I haven't always been a fan of Christmas. In fact, there was a time when it was my most dreaded day of the year, the only highlights being a few hours spent at an afternoon matinee or going out, post family dinner, with an old high school friend in town for the holidays to sing karaoke at the the only bar in town open Christmas night. Catching up on the year past in the smokey, dingy type of establishment that rents rooms by the hour, surrounded by people who were, like us, trying to escape or, sadly, had nowhere else to go. People from different walks of life, sitting together in silent comradery without judgement or trouble, calling a truce on social standings, or lack thereof, and sharing the same space and moments in silent understanding.
The bar has since been torn down, the friend is no more and there never seems to be any good movies playing this time of year. Things change. And so has my Christmas. No longer is it filled with awkward silence and palpable tension, having being guilted into going only to be told my presence ruined the day. No more is it a tug-of-war battle between my conscious and my heart- telling myself it was the right thing to do, all the while feeling resented and unloved, wondering if the material value of the gifts was worth a day spent being so conflicted and confused. Painfully longing for something better.
Now my Christmas is mine and mine alone. To spend as I see fit. With family I was given not by blood but by fate, luck and love. The family I have in my friends, near and far. Not just for a day but the entire season. All the Christmas cards... the secret Santa gifts... the traveling from one home to another, knowing that I'm wanted and loved in not just one home but many. So much cheer has come my way this month that my cousin, who's staying with me while she completes an internship in the city, has started calling me "Hollywood". She thinks I'm famous... I tell her I'm just incredibly, amazingly lucky. To have met the people I have, both online and off. It never ceases to amaze me that people give me a second thought, let alone a third or fourth. I think of my friends and I am so overwhelmed and amazed. It seems impossible that I could give to any of you (yes, you!) even a little bit of what you all give to me.
Now, at Christmas, I spend the day thinking "I don't deserve this" instead of "I deserve better".
And now, the day I hated so much? Is one of my favorite days of the year.
And, so, on this day, so very different from Christmases past, I wish you a Merry Christmas. May your heart be as full and overflowing as my own... and may you feel as loved as I do tonight. If not by the people you'd most expect than in the most unexpected of ways. Because while one type of love may seem your given right the true joy comes from the kind you will spend your entire life in awe and gratitude of. The kind that makes you want to be a better person because you may not know how you got it but you sure as heck want to do everything you can to earn it. And this holiday season?! Makes me want to do everything I can to earn it because, hot damn, am I lucky.
Christmas is so much better when it truly is Merry!