This morning I found myself with extra time before taking the kids to school. Everyone was fed, lunch packed and I had had alone time before everyone woke up. This NEVER happens. But I embraced it because I am prepared for the next few days and ready for Christmas with a healthy dose of enthusiasm to ‘play’ and soak in the joy and emotion of the season.
Yesterday I went into Target to buy something specific for my husband. I knew exactly what I wanted and didn’t get caught up looking and buying things I don’t need. Unlike last year when I was in Target on Christmas Eve stressing out. It was empowering to walk through the hustle and bustle and craziness and people without getting anxious. Sure, I stopped and looked at some of the stocking stuffers and items on display but it was fun and not with the intention to buy. You are done with stockings, I told myself, And you don’t need gifts for anyone. I bought what I needed and strolled out.
Also yesterday, I talked to my Dad on the phone who started putting the pressure on me to come up for Christmas Day or the day after. I told him I had to wait and talk to my husband and see how things were going. I didn’t want to be rushed this year with feelings of obligation and guilt that to be everywhere to see everyone and please everyone, when all I really want to focus on is my immediate family and my mother-in-law who is visiting and has pull in how she wants to spend time during her visit. My Dad started going off on a tirade and putting me in the same category as my sister-in-law and step sisters because he said ‘I never come visit.’ Total bullshit and I told him it was completely unfair of him to put me in that category. I visit about every six weeks, he just isn’t there sometimes. Not my issue and I don’t hold it against him that he’s not always there and I told him that — and that he was being unreasonable. He almost seemed glad that I pushed back against his irrationality. And what’s more, I felt so empowered because I didn’t get upset by HIS frustration and digs at me. In fact I got off the phones smiling to myself because I knew exactly what was happening, unlike in the past. His heart is in the right place wanting everyone to be together — we all want that — but everyone has different agendas, family scenarios and logistical challenges. That’s life. Mine is not on his schedule, rather it is on my kids magical expressions and feeling of wonder on Christmas morning when they see that Santa visited. The rest will work itself out. My stepmother even texted me after my Dad’s explosion to make sure I wasn’t upset. In the past I would have ran crying to my room thinking ‘It’s all my fault!’ Then I would have done backflips to make him happy, all at my expense. Not this time. Good for me.
I’ve dropped the kids off at school — their last day before Christmas break that extends until January 3rd (or somewhere in there). I’m Christmas ready and as I’ve mentioned a few times already, empowered by my preparedness and the lessons I’ve learned and the understanding I’ve gained over the last year. I worked my ass off to get ready for Christmas this year and now I’m going to sit back (not leave the house!) and let it all flow, not flipping out, crying in my beer, stressing out and being in a dysfunctional stupor on Christmas Day like I was last year. I’m making cookies, drawing and painting with my kids and cooking a big ham on Christmas Day.
This morning I am at the library writing this. Again, I find myself with a few extra minutes before I have to run an errand and then home quick before preschool pickup so I chose to come here and write for a few minutes. And it’s funny, I chose a different table, nowhere near where I normally write. It’s a nice change and a new view. I’ve been reading Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down the Bones this year and she says one of the ways to renew your writing is to change one of your writing habits from your norm. Could be wearing an accessory or she said occasionally she’ll write with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth — she doesn’t smoke it, but it makes her juices flow differently. So today I chose a new table and I’d like to do more change-ups in the New Year.
Not sure if I’ll get to blog between now and the New Year’s, so if I don’t… I have to say it’s been a wonderful year of recovery, discovery, hard work, and I’ve done a whole lot of healing about past traumas/hospitalizations that’s gave way to acceptance about being bipolar that’s gave way to being nice to myself and living my truth. The result has been transformational. I’m enthusiastic about 2017. My friend gave me a Christmas card that said, “Let’s do this,” and it is with that attitude that I’m taking into 2017. With a mindful approach and less clutter and negativity in my head I’m feeling good.