise, go to Paris, or Disney World, or Hawaii, or some place you have always wanted to go. Do something just for you. And you’ll be so busy having fun that you won’t care that you are alone (well you might a little, as having “I wish I could share this with someone” feelings are inescapable, but it won’t be that almost smothering feeling of aloneness you get trying to keep things “normal” when they aren’t.

  2. Wairuanor says :

    When I read this, it makes me feel odd. You are all speaking about feeling alone – but did you ever think about people who do not have ONE SINGLE person to spend Christmas with. Not one? Imagine what those people feel like when they read about people who ENJOY spending time with their family and yet say they are alone.

  3. dmcco01 says :

    Of course I understand and sympathize with what you say. I even acknowledge my guilt about that in this post. Do I WISH I didn’t feel alone in the midst of loving people? Yes. Do I understand why I feel that way? No.

    But there are no right or wrong feelings. They are just the feelings we’re having. Asking someone to feel differently than they do is like asking someone to not be gay or to not have brown eyes.

    Besides, we don’t have to have a competition about who deserves to feel the worst.

  4. lyndon770 says :

    Darling, I hope it eases your pain to know there are those among the masses that feel as you do…

    I am a man, middle-aged, alone, and childless…so Holidays are especially hard for me. I wish I could give you Solace, but all I can do do is share in empathy

    Per Apera Ad Astra

    I truly believe as such. And here is a poem dear to my heart, may you read it and know it breathes with life with every passage repeated…


    Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet: 5
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

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