Archive for November, 2008

Christmas

Ever since I started working retail, I have had a really hard time with Christmas. There’s something about being told to ‘fuck off’ on Christmas Eve that makes it hard to enjoy the season. Walking through a mall at this time of year still makes me anxious, and invokes some deeply buried rage. I’m not really sure where it comes from, but it is definitely there. Walking through the Eaton Centre last week, the Christmas songs were playing and I just kept thinking that the only reason why they were playing Christmas songs was to encourage people to spend money. It’s not like they decorate and play Christmas music to spread the love. Okay, so I’m bitter and jaded, but lately I just feel this incredible need to distance myself from outrageous displays of capitalistic frenzy. It’s not like large corporations give a damn about their employees (here and elsewhere).

I’m trying desperately to feel some kind of Christmas spirit, but it just isn’t happening. I keep trying to think of a meaningful way to spend Christmas, but I can’t come up with a single thing. I feel like cocooning. I remember how magical Christmas used to seem when I was a child. I remember lying awake on Christmas Eve, watching for the light of Rudolph’s red nose on the snow outside my window. In my memory, those Christmases were warm and bathed in deep, rich color: The dark green of the Christmas tree, red velvet decorations in my grandparents’ living room, shining silver cutlery that was only used for Christmas, silly paper hats in a rainbow of color that came from Christmas crackers that never really worked. I remember the heat and the orange glow from the fireplace, the itch of hand-knit sweaters, falling asleep against my mother on Christmas eve at church. Safety, warmth, the feeling of being loved and protected. No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop time. The world seems colder now.

One of my favorite memories from Christmas was when my little cousin Kelly staged a nativity play in the living room, using the family members. My cousin Caitlin who was about three was very angry at being cast in the role of Baby Jesus, because what three-year-old wants to pretend to be a baby? All I remember from her theatrical endeavors was my uncle’s line, playing one of the wise men, “This is gold, it costs very much.” Poignant words, haha.

How to recapture some of those feelings of love and magic when I have seen some of the darkness in the world?

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Morning

I love the early morning. This has changed as I have grown older. Throughout my teens and my early 20s, I was a night owl. I remember on weekends leaving the house at 11:00 pm and not getting home until the mid-morning. Even on nights when I would stay home, I loved the thrill and the mystery of the nighttime. Later, when I started to work, I would work the night shift to avoid sleeping at night. Those days, I lived in an alternate universe where I never saw the sun, and where I lived in a perpetual state of upside-down confusion. These days, I love the solitude and the quiet of the early morning. I like sitting by myself, sipping my coffee, listening to the radio and watching the first light of dawn seep through my window. This is peace, before the world comes alive, the shining promise of a new day. On good days, I celebrate the dawn and revel in those first rays of light.

 

On bad days, I find it hard to climb out of bed. Sometimes it takes all of the strength that I can muster to arise and face another day of being me. On these days, my day looms ahead of me like Mount Everest, and even little things like getting dressed seem impossible.

 

But sometimes, on mornings such as this, I realize why I’m alive. After a long week of anxiety and grief, I woke this morning to feel a sense of tranquility. Unexpected, but surely welcome. Where does it come from? A mystery, but perhaps I should just accept it and rest in this feeling. The dawn is beginning to break, and for a rare moment, I feel alive.

Prayers and peace to Canada’s veterans. ‘Lest we forget’.

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Goodbye

It’s 2 a.m., and sometimes I don’t know how to light up the darkness. I think of a childhood book, The Phantom Tollbooth, and the imagery of conducting the sunrise in a symphony of color. But I am me, and I can’t paint the dawn, and in the dead of night I feel alone, and so very small. I light candles, 7 of them, because they make me feel warm and peaceful. Music plays softly: Lately I am partial to depressing classical music and obscure latin hymns. My roommate walks in and asks me who the vigil is for. I laugh, because she is right, my room does resemble a tomb. He has been dead for two days, but I feel oddly comforted that he is at peace. I feel quietness, I feel calmness, and that sensation of slipping into a bed of freshly washed, crisp sheets, when I try to feel him. No more worries for him, the end of pain and the end of uncertainty.

So, why then, do I fear the stillness of the night? Is it the fear of admitting that I don’t know how to say goodbye, or the threat of tears that elude me? It seems ludicrous that I sit here at two in the morning, simultaneously trying to write essays on preschoolers’ cognitive development and the Epistle of James. So funny, in this moment that could birth thoughts so deep, that I should cling to the mundane. So funny that all I can think about is achieving the minimum word count on these assignments. Strange, but perhaps it is all I can do?

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