About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's Not All Ho-Ho-Ho and Mistletoe #holidays #life

 Guess what? For some people, this isn't the happiest time of year.

While most talk about gifts and parties and whine about family who may or may not be joining, there are many people who don't have money for gifts, have no parties to attend, and maybe can't afford to visit family--or perhaps they have no family. If they seem sad or distracted, however, they're told to cheer up and "get in the spirit."

What does that mean? The spirit of Christmas? I believe it's about love, pure and simple. Some, however, seem to disagree with me about what love means. Is it seeing how much you can spend so that your kids can brag to their friends about all the awesome gifts they received? Shh...let's not worry about the cost or the fact that we probably can't afford it because we must--no matter the consequences--maintain an image! Or is it being compassionate and understanding to those around you who may be going through a dark time? It's Jesus's birthday...what do you think his answer would be? 

All too often people misjudge those who are struggling to be happy amidst dire circumstances or scrambling to make ends meet. They only want to slap a bow on a shiny facade and keep the energy upbeat at all times, especially this time of year. No, no...now is not the time to be sad! Slap on the smile and get with the holiday program! 

What they don't realize is that dismissive attitude is damaging to the people who are honestly terrified about paying their rent this month, scared about their health prognosis, guilty about not being able to buy their children presents, who are dumping out all their valuables and hauling them to a pawn shop to try to survive one... more... month, and depressed because they're measuring themselves against an illusion.

Hey, c'mon, it's December! Tsk-tsk-don't be a downer with all that real life crap. 'Tis the month to suspend reality and be happy, happy, happy! Over-commit! Over-promise! Over-spend! Who cares? It's December!

Life isn't all ho-ho-ho and mistletoe. Sure, we'd all like it to be. We all want to be around the fun person, the people who have it all together, and are excelling in life. We'd like to be singing carols around the clock and be giddy with joy. Who wouldn't? (For the record, I have been sort of annoying with singing carols around the house.) But the fact is that some people dread this time of year because they know it will mean more pressure rather than more love. 

They fear being judged by others for what they simply cannot produce. Perhaps they're dumping drawers out to find enough money to pay for half a tank of gas to get them to work--they can't send out Christmas cards or buy their kid's teacher a gift because day-to-day living consumes every last cent they have. Do we look at them with love or condemnation? Perhaps a little judgment because--you know--they had a calendar and, hello, it's December! Why didn't they add a third job into their already overworked life to prepare for this month? 

Or maybe they've gotten their final disconnect notice for the electric bill so aren't too concerned about putting up their Christmas lights--yet the neighbors scoff at them for being a Scrooge. Look at them, not in the spirit. What grumps.

Or perhaps they cry when hanging ornaments because some are sentimental and remind them of deceased loved ones who are no longer there--and they are incredibly lonely. They ache down deep in their soul because those ornaments remind them of happier times that will never come again, at least not with those people who are forever gone. So they decide to not get a tree this year. And then they are asked every day, "Why don't you have your tree up yet? Do you have your tree up yet? Can you afford a tree? Why are you so sad? When are you going to move on? Snap out of it--it's Christmas! The happiest time of the year! Get a tree, you'll feel better." 

I used to get really excited about the annual Christmas photo paired with a card. I loved it. I would pour over the right pictures, hand write each one, and rush them to the post office the week after Thanksgiving. I was on it! But I haven't been able to afford Christmas cards plus postage for the past three years--and I've been depressed due to the constant struggle of being an only parent, having a kid in college, and running two businesses on top of dealing with health problems. Life, in other words, sidetracked me. Do people think we don't care, that we've crossed them off the list? Probably. People seem to take everything personally these days rather thinking, "Hmm...I hope that single mom who's keeping it all going by herself is okay. Maybe I should call to say hi." Instead, it's almost easier to think the worst, to be insulted. But the truth is much, much different--it usually is.

Love is what this time of year is supposed to be about--not things, not past grievences or petty misunderstandings, or judgements based on pure perception rather than any kind of real knowledge. Saying "happy holidays" or "Merry Christmas" or whatever makes you happy is fine--it's all good. Every kind greeting comes from a positive place. I've been saying "happy holidays" for decades because, to me, it encompasses the next two weeks! Now suddenly there are memes on Facebook acting like it's the most offensive thing on the planet to say. What the hell is happening? There is no war on Christmas, there is, however, a war on humanity and compassion.

When my kids were babies, I'd sometimes wrap empty boxes to pose them for Christmas photos early--like in October--so that we had the cards ready to send out at Thanksgiving. The presents looked fancy and perfect and created a stunning background...but they were empty. They were props. So be careful when comparing yourself to someone else's pretty bow and glitzy packaging...because it really is what's on the inside that matters.

Show some love this season. Be love. Exude it. Be a gift to all those you encounter because you don't know what their truth is...you really don't.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Yule, and Happy New Year! (and don't be pissed off if I forgot the one greeting you prefer--it wasn't personal--just accept my kind intention)

Peace to you. 
A. 


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