This dance or movement between the space of norm and beating my own drum is never a perfect science. I have often vacillated between holidays meaning so much that I had to redefine them to embracing the time-outs that forced me to look at my participation or embrace of them. The most memorable moments around holidays involved doing things that were not the per usual. Last Christmas and Thanksgiving, I was in India dancing to Indian music. While I terribly missed feasting on Turkey with loved ones, being in India for these two holidays made them more memorable. On another occasion, my Christmas and New Years was spent road tripping to Key West and riding a scooter for the first time. In both of these instances I enjoyed taking a break from agonizing over gift purchases, the strategic plotting of navigating the lines or the store frenzy, and the feeling like I had to go broke for the holidays (though I enjoyed the aspect of giving). These were also moments in which I felt the most free breaking out of the prison of do what everyone else is doing.
This year is one of my time-outs from the holidays. Some months back, I felt some sadness about the upcoming holidays but soon embraced yet another opportunity to redefine what they truly mean. Then there was the other option, the one that has been brewing for some time-ditch them altogether. The latter is what I have started to gravitate towards and it is what I have done off and on in the past even while seemingly participating in the fanfare. My recent decision has not been an easy one as I have come in contact with many Christmas trees, store crowds, and other reminders of the holiday season.
Christmas then decided to nudge me in a more personal place. A couple of weekends ago, while staying with a friend, I asked her if she wanted help decorating her tree. I would have felt horrible not helping her as she proceeded to assemble it and place ornaments upon it. Though it was not forced upon me, I chose to help. I observed my actions of hanging the ornaments on the tree while sharing the space and closeness with this dear friend. We rarely got a chance to see each other and it still felt surreal spending this time with her. I soon realized that her joy and our moments of just being was paramount to any belief system or feelings that I had about the Christmas Tree I was helping to decorate. I decided to drop the mental lecture, refused to see this as a “selling out” of sorts, chose relax into the moment, and just enjoy that which brought her joy.
Even as I write this, I know I will possibly send out a few “Happy Holidays” messages or exchange a few trinkets with my loved ones. Over time, I have discovered that I can still do these things in a way that honors myself and quiets the internal conflict. I have also tasted the sweetness that comes along with participating in anything that places a smile upon the faces of my loved ones as we dance together in the space in between.