When I was a child, I loved Christmas. Loved the excitement, the preparations, decorations, smells, tastes, baked goods, dishes, wishes, books, movies, and, of course, the gifts that really brought the Christmas spirit into my heart. Over the years, I unfortunately slowly began to realize that Christmas actually isn’t nearly as awesome as we always expect it to be every year.
Countless songs and movies and weeks of stress all for an event that could never reach my high expectations seemed a little odd, and it disappointed me even more that the magnificent holiday harmony never really made it into our house since everyone annually tried their best to be nice, but ended up being just as bitchy and up for fights as they did the other eleven months of the year. The older I grew, the more my love for the legendary event faded until I recently decided I actually hate it.
So much money, horrible music, stupid stories, cheesy decor and films, complicated meals and days filled with nothing but stress all for the desperate attempt to pretend to be a happy perfect family and be kind to each other? We need one day we spend hugging our families, give each other presents and donate to charity and then we don’t give a damn for the rest of the year? Why? Why make such a huge deal out of that one day that’s never as great as they portray it on TV?
Honestly, I just find the whole thing really annoying today. I’m not even Christian and even if I were, the whole Christmas thing doesn’t have much to do with Christianity anyways considering it’s all about the food and wrapped new things, and nobody really cares about Jesus who was born in summer.
This year, I tried my best to get my family the perfect things, make a nice vegan meal my eating disorder could somehow forgive me for, look and act festive, smile, laugh, pretend to love everything and everyone and not talk about politics, but Christmas Eve ended up being the usual disaster anyways despite my desperate attempts and not screwing anything up.
My father spent the afternoon at our place which put me under such enormous pressure and made me feel so awful that I actually cried and purged in the shower and covered it up with some makeup afterwards to not ruin the mood, but when he decided to stay for Christmas dinner, I could no longer take it and kindly expressed that I’d prefer him to (finally) go- which ended up making me look like a mean bitch and him leaving angry and offended.
We (my mom, sister and baby) actually had a great time together unwrapping gifts for each other afterwards (I got some amazing clothes and books and seemed to have bought the perfect items for my folks), but my awfully touchy teenage sister freaked afterwards when we wanted to do the annual Christmas photos which led to an intense fight between the two of them with me right in the middle.
And as usual, I was the one to blame in the end because that’s just how things work in our family. Me being the only one who actively tried to create some harmony then made the others watch a crappy Christmas family movie which led to another fight because my wonderful little sister couldn’t even pay attention for five minutes without taking out her phone to text her friends who obviously didn’t care a lot about their own families either.
I mean, let’s be honest: I could have perfectly lived without Christmas in the first place. If they had listened to me just once, we wouldn’t have celebrated this shit. But because they insisted to be a part of the unnecessary social convention, I at least wanted to do it the right way and not make it the reason for another argument. I at least wanted it to be nice and peaceful.
But we rarely get what we want, so the day ended the way it already did the last few years: With everyone dissatisfied and angry.
The following day was a little better because it was a harmonic one without arguments because everyone was somehow suddenly able to pull themselves together, but what kind of sucked was the fact that we had lunch with my grandma at a restaurant where they pretty much only served meat which caused two problems: 1) My grandma is an extremely religous racist & 2) I’m vegan.
But: I made it through. I felt quite horrible the whole day, but I made it and there was no yelling or crying coming from anyone, so it was definitely better than the previous day.
What I’m telling you now might sound a little rude towards my family, but the only time I really got to enjoy myself during the holidays was when my best friend stayed for the night shortly after Christmas and she and I binge watched Stranger Things the whole night on the couch with red wine. So I guess that was my kind of Christmas. Nothing ‘christmassy’ involved, but I got what Christmas is (or should actually be) about: Happiness, peace, relaxation, harmony and fun with a loved one.
Let’s be positive, right?
If you can’t have a nice Christmas, you can at least have nice holidays afterwards.
Also, my only really close male friend (I usually can’t have friendships with guys without starting a relationship with them) came over for a night and I introduced him to the fabulous world of American Horror Story which was awesome.
Besides, we don’t get to see each other often, so I had missed spending some quality time with him.
And before I had the chance to pause for a moment and recapitulate the year that had passed so much faster than I had expected it to, New Year’s Eve had already arrived and I didn’t have anyone to watch my baby, so I stayed at home.
The thought of that was really depressing at first because it is somehow socially expected from people until the age of thirty to celebrate that day and make it a big party with friends or at a club, but the way the night turned out to be surprised me in the best imaginable way.
I can now honestly say that this was the best New Year’s Eve I’ve had in years. Isn’t that crazy?
I didn’t expect that AT ALL.
While I had spent the previous New Year’s Eve half asleep because my baby had only been a month old and therefore extremely exhausting and tiring, and the others before that partying even though I hate going out with people (I did it just to not be the outsider) and coming home done with my life, planning my suicide and cutting or purging, I really didn’t give a damn about what anyone would think about my way to celebrate this year and didn’t hold any expectations either, and maybe that’s why it turned out to be such a great night.
There is absolutely nothing special, party-like or cool about watching Netflix for the whole night while getting drunk and listening to Mötley Crüe, but who cares?
I don’t! And guess what? I love these things, so I enjoyed the night!
I mean, yeah, I had to actually lock the basement and put away everything that might trigger my eating disorder or depression which sounds ridiculous and made me feel so embarassed that I didn’t tell anyone except my counselor (I mean, I know that it’s because of my mental disorders, but I still feel really weak and like I have a huge lack of self-discipline thinking about it), BUT I MADE IT.
Without a breakdown, without binging, without purging or anything else related to my diseases.
I made it.
I started 2017 happy- for the first time in almost a decade.
I can now say that these holidays didn’t go as planned AT ALL, but they ended way better than I thought they would and I can proudly say that the new year has actually been good so far- for the first time in all these years.
I do struggle every single day (right now, I’m keeping my shit together to not purge the piece of vegan chocolate cake I ate because it wasn’t sugar free and sugar is one of my ‘forbidden’ foods) and it certainly isn’t easy and makes me doubt myself and feel depressed all the time, but I’m trying.
I’m a work in progress. And that’s okay.
Even though I so far haven’t binged or purged this year, I know that I will relapse again at some point. I’ve attempted recovery enough times to know how hard it is and how often failure is a part of it. It’s not a choice you make just once.
But this time, I’m trying anyways. I’m not giving up on myself just because things are hard because I’m now willing to waste another year I could invest to recover to feed my sicknesses instead.
Every day is a fight, but it’s worth it because I want to live the life I deserve with my son and my goals and dreams.
And I know that I can’t have any of it if I decide to give in to my twisted thoughts. Let’s be honest: This year will be tough. I’ll hate myself and my body, I’ll fall, I’ll feel bad, I’ll relapse.
But I’ll get back on my feet somehow because I don’t want to throw away everything I have and can have just because of the lies these voices are telling me about how worthless and weak I am, because I’m not.
This year won’t end with me being healthy and happy.
But it will end with me being healthier and happier than ever before.
Recovery takes a lot longer than 365 days, but 365 days are a good start.
It’ll be worth it.
For my family.
For my son.
And for myself.
I’m more scared than I’ve ever been in my life, but I need to do this in order to get my life back. This time, my resolutions will become reality.
I swear I don’t belong here
But I believe
Don’t tell me this all comes from fear
I promise I’ll be different
There’s nothing left
I’m on my knees surrendering
This can’t be
I didn’t know I lost it all
Didn’t know I’d break and fall
This isn’t who I’m meant to be
There’s so much here that I found missing