Like chapters in a book, so are the days of telling this Christmas Story, so yes, there is a part three in this story. I will one day fully open up about my life whether I share it on my blog or in a book, but for now, I share the highlights and lowlights of my story of why Christmas is such a big deal. I hope that if you ever suffered any trauma whether it be childhood or adult trauma, you will find the courage to share it. When you keep it inside, it doesn’t benefit anyone and if I am being real, it allows the abuser/person who caused the trauma to get away with it. I encourage you to use it. Gain confidence from telling your story. Live in your truth and don’t be afraid to share it. It is in the sharing of the trauma that I found healing.
You can honestly purchase all of the presents, gorgeous decorations, and have the best Christmas with your family and still feel empty inside, like something is wrong with you because it doesn’t fulfill you. There is still a nagging at you that you didn’t do something right, or that you could have done more, should have purchased one more gift for one more smile. Let me tell you, that is a lie. Lies are what our brains want to believe when we have not dealt with our trauma. My brain does a very good job of telling me lies. You see, I decorated the grandest of trees, I have bought more presents than I will ever be able to remember, and I still felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like I was always going to be damaged goods.
How are you ever going to be successful at anything in life when you feel like damaged goods? When you feel that way on the inside, it begins to show on the outside. It shows up in ways you don’t expect, unexpected illness, constant illness, depression, anxiety, and for me, anger. I spent so many years just plain angry. Why me? Why does it have to be this way? Why is everything so hard for me? Why can’t I be like someone else? What now? And on and on. I was angry at God. I was angry at my mother, angry at the world (okay still might be at some of y’all, animal abusers) and angry at myself for letting myself get into that state. Where does all of that anger take you? NOWHERE but everywhere all at the same time. I had to fight my way through it each day whether I wanted to or not. I did not want to end up dying just to make someone feel sorry for me or feel bad for not treating me the way I thought they should. I wanted to be somewhere else in life. Anywhere but nowhere. I think that is probably the saddest part of my mother’s story. She ended up nowhere.
Last year, 2022, was a really rough year. Sure there were plenty of good things going on in my life but there were some very dark days. My mother suffered a stroke on top of other health issues and basically just gave up. If you know anything about a narcissist, then you will understand when I say, “she died because she wanted us to feel sorry for her and give us that one last gut punch”. She refused treatment that could have prolonged her life. She instead chose to die a horribly slow and painful death. She constantly told my siblings that she wanted me there or she would call out for me. Why? In my opinion, it was to cause discord between us. I went to visit her shortly after her stroke for the first time in many years and although she was very sick, she managed to say to me “now you come see me when I am dying” as if I owed it to her to visit. She was mean and cruel during the visit. My sister would say that she did not know what she was saying. I knew different. She looked me in the eye when she said it.
My mother passed on my grandson’s birthday, on a day when I was in Oxford, MS checking on a project and my husband had just so happened to be with me. The irony of all of those things on one day and the blessing in it was not lost on me. I am thankful that my husband was there, I am glad I was in a town that has always felt like home, I am also glad it is my grandson’s birthday, I only want good thoughts on that date. When I got the call, my aunt was the one to call. I believe she was shocked that I did not cry. I couldn’t. I did not know how to feel. I could not process what my mind was thinking.
Christmas was the worst time for me as a child, and as an adult, I did everything in my power to not feel that “alone”. That is the feeling of not being fulfilled, the longing for something you can’t quite put your finger on but you know is missing. I always felt alone at Christmas as a child, and nearly every day growing up. I never wanted to feel this way again. This is why so many of you believe me to be an extrovert when in fact I am an extroverted introvert. I made it my mission to surround myself with people, good people and of course the bad. I still ask why we can’t have one without the other. I decorated everything anyone would let me decorate especially at Christmas because it is when I felt the most alone.
Did you ever go to school as a child and dread the conversations that you knew were coming? Where did you go on vacation? What did you get for Christmas? What did you do on Spring Break? We forget, not every child experiences these things the way we think they should. I always dreaded the “what did you get for Christmas” question the most. I usually made up things because I didn’t want to be alone again. I didn’t want to tell people about the front porch and the tree. Where is the fun in that? See what I did there? That is a question that I still to this day ask myself. In my mind (brain) if it is not fun, then something is wrong. Do you know what a burden it is to always try to make everything fun? Sometimes it is just a pain in the ass.
I am bringing this story to a close (I know, finally? right?) Decorating for Christmas is fun. It truly brings my heart and soul unimaginable joy. I love it because I finally have made peace with the demon of loneliness. When my mother passed, it was sad for me, I would never hear her say that she was proud of who I had become, I would never hear her say that she loved me and that is the most lonely feeling in the world. There will always be that sting, it is a part of life that I have no control over. That is where this whole story is going. Control. Control does not equal happiness, fulfillment, or contentment. It is however how I managed to survive this life this far. I have done every little thing I could to control those feelings. Guess what? It is a lie.
You can’t control loneliness, you can choose to change who you are around and who you allow into your life, even if it is your parents.
You can’t control anything in life. It is an illusion. You can however choose to give it up. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to change your health, your mind, even what you hear in your brain. I believe it is the ultimate freewill, Choice. This is the power that God gave us. It is the ability to change anything in your life at any time for any reason. Even if it is not of God’s will. (there are consequences of course). I no longer look to my outward appearance, my accomplishments, my family, or my work to fulfill me or make me feel loved. I choose to love myself each day. I do this by how I treat others, how I treat myself, what I choose to do with my time, who I choose to work for, how I choose to love, who I choose to love, why I choose to love, how I spend my money and my time. I choose to decorate for Christmas and share that gift to the world in 2023 not because I need to feel fulfilled but because I want to. I chose to finally create a Christmas decorating course because I wanted to. I am choosing me first each day because I finally accept that I am worthy, I have always been loved even when I did not feel it. I have never truly been alone because you can read all three parts of Christmas is coming and see there were no coincidences. It was all a part of a plan. Not my plan, my plan was to be president by now and you see where that got me.
Today, I hope you will feel worthy. I hope you do not feel alone. I pray that you find the peace in a higher power, for me, that is God. I hope you find a way to share your story. I pray that you will make a choice today to live life differently. Ask yourself, “Where is the fun in that?” Life should have fun. We were not put here to live a life of doom and gloom. I hope that you will find a hobby that will change your life, even if you don’t think it will or can. Who knew what Christmas Decorating would do that for me. It was the key to freedom for me. I am going to end this with a few more photos of what I enjoy creating so much and I hope you enjoy them also.