I marvel at the twinkling lights. It helps me forget how dark it is. It’s only 5pm and it’s pitch black outside. But shhhhh, don’t talk about that, it’s negative. Let’s be positive and focus on the bright lights and the happy times.
Happy times with family, friends, clinking glasses, laughter and food make the holidays oh, so cheerful.
And at the same time, I’m taking in deep breaths, gasping for some sort of calm, in the midst of the happiness buzz all around.
It’s a happy time…these holidays. And it’s heartbreaking too. Because I’m human. We are human. And this life thing is hard as hell sometimes.
If we aren’t feeling the heartbreak of the holidays, we aren’t awake. We aren’t aware. We aren’t watching the news, scrolling through our feeds.
If we aren’t feeling the heartache of the holidays, we aren’t looking into our friend’s eyes deeply, we aren’t holding hands with hurting family members. We aren’t looking in the mirror long enough. The heartbreak is all around us.
Does that feel like I’m shaming the happy people or being Debby Downer? That’s not my intention. I’m calling out the bullshit of our happy holiday culture. And I’m sharing my story of heartache.
This is the year I invite my heartache to join me for the holidays. Come sit at the dining room table. You have a place here with your own chair and I will set the table for you. You don’t have to hide in the corner anymore or eat under the table.
Come sit with us, aching heart. We feel you. We know you are here.
You slammed into me while I was shopping yesterday. I thought you were another shopper that didn’t see me until I realized I was alone in the aisle and it was you, heartache, that slammed into me with such force. My eyes filled with tears before I could distract myself and pretend I didn’t feel you.
So many people are suffering this holiday season. Humans have experienced horrific trauma this past year. Many are living in constant fear. My brothers and sisters are surviving unbearable pain and heartbreak. There are families that don’t have a home to go to and families that have made makeshift homes in hospital rooms as they pray for a miracle.
Sure, there is massive joy this holiday season too and I will absolutely dance around in that joy. I always do. I am a happy person by nature. And I am human too and I feel the pain that is hiding out in dark corners all over the world…and I feel my own pain too. Sometimes it is a dull, steady pain and other times it is a quick pang.
My heartache comes from a deep place inside of me and it wells up in my eyes randomly. Really though, it isn’t about my pain or your pain. It is simply heartache that dances around with happiness. There is no shame in the real pain that we all experience. There is no need to pretend it isn’t here or try to dress it up in sparkles. That’s fake and annoying. I’m done with that.
I’m done playing into our happy culture that shames mental illness and depression. I don’t suffer from depression or mental illness and there have been times in my life I’ve wondered why people can’t just be happy. Thankfully my friends have helped me understand the reality of mental illness. They are brave and they share their stories with me.
I was born happy but sometimes I wake up anxious. I have to talk and pray myself into a place of peace and gratitude. It’s like I wake up on the edge of the happy pool and once I am in the water, I swim around happily the rest of the day. I take that happiness for granted, even on my most grateful days. Because I don’t know the real pain that depression and mental illness causes my fellow humans. I hold their hand and send love.
I went off on a tangent. Welcome to my brain.
So yes, It’s a heartbreaking time…these holidays. And it’s happy too. Because I’m human. We are human. And this life thing is incredibly awesome sometimes, when we hold hands together.
Happy and Heartaching Holidays to you, my friends. I love you.