Christmas has never been an easy time for me. I've lost several family members right around the holiday, including an aunt the day after my birthday and my father 2 days before Christmas. I am now living several hours from the scant family that are still alive, but I was never truly close to them anyway. Add on my decade of retail work and I start dreading this month well before anyone else even thinks of Christmas.
The last 4 months, I've had what feels like severe mood swings and changes to how I respond to stressful situations. This time last year, I wouldn't dream of leaving my job. Now, I've quit 2 this year alone. Most days I just want to be left alone.
I've been trying to be my old self. I sat down on Christmas eve and sent out holiday greetings to people I haven't spoken to in years, members of family, to people I truly care about. It felt great, I was up beat, I greeted my girlfriend with a genuine hug and a merry Christmas, I thought maybe I can have a decent Christmas for a change.
I agreed to go with her to her family's for Christmas despite disliking being there. That's what you do when you care for someone, you take care of them. I sat in silence for 6 hours, letting everyone enjoy themselves and hoping this was what she needed from me.
I was looking at my phone when her father read aloud from my screen to the whole room. I froze, shut off my phone (which got a laugh) and physically turned away from everyone and started at a wall until my girlfriend said it was time to go home.
Maybe next year.